|Smoke on the Water
|By:- Prannoy / Ringo *
Came to India for the first time in Bombay/Delhi in 1995, with lots of media coverage following them, they performed beyond expectations. Even members of legendary pioneer bands of Manipur were also part of the crowd that filled Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in April '95.
You ended up bumping to them, looking up in surprise and say to yourself - "Oh, even these greats are here to watch the Gods perform". There were hard core Ritchie Blackmore's fans that sported T-Shirts that read "Missin' you Ritchie".
It's been five decades that they have been rockin' the world over - one of the longest-lived rock bands; though they are in their sixties still they are never too old to Rock 'n' Roll. They enthralled Bangalore last Sunday, playing a collection of new numbers and old anthems.
Two long hours of head banging and trying to scream on par with Ian Gillan's powerful vocals, made us sweat out and grasp for breath. Many long distance calls were made to Imphal, Delhi, Belgaum... and mobile phones were kept online to let die-hard hard rock buddies hear and get a feeling of the sound of the Gods.
Ian Gillian's voice was still intact; Ian Paice gave his drum solo with complete ease and smiles; winter jackets and jeans pants fluttered to the sound wave of Don Airey's keyboard solo works with heavy bass.
Steve Morse's guitar solos included the instrumental "Contact Lost", which he dedicated to the astronauts of Columbia, especially to Kalpana Chawla, for she was a huge fan of Deep Purple. She even carried Deep Purple CDs into space, and woke up every morning in the space shuttle to the piercing sounds of Space Truckin', a song from their 1972 album 'Machine Head'.
We've rocked the Milky Way so far
The old but the most energetic on stage, Mr Roger Glover, did his solo act too on his bass guitar and from somewhere in between, the intro of "Black Night" erupted making the crowd go ecstatic. It was one real great night for the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal fans.
"Smoke on the Water....
This may be one of the earliest lines of a hard rock song one might have learnt, or at least the three-chorded intro riff of the song that's not quite hard to identify. And to be blessed by the legendary rock outfit who themselves wrote the hard-rock anthem...definitely a delicious treat!!!
Sunday, 17th Dec '06 - It was a clear day. No sign of rain and it was neither cold nor hot, a typical Bangalore day. I saw a long queue at the ticket counter when I passed the venue in early afternoon. I have well guessed that the venue would be comfortably packed during the show.
I reached the venue at 5.00 p.m. I already had a ticket since I could not afford to miss Deep Purple this time (this was the fourth time they came to India). The gates were to open only at 5.30 p.m. I could see a crowd from all age groups, students, musicians, IT professionals, etc. ready to take the blessings of the Gods of Rock themselves.
The show started at around 6.45 p.m. with the local act, a former Christ College band, Galeej Gurus churning out a lively, heavy-shredded list combination of their original tracks such as "Full Meals by the Wayside" which pulled in the crowd to sing along setting the right mood for the purple night, and covers from bands like AC/DC, Red Hot Chili Peppers etc. At the end of their set, they left the city prepared for the upcoming assault of Deep Purple
I personally did not expect much from the current line-up of the band since the departure of the two backbones of the band, viz. Ritchie Blackmore, the guitar maestro and Jon Lord, the keyboardist. Nevertheless, the new ones filled in their shoes well.
Steve Morse, was the only name that the remaining members of the band agreed upon after Blackmore's exit (though they hired Joe Satriani to tour with them in the meantime). And Don Airey (former Ozzy and Rainbow) was a perfect name to succeed the title of 'The Lord of Keyboard' from Jon Lord. The new line-up delivered the show as beautifully as Deep Purple Mark II (during the presence of the two giants) would have done.
It reminded me of those good ol' days of rock in Manipur where bands like Phoenix, Cannibals, Dark Crusaders etc. would perform these tracks and would charm us by their sheer talents. But tonight, it's a different kind of experience. I was experiencing the maestros themselves performing, the ones who composed and sang the songs mentioned above!!
Steve Morse started of with a bluesy riff (or groove??) and continued to wow the crowd with subtle but powerful progressive scales. His solo even included parts of famous songs like AC/DC's 'Back in Black' and G'N'R's 'Sweet Child O' Mine'.
Don Airey started his keyboard solo with one of his very famous piece, which he used as the intro of the Ozzy Osbourne classic, 'Mr. Crowley'. Then he went on to play pieces from Mozart, Star Wars, etc.
The band fooled the crowd after delivering 'Smoke on the Water' by pretending it as the end of the concert, leaving the audience asking for more. There were encores heard from every angle at the ground of Cathedral High. They came back, they played 'Hush', and with 'Blacknight' as the final song they wound up the evening's show.
The crowd left happily as they got blessed by the Gods of Rock. It was truly an unmatched experience which we will cherish all throughout our lives.
Pranoy Ayekpam and Ringo Pebam are Bangalore based hard rock enthusiasts; they can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively. Ringo Pebam contributes to e-pao.net regularly.
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