New Orleans Show Pre-Report
In 10 days, An event will happen that I've been waiting for most of my life. I'll get to attend my first DP concert. I've read the tale on The Highway Star web page of another first timer's experience, his excitement writing in beforehand, and his review (or afterglow) after seeing his first show, and thought I'd follow his style (or rip off his idea, depending on your tilt of things).
I am 29, the youngest member of my family. I have one brother 10 years older than I, and an older sister by13 years. I became a Deep Purple fan through my sister - I remember she would hold me and dance with me to the Fireball album when I was 3 or 4. For anyone not wanting to do the math, this was in '71/'72. My sister gave me my musical tastes at an early age, not only DP, but at the time Steppenwolf, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Uriah Heep, and a host of others. In January of '73, my family moved to (then West) Germany as Dad was in the Air Force. It was in Germany where I really developed my love for Purple. My parents figured I should be allowed to listen to what I liked, and they, along with my sister, would take me to buy my own albums. I bought my own copies of DPIR and Fireball, but for some reason, didn't get Machine Head at this time. I'd make up for that later...
My brother and sister attended high school in Weisbaden, and would come home on the weekends. On one of these weekends, my brother decided to swipe most of my albums and take them back to school with him. He had his own copies too, but he figured he'd make some extra money selling mine to his friends. I really didn't know where they went, I just knew they were missing. I did what any real DP fan would do when his albums turn up missing - I got royally pissed off and raised hell. My brother confessed, and had to use his allowance & work money for the next few weeks restocking my collection. Most of those LP's I still have, and most are in excellent shape.
The first concert I remember seeing was an Armed Forces Network broadcast of the California Jam show. My parents let me stay up (or actually got me up) so I could watch it in the middle of the night, and let me cut school the next day to "sleep it off". That's as close as I came to seeing DP live. However, it was HEARING DP live that hooked me for life. As was the custom, when the time came for us to leave Germany, a going away party was held for us. Most of the adults at the party did just that - partied. Myself and the other young ones were left to fend for ourselves, and one of the teen agers at that party had just bought Made In Japan and was playing it. It BLEW ME AWAY. It was the first time I had heard the band live with any volume (CA Jam through a 3" tv speaker doesn't count). And as I've learned over the years from reading about the band, it is on stage where they are really ALIVE. (ok, for all of those wondering, I know NOW my chronology of DP experiences was screwed, but to a 2nd grader, it didn't matter).
So, as time passed, I bought all of the DP albums I could. Old ones, new ones, 37 versions of compilations, things readers of The Highway Star can all relate to. I followed the band's offshoots - Rainbow, Whitesnake, Gillan, Gary Moore, and most of the others. So when I was in high school, I couldn't believe the news when I heard DP Mk II had pulled together again for Perfect Strangers. I was (and am) living in Arkansas, about an hour from Memphis. Every touring band played Memphis. Or so I thought. DP didn't come anywhere near Memphis. So HOBL came out and for some reason, the band scheduled a show in Little Rock. Little Rock doesn't boast of any really great concert halls, but it didn't matter if they played in a barn, I was going to get my chance to see "my" band. Well, until Ritchie broke his finger and the show was cancelled. I still have those tickets, I couldn't give them up. I figured that's as close as I'd get, especially since by this time reports of band grumblings were making their rounds. I had a group of my best friends offering comfort & pats on the back saying "Well, maybe they'll make it back around." Most of these guys were going to go to the show with me... some for the music, but all to see me with a stupid grin on my face for a week. Oh well...
So, that was 10 years ago. There have been a couple of albums since, a few line up changes, and some damn fine work by the band. When _|_ was released, I bought an import CD, and sent RG an email that plainly said "It feels right, it feels like home." And I politely begged (?) for a Memphis date on the tour. Didn't happen :-( That's ok - These guys were great, the music was alive and fresh, and (not that I didn't like was was done before) was not something out of the 15th century. I still keep a copy of _|_ in my car. Earlier this year, I heard about and immediately ordered LATO. This excited me even more than _|_ did for one simple reason. These guys were still HAVING FUN. It shows that much in the music, and I dare anyone to disagree with me. I REALLY wanted to see this lineup.
So, the band is in Florida, working on new material. and I read a report on the web page of US TOURDATES! New Orleans is as close as the band is getting to my location, and I am not going to miss this opportunity. Two of my best friends, both musicians, are going to go with me. One is a friend from school, the other a friend from work. Dave, the guy from work, is a tall fellow - 6'10". Hard to miss, even in a concert crowd. Dave likes DP, not nearly like I do, but likes the tunes and knows talent when he hears it. My other friend Lyn is the same way. But, even though they like the band, Dave summed up the reason for tagging along : "Man, I just wanna see you walk around with a woody the size of Manhattan for three weeks". And he's right... 26 years of foreplay can do that to a guy. I'm sure they're going to ask me if I've soiled my pants (in some form or another) at least every third song. We'll be driving down Friday, December 12th, and catching the show on the 13th. I can't wait. I'm fully expecting to be hit by a bus, or something else happening to keep this from becoming a reality. If I manage to make the show & survive, I will be sure to write of my experience. See you there...