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

Deep Purple rocks the house in Phoenix

By Altin Alimehmeti
Aztec Press

Some things don't diminish with the passage of time but grow stronger. That is what Deep Purple proved on Feb. 2, 1998 at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. The fathers of hard rock stormed the stage at the sold out theater by being "louder than everything else" and reminding the public that the musical battle rages on.

Over 100 minutes long, the set was an exclusive mixture of classic hits, and songs from their most recent album "Purpendicular" and one song from their new album expected to come out in late March or early April.

The band, led by Ian Gillan, whose golden throat continues to easily produce extraordinary guitar sounds, along with former Kansas/Dixie Dregs guitarist Steve Morse, bass player Roger Glover, and legendary original members Jon Lord on keyboards and drummer Ian Paice, were at the top of their performance.

The opening song was the Deep Purple version of "Hush," originally written by Joe South, followed by the cosmic speed of the title track from the "Fireball" album.

Metal hammering, "Into The Fire," "Pictures of Home" and many more, including recent songs, proved that Deep Purple are not just heavy metal and hard rock pioneers, but also a musical institution with a lot to teach today's up and coming young artists.

Gillan's excellent vocal performance, Glover's powerful bass rhythm and Paice's drum masterwork, together with the extraordinary musical dialogue produced by Lord's shaking Hammond keyboard and Morse's furious guitar virtuosity hypnotized the entire audience.

By the middle of the show, the band reached the point of being afraid to pause between songs and give the audience any reaction time, because the crowd's excitement was getting out of control.

The performance reached its peak when the band played the classical soft-sounding blues piece, "When A Blind Man Cries."

By the end of this song, it was so quiet you could almost hear the sound of people drying their tears.

At this point the band ripped into "Speed King" taking everyone on a wild ride of rhythmic hard rock, reminding the audience of Deep Purple's ability to be "soft as a feather" and hard as a rock at the same time.

"I drove from El Paso for 12 hours, but the drive was definitely well worth it," said dedicated fan Andrew Saliter, while waiting for the band to come backstage and greet their fans.

Apparently, the band's fans were not the only ones to think that the show was a blast.
"It's a rush!" said Gordan Circle, bass player of Michael Nitro Group, which opened for Deep Purple. Opening for Deep Purple "is the greatest feeling in the world."

The first to come out and the last to leave the conference room was Morse.

He signed many autographs and spoke in person with excited fans for about an hour. A flying enthusiast, he spoke about airplanes most of the time. Being more interested in the music field, I persuaded him to talk about music and his Deep Purple related project.

Morse said he is still good friends with the boys from Kansas, but his mind and work is focused on Deep Purple.

The rest of Deep Purple and I "have become like brothers," said Morse. Now we are at the point of finishing an album that we have been composing together.
Glover was the second to come into the conference room.

According to him, continuing to be on the road for more than 30 years was great, but hard to describe in words.

"How can you describe a feeling?" asked Glover. "Can you describe the Mona Lisa?"

If you missed out on this great show, the new Deep Purple album is coming out soon, to give you another chance of experiencing a taste of these legendary musicians' work. If interested, you can learn more about Deep Purple and their lyrics, discography, biographies, concert reviews and anything else related to the band, by logging onto the Internet at: WWW.Deep-Purple.com/.

Once you have done so, I am sure it will become one of your permanent cyber stations.

Altin Alimehmeti

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