[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Deep Purple w/Guiffria
Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri
Feb. 13th 1985

Having been a Purple fan for almost 15 years at the time, and having NEVER seen the band, to say I was pumped up for the show would be an understatement! I had caught Rainbow in 78' & Whitesnake in 80', but those shows just made me thirst for the real thing! My friend Shawn and I took off work the day tickets went on sale and stood in knee deep snow for 3 hours to get good seats. After freezing for the entire time, we got inside to discover that all the floor seats were gone, but got some good seats in the 1st balcony.

Satisfied with our score, we went home. About a month later, just a week before the show, a local radio station started advertising a contest to win an autographed Stratocaster (signed by RB and the rest of the band). You had to be the 1st caller to recognise a DP song to register. If you were the 1st to recognise 2 DP songs you automatically won two tickets to the show. Two nights before the show, they played Space Truckin'. I was on the phone right away. By the time I got thru to the station, they began Gypsy's Kiss. When they answered, I told them they were playing the 2nd Dp song. They told me I had won two tickets.When I asked where they were, they said FRONT ROW!

I was stunned. The night of the show, we got down to the arena and were escorted to seats right between Gillan and Glover's stage areas. Unbelieveable! I won't bore you with a review of Guiffria. Boring pomp-rock.

After an eternity, the lights went down. The roar of the crowd was deafening! A little green light danced around the screen at the back of the stage as a familiar drum beat and bass line came blasting out of the PA. As the volume grew, the little light turned into the logo from the Perfect Strangers Lp. The house lights blasted on and the crowd roared as Blackmore, Glover and Lord came onto the stage. I didn't believe the reunion was going to happen until that moment. Even then, where was Gillan?

Suddenly, right before the vocal cue, he bounded out of the wings and grabbed the mikestand. Nobody's gonna...... I had tears rolling down my face. This was like a dream. After years of feuding and denying reunion rumours, here they were! Track after track they shot back and forth from the classic 70's material to Perfect Strangers songs. What Blackmore/Gillan feud? They exchanged smiles and talked between songs like brothers. Several times when RB was soloing Ian ran across the stage and slammed into him, laughing the whole time. Other times, Ian was trying to sing and Blackmore ran up and pushed him from the mic with a smile on his face. There wasn't a trace of hostility the entire night.

Ritchie and Jon stood across stage from each other battling it out as each tried to outdo the other. Little Ian drove the band from behind his kit, flawless in his performance. Blackmore performed a magnificent solo-spot, bathed in the swirling green lights of the lasers. He went from volume-swells, to classical licks, to blues and sheer fret shredding as the green lasers formed a cone around him. I have never heard him play like this, before or since.

During Difficult To Cure, the lasers formed an image of Beethoven, who directed the band like a conductor, giving dirty looks to RB as he soloed like a demon! The back drop changed to the In Rock cover and the crowd cheered as Child In Time started. After a monster version(and a stunned silence), the crowd exploded and lighters were everywhere, illuminating the entire arena.

This was a band re-born in every sense. All five members looked like they enjoyed every minute of what they were doing. The show ran almost 2 hours before the encores! Black Night and Smoke ended the night. The set list was almost identical to the Knebworth Cd except they played Under The Gun, Child In Time and didn't play Speed King. Anyway, they blew out my left eardrum and I didn't sleep for days, but it was the best concert I've ever seen.

Jim Collins

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