[ d e e p P u r . p l e ) The Highway Star

Deep Purple in Sofia

Well, I really don't know from where to start.
I have waited for this moment for 25 years, and finally it came. 27 November 1998 Winter Palace of Sports - Sofia, Bulgaria.
For the last one year I saw here in my home city some of greatest hard rock artists like Whitesnake, Page/Plant and Dio, some of my friends of Internet have told me about the DP shows they have attended and I had a very good idea what Deep Purple are going to sound like.

But when the band came out on stage in front of a fully crowded hall, I felt that this is going to be different from all previous concerts I was attended before. I saw 5 musical individuals who were put together to represent a magic chemistry of rock music which existed for 30 years and is called simply Deep Purple.

The set started with Ted the Mechanic ( I expected Hush though) and from the very first moment everyone in the crowd was convinced that the man with long blond hair just stole the show!!
Ian Gillan ( my personal favorite for all this years) was doing okay, but his voice sounded a bit weary. Nevermind, I forgive the Big Ian everything, he was so great on his concert in Sofia in September 1992.
Jon Lord proved his name Lord (God) John, playing really like a god on his everlasting Hammond combining it with tasty piano during a perfect solo as intro to Lazy.
Ian Paice was a real pacemaker during the entire concert, his solo was a little bit short, but very lively and energetic. Even Roger managed to produce a short bass cadenza, which was accepted with big approval from the audience.

I don't want to describe in details the set list, there were 4 tracks from "Abandon" which IMO was too much, but the band didn't miss a chance to perform some of their anthems like SKOW, SOTW, Woman from Tokyo, Black Night, Pictures of Home(on this one I thought I was dying of pleasure) and a really monstrous version of about 15 minutes of Speed King. The musical dialogue between Morse and Lord in the middle part was so incredible to hear, that only who was there that night can imagine the feeling. There was a dialogue voice - guitar, but less effective since Ian Gillan wasn't in his top form. But the guitar magician Steve Morse was at his best!! I really didn't miss Ritchie much and many people who came to this show as a die hard fans of Deep Purple with Blackmore, went home as a die hard fans of Deep Purple with Morse (Cheers Alberto :)).
The encore was traditionally ended with Highway Star, magnificently completed that fantastic rock show.
The only thing I really missed, it was no ballad in the set, (I expected SIFLS or WTBMC).

As the members of the band were leaving the stage, all of them were smiling, Steve and Roger threw a lot of guitar picks to the audience, Ian Paice threw some of his drumsticks and it seemed that they were having a really good time here in Sofia. And the crowd was really excited. After the show, my wife, who came for a first time with me on a rock concert and who was a bit skeptical before, admitted that it was an incredible experience that no one could afford to miss (now she is a new promoted DP fan of our family together with our little children).

What can I say in the end,it really worth to wait 25 years to see those great masters of hard rock and I have to thank to my friends from the Internet (personally to Lizz Taylor and Alberto Zaragoza) which I know from IRC, for adding new dimensions in my perception of eternal music of the band simply called DEEP PURPLE!

God bless you all fans of Deep Purple. :)

Radoslav Gloushkov

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