[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Corpus Christi, Texas, USA

26. November 1994

Dust in the Wind

JohnnyLand - Corpus Christi, TX - November 26, 1994

Newsgroups: alt.music.deep-purple
From: joe@siegler.net (Joe Siegler)
Subject: Deep Purple Concert Review -
         Nov 26 '94 - Corpus Christi TX
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 18:38:07 GM
Well, I never thought I would get the chance to see Deep Purple. I've always known their music, but never really got into the band until 'Perfect Strangers' came out. After then, I picked up a bulk of the back catalog, and while not being a fan from way back, I consider myself to be a good fan. However, as with Rainbow before them, I thought that my chances of seeing the band were over. Essentially Deep Purple, like Black Sabbath, are a band that seems to be left over from the 1970's. They both had some mild success in the 1980's, but now essentially are a spent force insofar as the American market goes. The real die-hards still care, however, and for those people the band still carries on.

By Joe Siegler

After hearing that Blackmore left the band, I figured that was it. Nope, they got Joe Satriani to play with them, as I thought to just contractually fill some dates they had to do. That may very well be true, but it did bring up some interesting shows. Anyway, after they finished with Satch, I figured that was truly it. They're done, and I've blown my only remaining chance to see Deep Purple. I blew it on both Perfect Strangers and Blue Light. I actually passed on the chance to see Deep Rainbow, and was looking forward to The Battle Rages On. However, (to my knowledge), Purple didn't play the States anywhere on this tour. Much to my surprise I caught a message or two on the Internet about Deep Purple playing two dates in Mexico and one in Texas in late November 1994. After confirming that this show was actually happening, I rejoiced. I was going to see Deep Purple! I was a bit disappointed when I found out that Satch wasn't with them anymore, since I'm a big Satch fan. Steve Morse? I thought to myself "What the bloody hell is that going to sound like?". (as Geezer Butler said about Ian Gillan in Black Sabbath)

Anyway, on Saturday morning, I began the long trek down to Corpus Christi. I live in Dallas, TX, and the drive down to Corpus was a good 7-8 hour drive. When we (two friends went with me) got to the place, I was somewhat (but not totally unexpectedly) surprised to see the place they were playing. I'm not quite sure how to describe Johnnyland. It looks like a part-time baseball field, part time outdoor concert hall, part time picnic park. I don't know. However, the one thing that was weird about it is that it was a very much outdoors park. It was a rather windy night, and there was a ton of wind being stirred up. I know it sounds like a horrible pun, but it really was "Dust in the Wind". Rather appropriate that Steve Morse was playing here.

To give you an example of what kind of place it was, you could actually move around the tables and benches, and everyone was sitting on one. This was not the first outdoor concert I've attended, but was most definitely the first one where I got to rearrange the furniture to make my own seat. The place looked like it could hold around 10,000 or so (big open field!). A _guess_ on the attendance would probably put it at about 2 thousand people. I'm not the best guess of this type of thing; I could be way off.

Anyway, enough of this background crap. Let's get down to it, eh? (I can hear "Thank God!" from quite a few terminals now). There was some half-assed really crappy local band opening. I didn't even catch their name, but the guitarist stopped a song, broke a string, and they were really horrible. They also had some problems with lights, which I don't know was intentional or not.

At about 9:15, Deep Purple hit the stage. There was a taped tune that played before they came onstage, but I have no idea what it was. Here, in order, is the track listing of what they played.

Highway Star
Ramshackle Man @
Maybe I'm a Leo *
Fireball @
Perfect Strangers
Pictures of Home
Keyboard Solo
Knockin' At Your Back Door
Guitar Solo
Anyone's Daughter
Child in Time
The Battle Rages On
When a Blind Man Cries
Drum Solo
Space Truckin'
Woman from Tokyo
Paint it Black !
Speed King (encore)
Smoke on the Water (encore)

@ - Song ended with "Into the Fire"
* - Misannounced by Ian Gillan as Fireball
! - Song ended with instrumental from "Mandrake Root"

Purple's set ran from 9:15 to 11:30. Quite surprising that we got a 2 Hour set from them. I was under the impression that they were one of these 90 minute live acts. [Haven't you read the live reviews in alt.music.deep-purple? ;-) - Trond]


