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

LA HOB 1/30 Fri night review

Tonights show was different than any other show I've ever attended. Remember how the tickets for this night suddenly dried up? Well, apparently a few hundred tickets were sold, then JBL, makers of the HOB new sound system, decided to buy all the remaining tickets and throw a corporate party that night. I'm not sure if this is what's called an "industry" show, but it certainly wasn't a show made up of a bunch of DP fans. Lots of corporate guys in suits and ties with their augmented girlfriends. Lots of people having loud conversations instead of groovin' to the music (at least during the opening act). One good thing about the JBL show - open bar all night (at least if you worked for them)!! I heard a rumor that maybe a few internet folks took advantage of this situation and passed themselves off as JBL employees, but that's just a rumor ;-) Many of the internet folks were at the show early and lined the front row. The area behind us didn't fill in until maybe 15 minutes before the DP went on-stage, which was definitely not the case during the other nights.

Opening Act
The opening act tonight was Warren Zevon doing a solo acoustic set for about 40 minutes. He started off on guitar before switching to piano, playing his modern day folk songs (with topical Clinton jokes added for flavor). I'm not real familiar with his songs, except for 'Werewolves of London', but it was a big improvement over the past two opening act. Unfortunately, many of the JBL people were more interested their conversations and spoke loudly over the acoustic instruments. The set went quickly and Purple were on a short time later.

Deep Purple
Well, considering the audience demographics, I wasn't expecting much from Deep Purple tonight. Without a bunch of DP maniacs cheering on the band, I kind of expected the band to go on auto-pilot and coast through the show. Thankfully, this WASN'T the case. Deep Purple played an energetic set, showing what professionals they truly are. The set list was the same as Wednesday night (no Rosa's Cantina) and was really the first night to feature a true keyboard solo from Jon, IMO. Roger and Paicey played flawless as usual. Jon seems a little more animated this evening, which wasn't the case the nights before. Oddly, Steve seemed to have a little less sparkle tonight, but still had the perma-grin glued to his face (although tonights solo spot was probably my favorite). But, IMO tonights VIP award went to Mr. Gillan for making the show work. Being the frontman, it's so critical for him to have a good night, and he sang beautifully throughout. He also made the biggest (only?) fluff of the night during SIFLS, starting the final '...It's all in the mind' part a verse too early. Roger and Steve gave Ian funny looks...Ian's grinning over his goof....a fun little moment which makes seeing DP live so special. Other notables: Roger had some new Ampeg amps for the first time instead of the old Trace Elliots. Nice, clean, and crisp sounding amps. Also, tonight featured my first (and hopefully last) DP mosh pit. I'm not sure what song it started during, but it was in full swing during Highway Star - Morons!!! [ya know, you never see a woman starting a mosh pit ;-)] And lastly, this was the first time in a while I heard cries for Ritchie Blackmore, from a guy or two over on Steve's side of the stage. That was early in the set and I didn't heard anything later in the set - maybe they were converted ;-). Overall, I'd give the show a 6.5 on a 1 to 10 scale - better than Wednesday night, but not as good as Thursdays show.

Madness!!! The third level of the building is made up of two small dressing room areas and the Foundation Room, with a hallway connecting the areas. The Foundation Room is for special dues-paying people who get to watch the concerts from a special reserved section and get to hang out upstairs after the shows. Tonight the place was swarming with JBL people (or at least people with special JBL laminates). I found a place in the hallway and started chatting with various people about various things. One guy was a tall, good-looking guy from somewhere in Europe. We're talking for five minutes, comparing the Thursday and Friday shows, when finally I ask him where he's from. Sweden, he replies. "Christer?!" I reply. "Dana?!" It was Christer Lorichs from amdp whom I'd been exchanging e-mails the week before, trying to find a way for him to get tickets to the sold out shows. [cue up "It's a Small World" music :-)] We hugged, laughed and had a great time sharing stories. That was nice moment. Meeting all the ng people and sharing stories really added to the LA shows.

Dana McDermott

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