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Okay, I went to last night’s (September 15) Deep Purple concert totally straight so let’s see how much of it I can recall.

One thought I had was, “Damn, there are sure a lot of OLD long hairs here. Almost feel like I’m at a near geriatric war protest. Where did they come from?”

After the usual buildup of tension and anticipation (for the concert to start not from expecting one or more of the old long hairs to stroke out.) the hall went dark except parts of the stage. Then a pre-recorded fanfare started playing and building up as the band came on stage blending with the music and emerging headlong into “Highway Star”…great opening tune.

First thing I noticed was, “Holy shit! I forgot Ian Paice was a left handed drummer playing a kit setup for lefties. I mean Ringo is left handed but plays a right handed drum set.

So Paice is a rarity because I can’t think of anyone else who plays a left handed drum set and I’m pretty good at Rock Trivia if I must say so myself.

Anyway, the band segued from into “Apres Vous,” “Hard Loving Man” and finished with “Strange Kind of Woman” before they even said hello.

After the hellos they played a whimsical “Vincent Price” followed by “Contact Lost” and then “Uncommon Man.”

“The Well-Dressed Guitar” featured Steve Morse by himself for most of the song which sort of evokes Santana’s “Europa.” I gotta confess that it was so beautiful that tears came to my eyes. Sometimes…sometimes things in this world are so beautiful that you just gotta cry.

Let me say this about Steve Morse, the guitar player who took over after Ritchie Blackmore’s final exit and Don Airey, who took over the ivories when Jon Lord retired. These guys aren’t just replacements; they are fully integral parts of the longest incarnation of Deep Purple.

They aren’t clones of those who left but they showed they could do Blackmore’s and Lord’s parts note for note while bringing their own talents to bear. Steve Morse has a background that includes country, swing, jazz and, gulp, fusion. Some of you may remember when he played that FrankenTele with the Dixie Dregs. He totally shreds and is smoooooth. DAMN. And he clearly is enjoying himself. doing call and response challenges with Ian Gillan who loves scat singing.

He’d do the same thing with Don Airey and they clearly had fun challenging each other. Airey brings a pop or rock influence to his playing where Jon Lord used to have you feel like you were being blown out of a cathedral during the classical period..

Right after “The Well Dressed Guitar, Ian Paice got his drum solo during “The Mule.” Then they played “Lazy,” “Hell to Pay,” a keyboard improv by Airey. Then they finished with “Perfect Strangers,” “Space Truckin'” and yep, “Smoke on the Water.”

We called them back for an encore of “Hush” and finally “Black Night.”

I was worn out after that. The show was eminently satisfying.It is in the top 5 concerts that I’ve ever seen and as they left the stage at last I just yelled “THANK YOU DEEP PURPLE.” And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

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