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Going Deep Over

Deep Purple’s New Tour

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Vocalist, Ian Gillan. Images by JayBeeEm Photography, LLC.
Take A Trip Down Memory Lane And Then Back To The Future With The Original Highway Stars Who Bring To The Stage Some Of The Most Recognizable Riffs In Rock

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By Joe Lopez
Modern Times Magazine

Aug. 8, 2014 — When I heard Deep Purple was coming to the Phoenix metro, I was at first a bit apprehensive.

After all, I had so many great memories after seeing them umpteen times throughout my life. But later, I relented. Maybe my apprehension was due to the KISS fiasco I witnessed. It would have been more than this man could take to see another legendary band fall from grace within a week.

However, enter Now What? the latest opus of the Purple ones. It is there best in decades and they are not afraid to show it. Producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss, Alice Cooper) gave them a great sound with this project.

At the start of the band’s Phoenix appearance, there was a classically-tinged introduction worthy of Rock Royalty. Then, the band swirled nonstop through some golden oldies that would have surprised some. First off, a blazing “Highway Star” complete with Ian Gillan in shades.

They then segued into “Into the Fire” and “Hard Lovin’ Man.” At this point, I feel that Ian has silenced the punters who doubt him. The man was singing fantastic and while the 1970s screams are at a minimum, Ian was bringing it.

Touche.

Next up was a playful, “Strange Kind of Woman.” Steve Morse and Ian performed some sparring notes. Not afraid to chance new material, the band then played “Vincent Price,” which goes over well. The crowd was still standing. Each member was given ample time to flex their musical muscles as Steve Morse did with “Contact Lost.” “The Mule,” featured Ian Paice at his best:  hard-hitting, staccato-styled drumming. His sound is distinct.

Another gem from Now What? was featured: a tune written to the memory of Jon Lord, “Uncommon Man.” It is full of pomp and majesty, this one. Again, the crowd showed the same enthusiasm as with the older numbers. Airey tickled the ivories into “Lazy” complete with Gillan on harmonica. Then another newbie, “Hell to Pay.”  After a great solo from Don Airey, the awesome “Perfect Strangers” echoed.

The crowd roared. It was plain to see this is a fave. Onto “Space Truckin,” then the best known riff in rock, “Smoke on the Water.”

Then the stage emptied. Only to keep it light they returned to play “Green Onions” while melding into “Hush.” The final tune, “Black Night,” had the audience participating.

While leaving the venue I pondered how they still do it and how they managed to be the best show I have been to this Summer.

And I have been to many.

Deep Purple, so far, hasn’t gotten too old to rock.

Joe Lopez from the Phoenix metro.
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