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

Saturday 1/31 DP Review

Since I wanted to make sure I could get close, I arrived at the HOB at about 6 pm Saturday night. I looked around a little bit, but besides the Blues Brothers gang (don't ask, I couldn't explain it in a month) there was no one there. I started asking employees of the club where the line forms, but got only confused stares. Hell, I've waited in lines forming earlier than that for far lesser bands than DP. I finally managed to find out where to go (into the bar where you wait for them to let you go downstairs to the hall) at about 6:30 and stayed by the stairs so I could get up front. Silly me, at 8:00 when the doors opened there were all of 6 people in line.

I picked a spot against the rail just to the right of center (between Ian and Roger) and spent the next two hours listening to the house music (AC/DC 5 times, LZ 4 times, and DP/Rainbow/Whitesnake once, figure that one out). After reading reviews from the earlier LA shows I wasn't looking forward to the opening act - fortunately the previous openers has been replaced by a pretty good 3-piece band called "Ohm" that played in the style of the Steve Morse Band. They started at 10:00 and finished at 10:30.

DP hit the stage at 11:15 and it was INTENSE. I've been in the front row before, but never that close to the band. I felt self-conscious knowing Ian, Roger and Steve were RIGHT THERE. The set list has been talked to death so I won't go through it in detail, but I was scared to death when Ian announced Rosa's after WfT (hey, weren't they supposed to play Seventh Heaven?). I was relieved as hell when they launched into it next. My first impression was that Roger just kicked a@$. When listening to DP, it's so easy to get caught up in Ritchie/Steve and Jon that you overlook Roger's contribution. After watching him last night I'd rank him with any bassist out there.

As everyone has said, Ian's voice was in great shape. Bloodsucker blew me away and his voice stayed strong right through Highway Star. Steve was awesome, but that was expected. He's earned his reputation was one of the most talented, professional guitarists in the business. It was really fun watching his interactions with everyone - but especially Roger. They looked to be having a great time. My only disappointments were that Jon was hard to hear and I didn't get to meet any of the many AMDP'rs around me.

Highlights for me were Bloodsucker (IG gave it his all), No One Came (the swinging mike stand/strobe light made me duck more than once), and Highway Star (they just ripped through it). I came away with one of Steve's picks, handshakes from IG and RG, ringing ears, and a big smile. I give it 5 stars (out of 5) - check it out.

Kyle Jones

[ reviews | the highway star ]