Deep Purple - Hamburg 21.06.98
As I decided to stay home saturday to watch the dutch football team instead of seeing Deep Purple play in Bocholt, I was very happy when I found my friend prepared to accompany me to Hamburg to see Purple on a tropical sunday. Playing cards at a small lake near Groningen, we decided to go for it at 16:30 while we were sweating like hell. Crossed the border at a German place called Weener and arrived in Hamburg at 19:30. The Sporthalle was pretty easy to find and once we were inside the band Rage was just finishing their set.
I bumped into Benny, and there was Olle as well; it was cool to see my Lahr 1997 mates again! Then there was the mighty Svante, Ann, Rasmus and a woman who was what she hadn't said she was: (dressed to kill) Tatti. A virtual community had become reality! Awesome to meet you guys! I enjoyed it a lot. I was told by Benny that they arrived the day before, and they were going to see Purple in Berlin next day as well. Unfortunately there wasn't really a long time for a talk as lights went down at 21:25 as it was Purple's turn now....
I won't go through the setlist as it wasn't really different compared to the others of this tour, but the show itself was a killer. These guys are having a musical height that is not easy to grasp. It's a team that of which the players now eachother better and feel eachother better than most teams on the Worldchampionship football. The setlist wasn't a surprise not only because of what I'd read on the internet, but mainly because it was very similar to 1996/7. At least the first part was. I found myself predicting what would be the next guitarsound on a few occassions, until Fingers to the Bone was up. Here the show got much more interesting; new songs, and what songs! They sounded great, like they have been a part of the setlist for ages. In fact I had to explain my friend at two times that those we're new songs as he's not into Purple very much! The halle was a rockin' it's roof off.
The one that impressed me both musically and physically was Jon Lord, who proved to be in a great shape. Great to see him play, while during Watching the Sky something terrible happened..... a stupid drunk moron threw a glass of beer (very hard plastic) which hit Jon Lord fully on the head. Jon immediatley layed his hands on his head and left stage. Steve's wife and kid where at that side so they might have walked over to him as was a roadie or security guy which I couldn't see. I was shocked. The rest of the song completely had me numb. Little later (ending of the song) Jon showed up again looking to the spot where the thrower must have been, and disappeared again. I don't know if the rest of the band had noticed the incident, but Roger Glover was the first to walk over to Jon, while Ian was thanking the crowd enthousiastically. (The guy who was throwing was at about the same distance as I stood; he even pushed me out of the way while running to the exit. Olle later told me that was the criminal which I think was better for me to hear afterwards.... This guy had absolutely nothing to do here. I mean, who does this? Go to Lens looking for your friends!)
Anyway, Lord came back under a loud applause from the crowd who of course felt sorry and maybe were in a kind of shame feeling like I was. It took me some songs to get over it, while the band got more solid than ever. The new songs impressed me the most, and maybe Lazy as well. Great "new" version as this obviously always was/is one of Ritchies trademark-songs. As a result of the incident earlier there was no solo from Jon, which was very very forgivable as I could imagined that he would call the concert a day in the middle of te set.
Perfect Strangers was a superversion, and Speed King was introduced as something country and western, and something like " insprired by Luciano Pavarotti" . Any Fule Kno That and Highway Star made a fantastic encore, and a memorable concert was over. Musically in a very positive way. Good to see the team being so strong. Gave me the shivers.
As we had to drive back 300 km's I turned down the very kind invitations of my on-line friends to have a drink and chat some more, very much to my regret as these situations don't happen a lot. I reallt had a hard time saying I definitively was going home and on the way to the car I asked my friend "or do you think we can drink some?" about then times. :-)
I look forward to more Purple in the other part of 1998 but I'll be there again. (Maybe more planned as this really was a last minute show for me) I don't think a lot of people will have their doubts of going to see Purple, but when you do have them: trust me, it will be worth every cent, penny, franc, peseta or whatever.