"Although Deep Purple have become regulars on the Russia tour circuit, it was only their second time in Minsk, Belarus (the first one was way back in 2000). So the place was packed and the show was eagerly anticpated.
They kicked off with ‘Highway Star’ which included guitar licks closer to the original studio version than I’ve ever heard live not only from Morse, but maybe even from Blackmore! ‘Hard Lovin’ Man’ followed, a real monster on the loose, which has been waiting to be dusted down for decades – it got a great reaction from the crowd. Other highlights included ‘Strange Kind Of Woman’, an almighty performance of ‘Space Truckin’ with thunderous drum work from Paicey, and ‘Hush’. It was nice to see how the Mk track fitted in. The biggest surprise (besides the absence of a drum solo!) was an instrumental version of ‘Goin’ Down’ (!) which stunned everyone who realised its significance.
Two more recent songs – ‘Rapture Of The Deep’ and ‘Silver Tongue’ were met with a predictably colder reaction, although both deserved a bigger cheer. ‘Almost Human’ was possibly the low point of the show. The best track from the ‘Abandon’ album (if we agree that ‘best’ means ‘as close to the classic sound as possible’), it turned out rather pale and lightweight.
Gillan (what a relief!) was OK. His voice was good, although he struggled at times. He was just amazing on harmonica during ‘Lazy’!
Five out of seven songs from ‘Made In Japan’ plus lots of other fine stuff, performed in a non-stop two-hour show. What more could one dare to ask for?
Set list: Highway Star / Hard Lovin’ Man / Maybe I’m A Leo / Strange Kind Of Woman / Rapture Of The Deep / Silver Tongue / Contact Lost / When A Blind Man Cries / Well Dressed Guitar / Almost Human / Lazy (keyboard intro – Don Airey) / No One Came / Keyboard Solo / Perfect Strangers / Space Truckin’ / Smoke On The Water (guitar intro – Steve Morse) / Goin’ Down / Hush / Bass Solo / Black Night
P.S.: I think we all local fans must give our deepest heartfelt thanks to Roger Glover. It was cold outside, but he devoted a significant part of his free pre-gig time signing items and having his picture taken with fans.