Ian Gillan came out wearing this weird flower type shirt. If you've seen the Black Sabbath Story Part 2, where they interview Ian, it's somewhat similar to that, except that this one had way more flowers on it. He was also wearing black, very baggy pants. He looked pretty much like he did on the Sabbath tape, which was the last time I saw him anywhere. This was the second time I saw Ian live; the first time with Purple. I saw him with Black Sabbath back in November of 1983, and I have to say that I was very disappointed in him then. It seemed (to me, anyway) that he was reading most of his lyrics off sheets on the floor. I can't prove that, but it's the impression I got. I've also heard many stories about his vocals since then, and the general impression seems to be that the Born Again album/tour was the last time that Ian really gave a performance worthy of his classic 70's voice. Well, I have to say that the show in Corpus Christi in 1994 was damn excellent. During several tunes, (Child in Time, especially) he showed that he can still wail it out. The scream was there! Obviously, he can't do what he could do back in 72, but I was very surprised to see him really give it his all. It showed. A lot. There were a few negative things about Ian, however. He misannounced a song, and on about 2 or 3 times, he forgot what song was coming next. He also flubbed a few songs' lyrics. The only one that comes to mind now is Perfect Strangers, but I know he blew it on a couple of others. His hair was also long again. It wasn't quite the length it was during his tenure in Black Sabbath, but it was most definitely long. Long enough to do his old head bobbing, hair flying thing he used to do. It was augmented during several songs with strobe lights from behind the band. However, the vocal flubs really minor compared to the fact that he really put on a rather stellar performance as far as I was concerned.


I'll probably get in a lot of trouble over this, but Roger's never been one of my favorite bassists. He's more than competent, but he's never set the world on fire for me. However, he too really seemed to be into this concert, as did the rest of the band. Roger looks like he hasn't changed much since the last time I saw anything of him, which were the music videos that were recorded for "House of Blue Light" (Yeah, I know, I'm out of touch). Roger was wearing jeans, and a non-descript shirt. He was wearing a Grateful Dead Baseball Cap, however. He seemed to smile rather a lot, and really seemed like he was having a good time. Sung with Ian a few times (not into a mike). Don't really know what to say here! :)


Same as Roger to me. Ian's drumming has caught my attention more than Roger's playing has, but he's not one that I paid much attention to. On the plus side, I cannot stand drum solos during concerts. The vast majority of them bore me to death. This one was rather good. I enjoyed it, and it was one of the few parts of the concert where there was any audience participation. Couldn't tell what he was wearing, since he was behind drums, but he was wearing a blue bandanna on his head. Again, like Roger, he didn't look like he aged much from the last time I saw him (again the Blue Light videos).


Jon's always been one of my favorite Purple people. (ugh) So much so, that I'm thoroughly convinced that he's the ONLY thing that kept the Slaves and Masters CD from being a Rainbow CD. Jon's playing has always impressed me, and this concert was no let down. However, the one thing that totally shocked me about Jon Lord was how *OLD* he looked! I couldn't believe it. I mean, I know the band is getting on, but this was more than I was expecting! If anyone watches George Carlin's current television show, imagine George a bit heavier, with dark black sunglasses on, and you got what Jon looked like at this show. Several times, I had to remind myself that it was him, since he really didn't look like himself to me. However, his playing seems not to have suffered at all. I rather enjoyed his playing, and he had some really good interplay with Ian and Steve Morse at times. The band did a really killer version of Speed King as a first encore, and Jon's playing along with some fantastic playing off of Steve Morse really made this a great song. Jon's solo seemed a bit programmed (I had heard most of it before on Nobody's Perfect), but that didn't reduce it's enjoyment to me. He smiled a lot, and really got into his playing, still shaking the keyboards around, and not just being a toad and standing there playing. He was being acrobatic with multiple keyboards, and the like. Really enjoyed his performance, probably almost as much as Ian's. Top notch stuff.


