Birmingham NEC Oct 15 1998
It's already been covered very well by other reviewers but I just thought I'd like to express how much I enjoyed this - my first Deep Purple gig.
Given that Ian Gillan is one of my all time heroes it seems amazing that the only time I had seen him live prior to this was a guest appearance doing "Smoke.." with Black Sabbath at the Bristol Colston Hall (around 1989 I think). It was well worth the wait, his voice sounding fantastic more or less throughout, also having a great stage presence.
Not that the rest of the band were slouches at all, the excellent sound quality meaning that each member of the band could be picked out with tremendous clarity. In particular, Jon Lord and Steve Morse were amazing, especially their 'duelling' with each other on songs such as "Lazy". It's great to see Jon Lord having such a prominent presence in the band again, both live and on the Abandon album. Very much looking forward to his upcoming solo album.
Just one small gripe - others have pointed out that some of the audience weren't getting into the newer stuff (which is true, although it sounded fine to me). I was about five rows from the front, going pretty much apeshit, but most of the people around me didn't even seem to respond the old classics. To look around me during "Smoke.." you would have thought that some of these people were hearing the song for the first time!
Not that this really detracted from a fantastic evening and another memorable evening at the NEC for me having also seen Sabbath and Kiss there in recent years. Now, if I could just see a Garth Rockett and the Moonshiners gig then I think I could die a happy man.