Review - Phoenix, AZ Show - 2/2
I took Svante's advice and went to the show here at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. I'm very glad I went. I had seen DP with Blackmore, Coverdale, and Hughes at The California Jam in 1974, but I hadn't seen Ian Gillan since DP's Long Beach, California appearance in 1972. I am so amazed at this man's voice - still, after all these years. How can he do it? After so many nights, giving the audience what they want. What a performer! He exhibited such precision and control. He really did justice to Into the Fire, When a Blind Man Cries, and others. I congratulate him.
Ian Paice has always been a Powerhouse of chops. He still holds unrivaled supremacy over the snare, high-hat, and a lightning-fast foot on the pedal of his bass drum. He could out-do a cheater double-bass drummer any day. I'm glad to hear the scope of his devotion and professionalism encompasses teaching. The only complaint I have is that more time wasn't allowed for his solo. In the old days, it was a common standard at a rock concert. The problem was, I think, people burned out on all the common (Cozy Powell - one of the reasons I have to wonder about Ritchie) drummers. Ian Paice, however, is an uncommonly good drummer and is deserving of such notice.
Jon Lord is better than ever. When I heard the energy of his Purpendicular work, and the tight, high-speed melodies he was doing with Steve, it just made me feel great. Sorry about the self-indulging "made me feel great" comment, but I'm shooting for honesty here. Then to hear him perform so flawlessly live was just outstanding. And particularly so, given the fact that the mix of the band these days is such that he can be heard quite well. I always thought he used to be too subdued in the mix and that if they would simply turn up the organ they would benefit tremendously - I was right.
Roger Glover also did quite well and demonstrated that in fact his bass IS a BIG part of DP. Roger is clearly devoted to this band and has proven so over the years both from the standpoint of the business as well as the music. Just an aside... Roger, better make a note to be sure you and Steve bring more picks to Phoenix next time if you play The Celebrity Theater - the crowd was nearly on the stage and everybody thinks they need a guitar pick.
I've been a fan of Steve Morse since 1978 - the latest Dixie Dregs album then was "What If." I was introduced to the DD by a drummer friend of mine whom had idolized Ian Paice. I saw Steve play for the first time that year with the release of their album "Night of the Living Dregs." I was heavy into DP going back to 1972 and therefore (if you've ever listened to the Dixie Dregs) consider myself to be very diverse (to say the least) in my musical taste. If anyone ever tried to tell me in the 70's or 80's that Steve would play in Deep Purple, I would have just laughed. So, as you might imagine, it's still a fact that I find a little hard getting used to. None-the-less, now I believe Steve Morse is just what DP needed. Steve's performance here in Phoenix, as usual, was phenomenal. Here's a little Steve Story: One night (I think in 1979) the Dixie Dregs were playing a show at the Roxy in Hollywood, CA. I showed up early that day and had the pleasure of helping Jeff Burkhart and Mark "Microwave" Mytrowitz (DD Roadies) unload the band's equipment and set up. That evening, my then girlfriend (today, my wife of seventeen years), Cathy and I were rewarded by getting to hang out with the band (except Steve - he was still at the motel I think) backstage for dinner and such. What a great time. Later, the first of two shows that evening were about to start and Steve was still at the motel down Sunset Blvd and needed to be picked up. Yes, Cathy and I were given the task of going to pick him up. Steve (and his famous modified Telecaster) rode in the back of our Camaro and when we stopped to let him out at The Roxy (I still had to go find a place to park), he got out and reminded us that he needed to get his guitar out of the back seat. I think he must have been a little nervous - you know, we were strangers to him, his Tele was still in our back seat, for all he knew we could have just driven off with it. Lucky for him, we're not those kind of people - wouldn't (and didn't) think of stealing his guitar. That brief moment is one that I always look back on with a chuckle.
It was a wonderful experience to see DP play now with the high level of energy and enthusiasm they have now. I would like to thank them for playing the lesser-know songs, Into the Fire, No One Came, When a Blind Man Cries, Bloodsucker, Pictures of Home - didn't Ritchie ever want to play some of this stuff? And finally, I would like to congratulate each of them for making Deep Purple such a joyful success.