Purple - Monte
Carlo, August 24-26th 2001
Olga Davydova travelled from Moscow to attend the three shows at the Sporting Club's Salle Des Ètoiles ('Hall Of The Stars') in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
"There were no tickets. People simply presented themselves to the doorman, who checked through a list and let them in if their names were on it. They were also obliged to wear evening dress, otherwise they wouldn't be allowed in. For the first time in my life I had to wear an evening gown and heels to a rock concert! The Salle Des Ètoiles (which comes complete with its own little casino) is very beautiful, with twinkling light bulbs on the walls making it look like a night sky full of stars. It's a circular building with large arch openings opposite the stage facing the sea. Therefore Purple's shows could almost be described as open-air.
Inside the venue (which held an audience of around 500), tables had been laid for a dinner which began two hours before the show, and thankfully finished just before Deep Purple took to the stage at 11pm. The opening acts were very strange. A restaurant-type jazz band provided background music to the meal, there were a couple of circus performers, and on the second night cabaret dancers. Purple were not dressed at all formally, Gillan even performed barefoot. Their shows had no encores - everything was fitted into an hour-long set. Another odd thing was that Gillan performed without his famous congas. Apparently the stage was too small to fit them on! Right from the beginning of the first night's show people were throwing the flowers from their tables onto the stage, much to the bemusement of the band.
During "Perfect Strangers" the crowd were dancing among the tables and waving their napkins in the air. Just before "Lazy" Gillan explained why they were without Jon Lord, and introduced Don Airey, who by the way did a brilliant job. His organ solo before "Perfect Strangers" was great. After "Highway Star" the evening's entertainment was rounded off with a spectacular firework display.
The audience was, if anything, even more enthusiastic on the second night, but on the 26th, despite it being the best performance of the lot, it took until the opening blast of "Smoke on the Water" for the place to really come to life. Overall the three shows were huge successes, and completely sold out. In fact the band could have sold out more nights in Monaco if they had wanted."