La Cubierta Bullring in LeganÚs, Madrid
25th October 2003

What a show! I've already seen them back in 1999 and 2000... but this has been the best by a long shot. Even the afternoon after the concert we were still excited and talking about how good it had been! But back to rainy Saturday night...

My only worry before the gig started was how well would Gillan do... will he be in shape, I wondered... The bullring was packed to capacity, and to rapturous applause the band made their way onstage... The stage was still dimly lit, and Paice started little by little (much to my delight) to do the familiar intro to Highway Star, while stage left Roger was doodling on the upper register just before playing that famous scale which leads him to the low G... They were getting increasingly louder and building up tension... and Morse started his "engine" noises... .." I tell you, the beginning of the song seemed much longer than usual to me, so you can tell how masterfully they were building up tension. And then big Ian, (who had been wandering around the stage, waving and smiling), right in the middle of the "crescendo" and before he was even supposed to start singing, got to the mike, looked around as if he couldn't contain himself any longer, and greeted us with a long, stunning "YYYEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!" that made the whole audience roar in approval... All my doubts flew out of the window... It really was a moment to witness... Paicey did his familiar fill... then those 2 crashing chords... the lights came on, the whole stage was illuminated and all the audience started screaming "Nobody gonna take my car...!" along with Mighty Ian... Too much, I tell you... They couldn't have chosen a better way to start...

This time around, Morse didn't do many long solos, only a couple solo spots which were pretty and effective... I only wish Paicey's solo would have been longer, and Airey's a bit shorter. I really liked Don Airey, though... I already knew he was good... but he is brilliant! And he never stands still... always moving about and looking like he's having a good time... Alright, it's still not the same as watching Jon (who, besides his personal style, always impressed me by his mere physical presence... "Wow... it's Jon Lord up there...!"), but Airey is way more than capable of filling Jon's shoes playing with the band... The rest of the guys played brilliantly too... lots of interaction and smiles all round, they really looked like they were having a good time...

It was an amazing, hugely enjoyable show...! From "Bananas" they played Silver Tongue (to which they added a little section for solos...), I Got Your Number (powerful), Haunted (ok) and House Of Pain (this one really rocks live...)... They also played The Well Dressed Guitar, with Airey ably filling in the gaps... although, as much as I like it, I could have done without this one.... And then, you know, the usual old stuff... Hush, Lazy, and a thunderous Space Trucking... No matter how tired I might get of Smoke On The Water, whenever it's played live, I sing along and enjoy it like you wouldn't believe...!

I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to hear Bananas, Sun Goes Down or Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, though... And I would have welcomed Mary Long or Fools... but obviously we can't have everything, can we? But really... it was a GREAT concert... I enjoyed it no end and I totally recommend whoever gets to read this to go see them! They are in top form... Don't hesitate... Go see them!

review: Javier De Las Heras

deep purple 2003 reviews