Well, I'm not quite sure what to say about Steve. I really wasn't sure how he'd fit in. Purple has always had this certain "guitar sound", and that's mainly due to Ritchie. Satch was kind of a weird choice too, and I'm not very familiar with Bolin's playing to comment. Anyway, Steve put on a valiant effort to copy Ritchie. I'm no technical person when it comes to describing methods used to play (my friend Steve Quarrella could probably elaborate on this a bit more). However, his playing was not bad by any stretch of the imagination. I suppose Morse played best when he wasn't trying to precisely duplicate Ritchie. There were a few songs (Anya comes to mind) where he missed notes during the song. It could just be rearrangement of tunes that a lot of bands do live. There were several places where Steve shone a lot. One of the really bright high points was the previously mentioned Speed King. This song was done brutally good, and Steve was a big part of it. There were a few times where Steve seemed to kind of shy away from the band, like he was over in a corner or something, but for the most of the concert, he was smiling with the guys, and really having fun getting out there and playing. Assuming this was his first ever live performance with the band [it wasn't. -Trond], I could understand his actions. Unfortunately, for him, there wasn't much chance to be expressive, since he was essentially playing Ritchie's music. He did have a solo, and there were several songs where they were longer than they normally are. I'm not the biggest Kansas fan, so it's quite possible that he snuck in some obscure Kansas riffs, and I didn't know it. Overall, he did a very good job. If Purple were to carry on with Steve Morse on guitar, it wouldn't be a bad thing. However, when I think of Deep Purple, Steve Morse does not come to mind. This wouldn't be bad, since he can play Ritchie's stuff well enough, but I think he'd need time to develop his own identity in the band. One other thing. Steve Morse was not introduced by the band at all. His name was never mentioned. I know what Satch looks like, and it was most definitely NOT him. When I got home, I looked at the most recent Kansas album I had (1986's Power), and looked for his picture. This was most definitely Steve Morse (or someone who looked exactly like him! :)


My friends at work thought I was nuts to drive 700 miles or so to see a band like Deep Purple. However, if this is the only time I get to see them, I can go away saying I saw them once, and I saw a really good show. I was concerned that I would travel so far, and would get a band going through the motions, or Ian giving another flat performance, or generally being disappointed. I was not. It was very very much a good performance from a band that still seems like they have a lot to give. Their studio work has been very uneven since they got together back again in the early/mid 80's. They've had some really killer stuff, to some really awful stuff (can anyone say "Breakfast in Bed?"). I was expecting to see a really washed up old bunch of farts from the 70's who couldn't cut it anymore. I was really really surprised to see that's what I didn't get. Ian's scream was back (well, most of the way; he's not 25!). Not having a frame of reference to judge this concert against (this was the first time ever I saw Purple), I can't accurately judge whether or not this was truly a killer performance, or if this was just me finally seeing a band I've never seen before. Some of my favorite songs they did were Speed King (My God, this was good), Perfect Strangers, Anya, & Battle Rages On. Not surprisingly, the biggest audience response was from Smoke. <yawn> The other tune that got a lot of the audience going was Perfect Strangers. Ian's hair thing in the strobe light for this was really cool. I'm not an early Purple fan, so the two obscure tunes (When a Blind Man Cries & Anyone's Daughter) didn't do much for me, but they were good tunes nonethless. All things put aside, I had a really fun time seeing a band I enjoyed a lot. Only problem now is that I want to see them again!


I saw one person there with a video camera who didn't look like he was with anyone official. There might be a video boot of this floating around sooner or later. I didn't tape this, but it wouldn't surprise me if someone did. The security booths at the front had several people there who had metal detectors (the hand held jobs), and they searched everyone, but it wasn't the most thorough search I've ever seen. Everyone was standing on tables once the show started, which blew for me, since the first 4 or 5 songs, I couldn't see much due to too many people. However, some ass realized that he could make hand puppet shapes in the spotlight on Jon Lord's head. Needless to say, once this was shown, several JohnnyLand people came out, and removed all the tables from the middle of the arena. This was good for me, since I could now see! Ian Gillan stated that this was the first of a 3 day mini-tour. They didn't say anything about why they were here, but my personal speculation is that these three dates were either contractual obligation concerts, a chance to see if they could get on with Steve Morse as a band (for a possible continuation), or both of the above. The stuff for sale was fairly minimal. There was a baseball cap with "Deep Purple" (in Purple) on the front, and the 1980's "DP" logo thing on the back. The T-Shirt for sale had the Machine Head album cover on the front, and the 80's "DP" logo on the back. There was a sweatshirt (with hood) that was all black, with "Battle Rages On" art on the front, and some stuff down the sleeves that I'm not sure what it was. Steve Quarrella bought one, so he could tell you better than I.

Bottom line... Very good concert by a band who surprised me. Well worth the long trip to see them, and I hope they continue. Their studio work may be spotty anymore, but they can still kick it out live. Great show.

Joe Siegler - Apogee Software

Back to reviews