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

Deep Purple in Bocholt, 20th June, 1998

Bocholt is a small german city near the dutch border and not at all the typical city for events of that kind. The concert took place in the local 4th division soccer team's stadium which is located on the outskirts of town in a forest. Although the organisation was lacking a bit of professionalism (1 hour queueing for a drink!), it was a nice and rather intimate setting on a beautiful, sunny saturday.

The show started at 7 p.m. with a local amateur band playing cover tunes of ZZ Top, Supertramp, Bryan Adams and others. Not too bad, but who needs it?

Second on the bill was the german metal band Rage accompanied by an additional keyboarder and 4 string players of the Lingua Mortis Orchestra. The band had a rather tight, atmospheric and melodic sound reminding me a bit of Black Sabbath, however, the strings were hardly audible. Rage showed a positive and congenial attitude, did a good job and were therefore well received by the audience.

The moment everybody had been longing for came at 9.15 p.m. when our heroes entered the stage and started up the party with Hush. An excellent opener which was followed up by a very heavy Bloo(u)dsucker. After that it felt good to hear Strange kind of woman again after quite a long time. One of the first questions before a purple show in the 90s often has been whether Big Ian's voice would be in a good shape or not. To answer this question right away: it was excellent and very voluminous. Ian offered quite a number of his famous screams and was obviously in a very good mood as were the rest of the band. Especially Steve was constantly smiling and having fun.

An energetic version of Ted the mechanic followed this trio of old songs as the only remainder from Purpendicular. I would have preferred Sometimes I feel like screaming or maybe one of the Purpendicular songs which had not been performed in 1996, such as Loosen my strings. Well, you can't have it all.

The new album was introduced by a rather lame Fingers to the bone which is actually one of my Abandon favourites. The show continued that way with Abandon songs alternating with old stuff such as Woman from Tokyo. Concerning the new songs especially the very heavy and intensive version of Watching the sky deserves to be mentioned. Simply great! Smoke was introduced by a longer Steve Morse solo. Of course the solo spot was very good, however, not as impressing as the wonderful solo he played on the Purpendicular tour. A short and to my mind rather unspectacular solo by Jon Lord opened for Lazy which was played in full. As for SKOW: good to hear it again.

Perfect Strangers and Speed king were the last two songs of the official set-list. PS lacked the majestic atmosphere it is known for but Speed king simply was a blast with SM and JL trading solos, SM and IG passionately duelling and a short drum solo by Ian Paice.

The audience was enthusiastic and hence the band was back on stage within a couple of minutes to start the encores with Any fule kno that. No complaints about that song and the same goes for Hey Cisco on the last tour, however, would old classics not be more suitable as encores? I would have lots of proposals. Well, we finally got one: As usual the show was finished by a furious Highway Star.

Despite the little criticism I have to say that all in all this was a very good Purple show which I enjoyed very much and I am looking forward to see them again in September.

Strange kind of woman
Ted the mechanic
Pictures of home
Fingers to the bone
Almost human
Woman from Tokyo
Watching the sky
Seventh heaven
Steve Morse Solo
Smoke on the water
Evil Louie
Jon Lord Solo
Perfect Strangers
Speed king (feat. Ian Paice)

Any fule kno that
Highway star

Michael Pflitsch

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