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

What a show!! I can't stop smiling when I think about it! First of all, let me describe the venue. The stage is a bit more compact at the House of Blues than at the Rosemont Horizon. It's probably only about 40 feet wide and the floor area where we were all standing is only about 40 feet deep. About 1,300 of us were crammed into the floor area and about 200 more were on the three levels of balconies. There was not a bad seat in the House! The sound was 100% better than at the Horizon, which holds about 14,000 or so. The bar circles around the floor area in a horse shoe shape with a few video screens showing the band from a camera that's mounted on one of the balconies directly in front of the stage (Would love to get that recording, if it was indeed recorded!!)

My wife and I managed to get a spot directly in front of Ian's congas less than 10 feet from the stage. From there, we had a great view of Ian, Jon, and Steve (his last day as a bachelor - congratulations, Steve!), and a pretty good view of Roger and Paice. This was a huge improvement from last year, when I needed binoculars to see their faces! These guys were cutting up so much, it was a lot of fun to watch, particularly after the warm-up band's stone cold faces. The guy to my left came all the way from Minneapolis to see the show. Said it was worth every penny! The guy behind me recorded the show on the 15th and had his recorder set up to record this show with a microphone hung around his neck. Hope I didn't ruin his tape with my "enthusiasm"! The guy in front of me had a great blue jeans jacket on with Deep Purple stitched into the back and front and Doogie White's autograph on it from last spring. He gave me a pair of ear plugs that I used for the warm-up band, who was actually louder than DP as their speakers were set up in front of DP's speakers within a few feet of the front of the stage. The plugs came out for DP!! It was great meeting other long time purple fans and rockin' with these guys!! This was something I really missed when I first heard DP back in the early 70's before their breakup.

The warm-up band, The New Meanies, were actually pretty good; but they played for almost an hour, and DP didn't hit the stage until 10:30. The set list was the same as on the 15th (from what I hear), except they played Rosa's Cantina instead of Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming (which was fine, just fine!). Some Highlights: It was great to hear some more In Rock tunes like Bloodsucker and Into the Fire. Bloodsucker was especially awesome - with Gillan going crazy with the screams at the end of each verse and the end of the song like on the original! The new song, 7th Heaven, was great! Can't wait for the new CD! Steve's intro to Smoke lasted over a minute and included bits and pieces from Yes' Roundabout and Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love. Jon's solo was brilliant but quite a bit shorter than on LATO. WABMC was absolutely brilliant! Speed King was introduced as "It's lullaby time!" with Lord playing a familiar lullaby (can't recall what it's called, was it Pop Goes the Weasel??) for a few seconds before the riff and vocals kick in!

At the beginning of Rosa's Cantina, Ian forgot the first line and went over to Roger for some help. Roger was always able to help him! Also, Steve had a problem with the speakers during his Cascades solo as he went back and bent over to try to hear one of them and tapped on it a couple of times. Listening to it, you would never know he had problems as it was brilliant! Steve and Roger got together a few times and dipped their guitars in unison during the riffs in Highway Star and a couple of other songs. They looked like they were having a blast! Gillan, Morse, and Glover could not stop smiling and cutting up!

All in all, it was a great show! We left after the last number (as most people did) as I had to return to work in just a few hours and it was already almost 12:30 a.m. I heard only one lamentation for Blackmore all night. The rest was sheer enjoyment!!

Thank you DP for coming back to Chicago!


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