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

Deep Purple, Birmingham 16th October

Well what can you say? Deep Purple just get better and better like a good wine. Highway Star, Woman From Tokyo and Smoke are superb crowd pleasers but the new songs were right up there for me. Watching the Sky was particularly good. An oldie, Lazy was my highlight, played much more faithfully to the original and not blasted through at a breakneck speed for a change. I took along a colleague who needed initiating in the art of Purple and he was impressed. The newer songs standing out in his ears.
As for the band, I would say that is the best I've heard Ian Gillan sing in the last 10 years. Ian Paice and Roger Glover were immaculate as ever and Jon Lord was inspired. And the newish bloke with the guitar, Mr Morse, I take my hat off to you Sir. Great solo. Steve has given Deep Purple the much needed kick up the backside that has been missing since HOBL. The whole band seem to bounce of each other once more like the bad old days. I'll always be a Blackmore fanatic but I'm now beginning to think the band is better off without him.
The lightshow was perfect, not too over the top with a few subtle spotlights to challenge the audience's retinas. And the venue. I'm not a fan of the NEC despite the superb sound. Chairs at gigs in the main area below the stage are just a waste of space.Many people around couldn't see well enough and were eventually placed in higher ground by the security staff.
I would prefer smaller and a bigger tour gigs because there are too few opportunities to witness such greatness.

Robin Haddon

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