I had the pleasure of meeting the members of Deep Purple (most of them, anyway) back on August 19, after watching them performe at the Molson Ampthieater in Toronto.
First off, the concert was just great. The band played for about 1:40. The set list is provided below, along with some of Ian Gillan's banter about the songs:
Strange Kind of Woman ("Never did figure that one out")
Ted the Mechanic
Pictures of Home
Almost Human ("I feel that way around noon.")
Ted the Mechanic (Note, I'm not sure where they fit it in the set)
Woman from Tokyo ("It's not about a woman")
Watching the Sky
Steve Morse Solo / Jam
Smoke on the Water
Jon Lord Solo / Lazy
Perfect Strangers ("A song from long ago, but not that long ago")
Speed King ("A Spanish/Scottish lullaby")
Encore: Any Fule Kno That, and Highway Star
Being not far from the stage, of course, meant that I was blasted with a solid wall of noise. Everything louder than everything else indeed. Deep Purple never sounded heavier (or better) than that night. Only one encore was played, because, as I was told later backstage by Roger, Ian was still recovering from a cold. Not that I could tell the difference, because he sounded great. "Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank you!" he screamed all of 40 times that night.
I especially enjoyed the interplay between Lord and Morse. All five were all in fine form that night, and there was no on-stage bickering or rivalry of any kind. Just seamless execution of classics old and new.
Now, after the show, and before I went backstage, I spent a few minutes at the door talking to an older white-haired gent. I told him the show seemed to go by so fast, and I would readily have stayed for more. He responded by telling me it was the first Deep Purple concert he ever paid for, and how he toured with them for years as a roadie/engineer, and had their set list tatooed in his brain. He then told me something about the ABC TV broadcast California Jamming (April 1974), which eventually led to a discussion on how Ritchie Blackmore smashed his guitar into the camera, and also the availability of the video in North America.
His name is Mark Phillips, and he gave me his business card. As he didn't have permission to go backstage, he left. But later, I gave the card to Roger, having no use for it myself. Too bad I didn't scrawl down his Internet address for future reference. "You know who this is, right?", he replied.
Anyway, there were about 40 fans backstage, and first to meet them was Roger, and then Steve. Roger was a real gentleman, and was friendly and talkative to everybody. "I heard you got the WDWTWA master tapes. So, is the world ready for 'Smelly Botty'?", I asked. "How did you find about that", he replied, before rattling off some lyrics from the song, which I forgot. I thanked him for the great show all of them gave, and had him sign all of three CD's (the Morse-era Purple), including Live at the Olympia, and the last two studios.
Next out was Ian Gillan. When I met him, he seemed a bit distracted, but was nice enough to sign my CD books as well. "I have all of your CD's, and even your rap album." "Rap album?". "The one you did with the Ray Sillengaard and the Bolland brothers." "It's out? I haven't even heard the demo tapes. How is it?" "They released it in Japan last year. I don't know what to make of it. Too bad I didn't bring it." Well, that's my Ian Gillan story. He also signed my copy of Dreamcatcher, along with my DP CD's.
Paicey was there, and like Roger and Steve, was very friendly, and easygoing. "If your arms aren't too tired, could you sign these for me?". "Sure." What a great guy.
Last to meet was Steve. I told him how much I liked the show, and how much I like the current lineup, and how special it was that he was part of it. When it came time to sign my CD programs, I inadvertently included Dreamcatcher (the Gillan solo). "Oh, sorry, you aren't on it." "But it does have Steve Morris", was his answer.
Jon Lord stayed on the bus, so I didn't get to meet him. Oh well. For the next few days, I showed off the booty to friends and co-workers, and listened to Live at the Olympia, all of about three times, easily one of my favorite DP live sets (I have about 17 or so, including variants). All in all a great experience, a get together with the band and its fans. I'll remember it for a long time.
"And if you hear me talking on the wind
You've got to understand
We must remain perfect strangers."
--Perfect Strangers (Blackmore/Glover/Gillan)