House of Blues, Los Angeles
(John Lappen, reviewer)
Have they put out the fire at the House of Blues? Probably not, since
Deep Purple has two nights to play there yet. The mighty British rockers
dusted a screaming, jam-packed house Wednesday night with an incendiary set,
the first of a sold out four-night stand.
The 100-minute set was a ferocious mix of classic favorites, rarely-
played-in-concert album cuts, one work in progress and a handful of strong
cuts from the band's latest on CMC Records titled "Purpendicular."
Led by Ian Gillan, one of the genre's finest singers, along with bassist
Roger Glover and original members Jon Lord on keyboards and drummer Ian Paice,
this was not a show for the faint of heart. In their first LA show in over a
decade, Purple put the metal hammer down with a vengeance.
Opening with their classic version of Joe South's "Hush," and the title
track from the "Fireball" album, the band was on top of its game throughout.
In addition to Gillan's great vocals and commanding stage presence, the
interplay between Jon Lord's roaring Hammond and former Kansas/Dixie Dregs
guitarist Steve Morse's furious fretwork was killer, while the rhythm section
pushed this runaway train along at breakneck speed.
Morse is to be commended for ably filling the shoes of former Purple
guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. He handled Blackmore's parts on the old tunes
with aplomb without resorting to simply copying his style. Morse's work on the
new songs exhibits a style that is less busy than Blackmore's signature licks.
Highlights were numerous. "No One Came" was a wild ride into rhythmic
hard rock; "Speed King" rocked like crazy. The band played "Smoke on the
Water," of course, but even better was a frenetic "Highway Star."
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