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

HOB- New Orleans 12 Dec 1997

Well what is a die hard Ritchie fan to do. The greatest irony of the year is that Deep Purple and Ritchie havent had properly scheduled gigs anywhere near Texas since 1985. Then Ritchie schedules some BN gigs in Germany beginning on the same day as DP is to play New Orleans,which is only hours from Texas~! i was planning on going to see Ritchie in Germany but alas that was not to be.
Due to the bad timing before Christmas, money concerns, and the fact that my friend in Berlin, Axel, died recently and i was supposed to stay with him, i could not make the BN gigs in Germany this month. Then i hear about the new orleans gigs for DP. New Orleans is near my home town of Thibodaux, Louisiana. This is unbelievable! The same night Ritchie is to play Stuttgart! This was going to be a serious dilemma until i found it was not practicable for me to go to Germany. However, the irony for me and perhaps some other Texan DP and Rainbow fans remains!

Well I did what any self respecting fan Texas DP would do- I got in my car and went to New Orleans! What should i expect? What would a hardcore Ritchie fan say about a concert and tour where his favourite component of Dp's sound was not present? What would a former frequent poster to this newsgroup who got disillusioned with all the Ritchie and DP bashing say to this newsgroup that might be taken seriously by the true fans on either side?

Given that i just met Roger and the rest of the band this weekend should i be compelled to give a sycophant,"DP is always great" review?

The answer is no. I am touched by the fact I got to meet my heroes backstage at new orleans. I still hope to give my opinion of the gig, good and bad, without fear that Roger and jon will read this and get offended and never speak to me again. I hope that any of the members of DP and DP management who do read this understand that I LOVE Deep purple and am a huge fan. However, I feel that perhaps DP want to know how a hardcore Ritchie fan honestly feels about the concerts and give some true feedback.

I can guarantee that any praise given by a die hard Ritchie fan to DP is some of the hardest earned and most meaningful praise DP will ever get.

With that in mind- here are my thoughts and opinions on the wonderful weekend i spent seeing and meeting DP in new orleans. I encourage you to see DP for yourself and post your own opinions!

new orleans 12-12-97

new orleans is one of THE historical towns of the United States. Occupied by many different countries during its history, the City has a wonderful flavor of french, spanish, southern and Indian cultures. The food, night life and music scene are all spicy. This is the perfect venue to see DP in!

I arrive Friday and head to the Crescent City Brewery to mee to the amdp and AOL crowd. I meet Dana (zosobabe) who i know quite well and Kevin from nottingham, Doug and Rosa from Denver, and Jean and Scott from New jersey. It was great to meet some fellow Dp fans, especially Jean who used to be a frequent AOL Deep Purple Chat session attendee. AFter showing Kevin the southern ritual of the "tequila shot", we went to the show and got ready. I hadnt seen DP since I flew out to the Ft. Lauderdale show in 95. I was very curious to see how the band has developed. I was not dissappointed.

DP hit the stage about 10:30pm and brought their rock n roll down to new Orleans. They rocked though a blistering set of DP classics, Morse stuff and a new song too. They played for about two hours with that same rocking set list they have used for the past year or two. For those who dont know, the set list is:

into the fire
ted the mechanic
pictures of home/steve's solo
black night
sometimes i feel like screaming
my woman from tokyo
seventh heaven
no one came
smoke on the water/Jon's solo
when a blindman cries
speed king/ian's solo
perfect strangers
highway star

So i sat there and listened. I heard a band that was sooooo incredibly tight, so intense, you couldnt help but like it. The song list is to cry for. The band was not the same band i saw in Ft. Lauderdale. They were all smiles, no nerves and very tight. Roger was the most valuable player of the night, throwing in new bass parts to old songs giving them new life. Big Ian's voice surprisingly sounded as good as when i heard him on the 85 tour. The sound in the hall was pretty good and the crowd was intense.

yet, i sat there and listened to steve play a solo to Black night and it just wasnt right. I thought to myself first that if i were to post my feelings on this I would receive a hundred emails from the Ritchie bashing euros saying I was wrong and DP is so much better without that asshole ritchie. Thats probably not true of course as there are only a few bad internet-ers who ruin it for everybody and start all kinds of shit in the newsgroup, but thats what was going through my mind.

I listened to Roger and ian paice thunder out song after song with perfect keyboards and vocals only to have Steve do those horrible pick harmonics thoughout the songs and solos that did nothing and went nowhere. I was elated that the rest of the band was playing like I had never seen them play on songs that i had never heard played live. Then Steve plays guitar exercise scales and whammy bar harmonics for solos. If it is possible to be excited and dismayed at the same time i was. I feel like such a jerk saying anything negative about steve because he is such a nice guy and obviously a talented musician. But my opinion remains. it prevents me from saying the concert was awesome instead of really really good. I enjoyed it immensely but felt there was something lacking.

Most of you may attribute this attitude to the fact that any big Ritchie fan obviously must dislike morse's style just because he's in DP and he's not Ritchie. I can understand that but its not true. I didnt like SM's style even before he was with DP. I am a guitarist of 16 years and I did like the live stuff DP did with Satriani. It's just that steve's style is not my taste. The version of highway star was probably the best i have ever seen- it was just amazing. However, i am not alone in thinking that there was something missing. I heard comments after the show from strangers both good an bad about steve. Thats probably on par with the feelings in this newsgroup.

I cant find fault with the way the rest of the band played- it was intense. However, the guitar, which is such an integral part of DP was just not quite what i wanted to hear like i did.

all that aside, i was genuinely impressed with how tight and together the band played and again, Roger was amazing and kept the band together like crazy glue.

Recordings of illegitimate origin (i.e. "boots")- unlike the RBR concert at columbus in March where I saw five people in the front row all pressing "record" when Ritchie came on, i did not see a single soul taping the show at the HOB on the Friday night. Too bad. the version of Highway star would be worth the tape alone!

Well, with a second night to come, would Steve grow on me and win me over? would the band play with the same intensity as the friday night? Would i get to meet my idols?

You will have to read my next posts!

Confused as ever,
Bobby "BB" Gervais

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