Here's my review of the concert Deep Purple gave in the August-Schaerttner-Halle in Hanau, Germany, on Sep. 26 1998.
I must say, it was, once again, a breathtaking experience. We saw DP on the Abandon tour in Kamenz, an open air venue, and thought it was brilliant, but Hanau was even better. I'll just go through the setlist and put down what I remember from the show:
Ted the mechanic - I think it was a good idea to use it as an opener - why didn't they do so on the Purpendicular tour?
Strange kind of woman - Great song, very well received by the audience, which seemed to be a little sceptical about the new songs. Steve Morse played a fantastic solo in the middle, and it did not remind me of the solos on LATO at all - in Kamenz, I sometimes thought they were repeating themselves, similar solos and transitions between songs. Not this time: it was a completely new concert!
Bludsucker - introduction by Mr Gillan: "This is actually an old song. Well, it was a new song back then, but it was a new song a couple of minutes ago, just as it is new now. This was on an early record of ours, we played it and some people thought it was a new song, so we rerecorded it, it's on our new album, and it's called Almost Heaven - no, it's called Bludsucker!" What a Gillanism!!
Pictures of home - One of my personal favorites, never fails in making shivers run down my back.
Almost heaven - The first "real" one from /-\, and as I said, the audience wasn't really rocking during these songs. Still, I enjoyed them very much, as I think they work really well on stage, much better than on the album. I don't understand though why they decided to kick FTTB - in my opinion it was THE best song in Kamenz!
Woman from Tokyo - What a song! This was my highlight of the whole show, people were really celebrating this song. The excitement is hardly describable, but those of you who saw the show know what I mean ;-)
Watching the sky - Another /-\-song, another time-out for audience-reactions.
Any fule kno that - A great song, well suited for live shows, but the audience - oh well, the boys did not seem to be bothered by the missing reactions, and of course there were plenty of people who really enjoyed the new material (like myself!). The performance was fabulous, you can't blame DP for the fact that part of the audience just seemed to be waiting for the old classic songs!
Steve Morse solo - This was absolutely breathtaking. I have never heard such a lengthy solo from Steve, it seemed they really wanted people to know what he was capable of. In a matter of seconds, the whole hall stood in awe and in silence (!!) and watched Steve, who was standing in the center of a light-circle, effortlessly caressing his guitar. At one point, if you closed your eyes, you would have sworn there was a pan-pipe on stage, but it was still Steve, who tickled the strangest sounds out of his guitar. It was a very long solo, but I did not have the feeling that people were getting impatient, everybody was silently listening - what a moment! After this long solo part, Jon Lord joined in and the two of them played part of Cascades (I think), those really fast parts... After his solo, Steve played a new (!) intro to the song most of the people were waiting for, but before this, he played the intro to Stairway to heaven and some other song I knew but couldn't quite put my finger on. Then he started off with...
Smoke on the water - a must-have on any DP-concert, though I don't think it is a highlight any more - we've all heard it too often, I guess. But on the other hand, I wouldn't want to miss it either! I never noticed this before: when Ian sang the textline "a few red lights", the whole stage was illuminated with only the red lights on - a nice little detail!
Jon Lord solo - yes, he was in a very good mood that night! His solo was great, he mixed the Hammond-sound with some piano-parts, and the result was really awesome. He plays like a god, I have no idea how he does it...
Lazy - that was another highlight, if it hadn't been for some idiot throwing a half-full beerglass at Steve. Is this turning into some kind of sick sport?? Steve reacted in a great way: he went to the front of the stage where the glass had come from, showed his biggest grin, shook his head and waved his finger as if it so say "Hey, that wasn't very nice. Please don't do that again, ok?" When big Ian found out Steve was wet all over, he went backstage to get a towel and dried him in the middle of the solo - just to watch them is pure entertainment!
Perfect strangers - this is a great song, and the performance was not at all below my expectations. Ian even sang, as usual, the part from Jesus Christ Superstar, "I don't want to taste your poison" - I always wait for that!
Speed king - in the intro to that, Jon played a couple of bars of "Muss I denn zum Staedele hinaus", confirming that he likes to play some local tunes. In the course of the song, we saw some Lord/Morse interplay, trading solos, it was just unbelievable. I don't think they were ever that good - two of the world's greatest musicians together on stage, having a good time, smiling, joking, acting - it was a great time! When those two were done, it was time for another fine musician, whose work is hardly ever noticed (I think): the Ian Paice solo was the longest I've ever heard, and he was really good. After the drum solo, big Ian started singing a couple of bars of Jailhouse Rock, followed by a private performance of Steve and big Ian: Steve played on guitar, Gillan had to copy it, and at one point, he could just sing "oh my god!!". Steve played a chord, held it, and unplugged his guitar - Silence! Gillan seemed to be so surprised, he just said "Do that again, do it again!" Steve played the chord, Gillan pulled the plug - silence, except for Gillan laughing... Need I say more! :-)
Highway Star - well, this one was still missing! A great performance, and a fitting end for this magnificent concert.
I believe they should have played Black Night, just like I don't understand why they dropped FTTB - but what the heck, you can't have it ALL. It was a great night, and if Gillan's voice keeps getting better at the same rate, they'll soon play Child in time again!
See you at one of the next concerts, and keep on rocking!