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

Dec 13th New Orleans Show

I'm a little late in writing my review, but better late than never eh? For those that read the pre-show entry I sent, you'll know I drove down to the show from Arkansas with a couple of my friends. We left Friday morning, and arrived about 5:00 PM in New Orleans, just in time to get stuck in traffic. After a whopping 6 MPH speed for almost an hour, we made it into our hotel - which I'm not going to review other than to say we REALLY should have thrown the toilet off of the 7th floor balcony. The hotel advertised a shuttle to the French Quarter, but didn't have it, so we took a cab instead - a first for one of my friends. We did NOT attend the Friday night show, as we didn't know when we'd get there. We did go down and hit the streets for a while & picked up our tickets for Saturday's show.

Saturday we played tourist before the show. I had heard there would be no DP concert merchandise, so I decided to get a HOB jean jacket for my memories. It looks good, and was warmer than the jacket I brought with me... Yeah, I had a heavy coat sitting by the door to take on the trip, and left it at home. Saturday night we ate (lousy food for me) on Bourbon St. and walked down to stand in line to get into HOB for the show. Along the way, a fire hydrant (or very short vampire) jumped in my path and took a bite out of my leg right below my knee. It's as close as I got to getting hit by a bus, but I lived. We stood outside for a while, maybe 45 minutes or so, before the line started to make its way inside. We wandered around looking for a good spot, and settled on standing just to the right of the sound board area. The opening band (Blue Meanies) wasn't too bad, and put a lot of energy into their set. I think the frontman has more than a little Randy Bachman in him, though. Must be a Canadian thing maybe ?

Ok - the heart of the review...
First of all, even if Purple had played their worst show ever, I would have loved it. I am glad to say the show was absolutely supurb. Being a DP fan as long as I have been, I knew the guys had a lot of spirit in their live shows, but it was something else to actually experience it. The sound was great (and I refuse to talk about Jon's organ problems that seem to be a review prerequisite - I heard every growl that came outta that Hammond). I was disappointed to only get to hear Seventh Heaven and not Any Fool Knows That (or whatever the proper title is). I also think Rosa's Cantina was cut, but I didn't miss it until after the show. The rest of the set was pretty much as other dates have reported.

Ian G. was in fine form, the best I've heard in a long time live (or live recordings in my case). It was right before his first (what I consider for him) high note - IG paused for just a second, held up a finger on his hand holding the mic and raised his eyebrows, and with a very big grin on his face seemed to say "check this out - I'm gonna nail it". And he did. I was grinning from ear to ear. And he kept doing it, too. Terrific! I liked how he commented before "Bloodsucker" about the song being appropriate for the local culture, since New Orleans has a big vampire history & is home to Anne Rice. During the encore, an enthusiastic fan jumped up on the stage, and jumped off before security could get to him. Since the DP fan base is a little beyond the moshing kick, the audience didn't show too much interest in catching the guy, and he went splat. Now while this was going on, IG was center stage flanked by RG and SM. And while they performed their parts without a hitch, they were all watching this guy take his fall. IG kept an eye on him, and at the end of the song, asked twice if he was OK. The man (& band) cares about the fans. Course the guy did it again, and didn't get quite the same concern... And the guy he landed on wasn't at all happy about it, either. I liked the swinging mic stand during the strobe sequence, and of course the interplay between IG and SM... SM calling out for IG, who had wandered backstage, his Musicman going "oh Iaaannn..." IG returned and had a talk with Mr. Morse and his guitar, at one point asking "what the fuck was that" in his best guitarspeak.

Steve was just great too, I've never had a "oh Ritchie's gone what will we/they do" attitude. Steve played old and new with equal ease, trying his best to look serious, but often breaking into what's getting to be his infamous grin. The whole band was great, and I don't want to try to put things in any order, but I mention Steve because it was during Fireball I realized Steve was the first guitarist I had ever seen live. The Dixie Dregs had opened for The Doobie Brothers, which was my first concert way back when I was in 4th grade. I don't remember Steve's performance that first night I saw him, but will never forget this second time.

JL's dual leslies weren't something I was expecting, but what a musician! The people around me were screaming for LAZY, and I think it was because they wanted to see something more of a JL showcase... His solo at the end of SOTW was very nicely done, but was just too short.

IP played like a madman. If he could get mad. So much energy, and power in his playing, ripping through a few songs, to the end of a particular group of songs when he'd just sit back and watch his bandmates, with more of a "I've just had a walk in the park" instead of a "I just beat the hell outta my drums and my legs should be falling off by now" air about him. I sent RG an email one time, saying just what I liked about IP. He has always had a sound of his own, and I was glad to hear it in full thunder.

RG. Understand that I am just really impressed with RG as a person & a producer, as well as DP's bassist. Why ? Because I've sent him 2 or 3 emails over the last couple years, and he answered. That impressed me to no end. He didn't have to, but man did it give me a great feeling about the guy. It was nice to see him live, he has a fire and attitude that comes out more live than on the studio stuff. He knows his instrument (a bass with a tremolo isn't something you see each day) he knows his material, and he knows his band. Fantastic.

Okay... The bands great and all of you know that. I said it before about LATO, and now I've seen it live - this particular band is HAVING FUN! It adds so much more to the music when the band is enjoying what they're doing, and not plotting to beat each other up in an alley somewhere (see the interview clips elsewhere on the DP site for this, I might be taking it totally out of context). To SEE this band feeding off of each other, with cues, gestures, jokes, and music is just incredible. It adds something to already great music. I felt a part of the show. Had to drive home through a snowstorm that dumped 9 to 12" of snow in central Mississippi, but it was worth it. :)

Now, if I can just talk the guys into coming to Memphis next year. Nice venue, Mud Island, right on the river, about 4,500 - 5,000 seats, perfect for a show. Anytime I can, if they get anywhere close, I will see this band. If anyone is reading this that has NOT seen the band and gets a chance, DO SO.

Wonder if the guys would sign my HOB jacket... Hmmm.


I debated whether to take a real 35mm Canon into the show, or make due with a digital cam. HOB said they weren't permitting pictures, and I figured I had a better chance of smuggling the digital cam in. Besides, it was half the cost to replace if I had to ditch it. Considering the venue, the pics aren't bad. Fans will like them, photography critics will cringe. Here's a rundown :

NO-DP01 through NO-DP09 are pictures of the performance. I think NO-DP09 is a picture of the chalk calendar outside of the club showing band dates.

NOHOBSB is a pic of the House of Blues soundboard, which DP used. The light & sound guys were too dark to see - sorry guys, I tried.

NOKEV is me standing out in front of the HOB with their DP barker board in the background. Can't see much of me, but that makes it one of my better pics :)

Decatur1 & 2 - the intersection just down the street from the HOB after the show. There wasn't anything to see RIGHT in front of HOB, except for a truck and a torn up street. In the pics are Landry's Seafood, and also Tower Records. Down the block in the same group of buildings is Hard Rock Cafe New Orleans.

NO-SNOW1 & 2 - pics of the drive home. the last 3 hours home were clear with no sign of snow or bad weather. the middle 3 hours were very very white. these are from that leg of the drive.

Kevin Shirley

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