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

Chicago HOB - Dec. 15, 16, & 17

I (along with several other amdp/Internet-'ers: Secil, Jonathan, Don, Doug, Ron, Glenn, & Jim) attended all three shows at the HOB; the brief summary - what a band!

I think I'd assumed going into it that they might be a little bit off. After all, they'd only played a few dates recently, and they're probably in "studio mode". It would have been understandable if the timing wasn't there or there were rough spots during the show. I was way off. All three shows far surpassed anything I saw on last year's tour. They were *on* all three nights, and the band as a whole has really gelled in the past 12 months.

The set list (assuming I remembered it correctly, which is unlikely) was:

Jaqueline and Steve's Wedding (Dec. 17 only! :-) )
Into the Fire
Ted the Mechanic
Pictures of Home (Steve's solo)
Black Night
Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming (Dec. 15 and 17)
Rosa's Cantina (Dec. 16)
Woman From Tokyo
Seventh Heaven
No One Came
Smoke on the Water (Jon's solo)
When A Blind Man Cries
Speed King
Perfect Strangers
Fade Away (Dec. 17)
Highway Star

Highlights for me were SIFLS, PoH, Bloodsucker, WaBMC, and Seventh Heaven. The new song sounds great so far. It reminds me of another (non-Purple) song, but thus far I can't figure out what song that it. I wish my brain worked.

The opening band was the New Meanies. I think I'd heard the name before, but had never heard any of the music. They were very good, at times reminding me of a mixture of the Black Crows and Badlands. They put a lot of energy into their show, unlike a lot of opening bands that just go through the motions. They played an hour each night, and by the end of it always seemed to win over a significant percentage of the crowd. I'll definitely pick up one of their CDs if I can find it.

DP was incredibly tight every show, and seemed to be having a great time on stage. Steve and Jon dueled at a couple of different points during the evening (Black Night, I think, and Speed King), as did Steve and IG. The overall intensity of the shows was awesome, particularly the 17th! These guys continue to get better and better.

IG was phenomenal; if anything his voice has improved over last year. One of the highlights for me was hearing him scream his way through Bloodsucker - amazing! My favorite Gillan quote came from the 16th, as the band paused after Bloodsucker: "We've had a request from the drummer.....but we've decided to play in time anyway". And then they launched into Rosa's. Ian had some trouble with the first line, but Roger helped him out. To me it just added another humorous element to the show - who cares if he forgot a line?

SM was typical Steve. His solos on SIFLS on the 17th blew me away. I hope they don't drop this song from their set list on future tours - for me it's one of the best parts of the show.

RG was the driving force behind the band every night. IMO his playing has become an integral part of the live shows - he's way up in the mix, and to me has added an element that was missing previously.

IP - I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. The guy is such a consistently great drummer, and puts so much energy into every show...

JL kind of filled a dual role for the 17th; aside from being the keyboardist in DP and an integral part of the overall sound (as usual!) he was also assigned the task of providing the wedding music :-).

I only had a couple of complaints about the shows. First was that, like last year, Jon was tough to hear. I assumed this was simply a problem in the mix, but now it seems fairly consistent to me. However, I don't recall anyone else complaining about it, so maybe it's just me? Jon's Hammond is such a defining element in Purple that it takes something away from the show when you have to struggle to hear him. Then again, we were close to the stage every night; maybe the mix was better further back in the crowd.

The only other complaint I had was that the set list wasn't varied more. In some sense this is probably understandable, since (unlike us) most people only go to one show and want to hear the music they know. However, it would be nice if DP could mix things up a little bit more; maybe play SKoW or Space Truckin' instead of Woman from Tokyo, Flight of the Rat instead of Into the Fire, Fools instead of No One Came, etc. Also, more new material would have been welcome. I've got a feeling this may happen for the LA shows! (Roger also mentioned after the show that they were going to be looking at the set list for the next tour; for the HOB dates, they just decided to stick with basically the same set list as the _|_ tour. I do hope they vary things somewhat from night to night; not only because I'm selfish and want to hear other songs - though that's true :-) - but also because I'd think it would keep the band fresh).

As I said, several amdp/Internet people got together before and during each of the shows. We had a great time, and it was good to put some faces to names, or see some people I hadn't seen in a year.

The wedding: Thanks to Doug and Don, we had a bit of advance notice (if three hours counts as "advance notice") about this. So we weren't surprised when IG walked out in front of the curtain and announced to everyone that there were "two gigs tonight - the DP show and Steve's wedding".
Fortunately it went well, with only a few idiots trying to scream things to Steve. And generally for every person who yelled something, 4 or 5 others tried to shut them up. Steve's dad was the minister, and they had 7 or 8 friends and family members on stage. The whole thing was pretty surreal. I don't think any of us believed it until it really happened.


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