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Deep Purple

Live in Portland, Oregon, September 2019

Review by Larry Toering

Of all the Deep Purple tours of America in the past 15 years, this is only the second actual headlining tour I can think of, as I’ve attended all of them myself. Live Nation brings this one with mixed results going in on paper for any major die-hard fan like myself. And Deep Purple tours over here are more often like that than not, because of the classic rock market. However, I was able to overcome that after letting it get to me over-studying it before they got to the Keller Auditorium in Portland.
It does not matter what they play but how they play it. On this night I was able to hear the band, particularly Ian Gillan’s voice and Steve Morse’s guitar tone, as I have never heard them, so I never thought they could sound so good. It has-to be down to the choice of venue working out for them because I am as big a critic as I am a fan, especially of Ian Gillan, and I have-to admit like some other local die-hards I was worried going in. I was concerned that even the curious bunch in the house would complain about their age or something.


Larry Toering
 
Larry Toering
 
Larry Toering
There was not a flaw to be heard in the sound, and that also rings true on their last two albums. It could also be that they’re playing all good-sounding venues on this tour on purpose, to be represented right just like on their latest albums with Bob Ezrin producing. It must be the case that demand for superior mixing is in order, because it actually-is, and it makes all the difference just like said albums do. For me, their live game is upped on this tour because of that, to the tune of enormous satisfaction. 


Larry Toering
 
Larry Toering
 
Larry Toering
The prog songs from the last two albums are, for me, what also makes this concert and dominates the set with a modern brilliance while putting too many straight-forward classics in the set burns it out and kills the freshness. They could’ve even used one or two more of these full-on prog tunes, either added or exchanged for classics I care less about seeing for the who-knows-how-many time. But I have digressed since reflecting on that night, because once again the sound made up for anything and everything. It even made up for shows of the past.

Larry Toering
 
Larry Toering
 
Larry Toering
Deep Purple are alive and well. Don’t let anyone tell you they aren’t, just because they play this choice of songs, because they sound better than ever. So there is a lot more to it than meets the eyes when they meet your ears on this tour of intimate theaters with state of the art sound.

Larry Toering
 
Larry Toering
 
Larry Toering
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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