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

Review of first Chicago show from Chicago Sun Times, 12/17/97

DEEP PURPLE, the New Meanies
Highly Recommended

There was a moment during the first show in Deep Purple's three-night stand at the House of Blues when guitarist Steve Morse cycled through the signature riffs of some of rock's greats: Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers.
Then he launched into the band's own classic-rock staple, the silly but enduring "Smoke on the Water". Morse seemed to be saying Deep Purple belongs in the heavy metal pantheon. And the band's two-hour set proved that he was right.
Except for the former Dixe Dreg Morse filling in for Ritchie Blackmore, this was the same Deep Purple that recorded the timeless "Machine Head" album in 1972. The album helped define the hallmarks of metal sound: monumental guitar riffs, earthquake bass, thundering drums and a singer whose high notes make dogs howl. For it's own unique sound, Deep Purple added a swirling Hammond organ.
All of these elements were intact and sounding better than ever at the House of Blues. Ian Gillan remians one of the great hard rock vocalists. (Remember, this is the guy who played the lead in the original recordeing of "Jesus Christ Superstar"). Roger Glover and Ian Paice were rythmic monsters, and Jon Lord alternately attacked his organ with karate chops and virtuosic finesse. The band delivered rousing versions of "Hush", "Black Night", "My Woman from Tokyo", and "Highway Star"-pretty much averything a fan could ask for save "Space Trucking". But just as inspiring was the fact that the band's new material stood up in comparison to the old stuff. especially an as yet unrecorded riff-rocker called "Seventh Heaven".
Of course, there were some indulgences: a solo spot where Morse tried to make his guitar sound like an organ, and another in which Lord turned "Chicago" into a free-jazz showpiece. But then part of the charm of a band like Deep Purple is that no one ever accused it of having good taste. And as long as it delivers the goods loud, fast, and hard, we can put up with the rest

Jim DeRogotis, pop music critic

Forwarded to The Highway Star by
Eric Eisenstein

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