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

DEEP PURPLE BOCHOLT (GERMANY) CONCERT OF JUNE 20TH, 1998

ast Saturday, I travelled together with 4 other fans from Belgium to Bocholt in order to attend one of the concerts of Deep Purple in Germany.

The concert took place in a stadium of the local football team. I guess that approximately 5000 people were there. The weather was excellent, i.e. sunny and a temperature of about 30 c!!

The show commenced at 7 PM with a local band called FLYER. They played covers of ZZTOP, TOTO, SUPERTRAMP, BRYAN ADAMS, etc. Very enjoyable; it was the start of an unforgettable evening.

RAGE, a wellknown German HM band, entered the stage around 8 PM. They played for about 45 minutes typical metal songs. Not bad but it didn't really hit me. A chamber orchestra was supposed to support the band but no one could hear them playing except when they played "happy birthday" for one of the band members.
RAGE ended with a metal version of "Paint it black". Who else played this song before?

Purple started around 9:20 PM and played for approximately 2 hours. It was obvious from the first song that all band members were in very good shape. Ian's voice was clear and strong; he was full of confidence and gave me the impression to control the whole show. Jon was great, he has clearly regained the role he had in Deep Purple in the Seventies. Again, Steve proved to be an amazing guitar player. He makes me forget Blackmore. Roger's bass was powerful, he and little Ian formed a strong rhythm section.
But the most important thing was to see playing a happy and enthusiastic band. There is indeed chemistry in this band, even more, I think, than during the 1996 Purpendicular Tour. There were also number of jokes and conversations between the band members during the gig. The hand shakes between Ian and Steve were touching.

And the setlist? I recall the following:

  • HUSH was the opener, no surprise but it made the audience wild from the very beginning.
  • BLOODSUCKER was played like on Abandon.
  • STRANGE KIND OF WOMAN. I knew from the Internet that Purple would play this again. The intro was a bit different than on Made in Japan. No interplay Morse / Gillan.
  • TED THE MECHANIC. Apparently, this song is a new DP classic. Appreciated by the audience.
  • PICTURES OF HOME. I am so happy that this song has been rediscovered. Great performance like during 1996 Tour. Excellent intro from little Ian, great lyrics, nice solo's from Jon, Roger and Steve. Deep Purple at their best.
  • FINGERS TO THE BONE was the first song from Abandon. To my mind, it is the best song on this album; a new Deep Purple classic comparable to "Perfect Strangers" or "Anya". Steve's intro made me think that they would play the "The Aviator" but that quickly changed. To my mind, the live performance of this song is not yet perfect. It missed something although it is difficult to say what exacdtly.
  • ALMOST HUMAN was next song. Heavier performance than on the CD. Nice but it didn't really hit the audience.
  • WOMAN FROM TOKYO made the audience wild again. Amazing.
  • WATCHING THE SKY was the next song. This is a real masterpiece of rock music; very sophisticated, a lot of tempo variety and good lyrics. The song is well fitted for a live performance. Deep Purple proved their real capabilities here.
  • SEVENTH HEAVEN. Same comments as for previous song. Absolutely majestic. I think I'm still in a kind of seventh heaven since last Saturday....
  • STEVE'S SOLO : ok, a bit like on "Cascades" during Purpendicular Tour. A moment of relax to introduce ...
  • SMOKE ON THE WATER. This made the audience completely crazy.
  • EVIL LOUIE was a nice surprise for me. The more I listen to Abandon the more I like this song (listen to Steve's guitar play after the first strophe and you'll understand me).
  • JON'S SOLO : I have heard better solo's from Jon; it was too short (two to three minutes);
  • LAZY. Jon's solo was however a good introduction for LAZY. This performance was more or less like on "Made in Japan". Ian was great on his harmonica. There was a also short but powerful drum solo of little Ian.
  • PERFECT STRANGERS was next. What else can I say than that it made the crowd crazy again.
  • SPEED KING was announced as a ballad. Strong play of all band members. Nice interplay between Jon and Steve but also a duet by Ian and Steve at the end of the song (Ian's laughing was imitated by Steve for several minutes; I liked it).

ENCORES - Part I:

  • ANY FULE KNO THAT was the first 'zugabe'. Not an appropriate song for a live performance. I preferred 69.
  • HIGHWAY STAR. What can I say about this? No surprises but the speed was high.

This was supposed to be end of the show but ...

ENCORES - PART II:

... the audience kept asking and yelling for more, and indeed ... after a few minutes the band returned on stage. We had luck, a third encore is not standard during this tour. We got one : BLACK NIGHT.

It was a special "thank you" to the audience. I think we deserved it.

Ian entered the stage for this last song barefooted and in shorts (I think he did the same in Instanbul earlier this month).

The show ended around 11:20 PM.

Readers of this review will understand that I enjoyed the concert very much. It was one of the best concerts I have ever visited.

The only comments or suggestions I would like to make are the following :

  • only 1 song from Purpendicular is too few; I would have expected "Sometimes I feel like screaming" or "Cascades";
  • I was happy with "Strange Kind of Woman" or "Lazy" being back on the setlist but I am still asking myself why they do not play some 'younger' stuff like "Anya", "The Battle Rages On" or "Knockin' at your Back Door".

ANYWAY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH DEEP PURPLE. YOUR MUSIC TOUCHED MY SOUL!

Herman Kerremans


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