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

Klam, Austria - July 2, 1998 - observations/review

Deep Purple In Concert
A.Band.On.Tour 1998
Burg Arena, Klam, Austria - July 2, 1998

The set list featured the surprise inclusion of Into The Fire...

Strange Kind Of Woman
Ted The Mechanic ("Name: Edward. Profession: mechanic. Song: Ted!")
Pictures Of Home
Fingers To The Bone
Almost Human
Into The Fire ("Out of the frying pan, into the fire")
Woman From Tokyo
Watching The Sky
Seventh Heaven
Steve Morse solo
Smoke On The Water
Evil Louie
Jon Lord solo
Perfect Strangers ("This song's from the Perfect Strangers album. It's the titel track from the Perfect Strangers album and it's called Perfect Strangers!" All in a perfect Texas southern drawl.)
Speed King
Any Fule Kno That
Highway Star

Situated right next to the castle of Klam in the north of Austria, on a grass field in between the trees this was the perfect venue for an open air show. No matter where you stood you had a perfect view of the stage because of the field sloping down towards the stage. Step 4-5 meters back from the crush barrier and you were on a level with the stage. Nice warm evening (not too warm) and an almost clear blue sky meant a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Support band Rage came and went, darkness closed in on us as Purple hit the stage and they were off to wild applause from the (maybe?) 2.000-3.000 strong crowd.

You'll have to refer to my review of Nürnberg, Hamburg and Berlin /cgi-bin/eu98_reviews.pl?item=49 for an account of the show in general, here I'll just mention some of the special highlights from Klam.

Again the new tracks worked the best for me. Fingers To The Bone is simply majestic. Almost Human and Any Fule Kno That are groovers like you'd never believe Purple were capable of. Again Jon's solo in the former floored me while Steve went into overdrive during the latter. Watching The Sky was perfect for this evening, as Ian Gillan said, looking up at the moon appearing "at it's leisure" among the thin clouds. Evil Louie's terribly catchy. Ian was one song ahead in the set list as he introduced this one as "Mr. Lord!" thinking it was time for Jon's solo. Jon did a short tingle, held out his arms in a "So?" gesture and Ian realized his mistake. All good fun.

Into The Fire was of course a real treat. Short but sweet, very efficient and straight to the point and with Ian handling vocals wonderfully. It was about time this one got re-introduced into the set after its initial airing in Lahr, Germany last summer.

During the whole show I was stood somewhere around the fourth-fifth row right in front of Roger's amps enjoying his unbelievably inspired and very spontaneous bass playing. He's steady as a rock and accurate on the beat and in the old days he used to be the band's anchor point when they went into orbit during the long instrumental passages. Hearing him in Klam direct and not through the PA as usual was a genuine pleasure.

For his solo Jon re-introduced an old feature of his; Playing a snatch of music relevant to the country they're in. I can't say which composer it was he was quoting, but it certainly went down well with the locals and the solo was generally very good with more piano than normal. Great stuff.

Speed King featured an even more witty than normal duet between Gillan and Morse. At one point Steve simply threw up his arms with a big smile in disbelief over not being able to emulate Ian's weird voice sound of the day. Ian was slow motion running on the spot, left arm going up and down, fingers snapping with excitement and in very fine voice. Excellent!

Again Highway Star was massive and totally impressive and the show seemed to have been over in 20 minutes. Bye-bye!

Deep Purple give stop-in-your-tracks performances every night - be it in a huge hall in Berlin or somewhere totally out-of-the-way like Klam - they don't care, they just deliver! You'd be hard pushed to find another band this consistent and competent in their stage show. And hey, there are no lasers, no pyrotechnics, no fancy images on the back drop, no pretentious stage set, nothing. Just yer average set of coloured swirling lights and five guys sweating it out on-stage. Amazing but true. In this day and age they've cut it to the bone, leaving only the stuff that really matters; Musicality, humour and a good deal of enthusiasm. Go see them!

At last a thank you and a smile to the local Austrian police for unusually friendly assistance when I was parking my truck before the show. (This certainly was not Tirol!)

Rasmus Heide

[ reviews | the highway star ]