Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Made In Japan

Deep Purple
Mountain Winery, Saratoga, California
August 13, 2014

Yes, I'm behind with updating this space... but sometimes real life interrupts things and you have to take a break.  Hopefully the following show rant won't seem too stale after several weeks.

For the newbies, Saratoga is Silicon Valley 1% territory.  Example:  We were running late and decided to get something to eat in downtown Saratoga before heading up the hill to the winery.  After parking I asked a local Saratoga man walking his Saratoga dog if there was a Saratoga burger place where we could get something to eat.  His immediate response, and I am not making this up, was "Burgers aren't really a Saratoga thing..."  HE ACTUALLY SAID THAT!  The Saratoga man then said there might be a burger at a place at the end of the block... but when we checked it out the place literally had a $40 (forty dollar) burger on their menu.  Pass.  Then, almost immediately after this, an SUV of young Saratoga dudes stopped before making a right hand turn.  They noticed my Motörhead t-shirt and the young Saratoga dude in the passenger seat immediately, and I am not making this up, started singing "Motörhead..." to the chorus from the Night Ranger song 'Sister Christian' before they drove away.  Think about it...  I. Am. Not. Making. This. Up..  Sometimes this blog writes itself, man.  A dubious start to the night, right?

Anyway, long story short:  I had vowed never to attend another winery show after my last one a year ago.  However, the Rock Godz work in mysterious ways... and if only all shows were this easy:

I was put off that the intimate venue was only around half full... but as soon as the band started it didn't matter.  Purple opened with 'Highway Star' and for most of their 90 minute set I was entranced.  Ian Gillan had to work hard but he sounded great.. Don Airey is on keys in place of the late Jon Lord (R.I.P.) and he played an old school setup and even threw in a snippet of his 'Mr. Crowley' intro at one point.  Nicely done.  Steve Morse is still the weak link in this lineup but I suppose no one will ever completely fill Ritchie Blackmore's shoes in this band.  His guitar styling simply don't fit the classic Deep Purple sound... However, watching Roger Glover and Ian Paice dig into their rhythm section groove more than made up for any nitpicking. Glover & Paice:  The greatest original rhythm section still going IMO.  Discuss amongst yourselves.

As I said a moment ago, the venue was half full or half empty depending on how you looked at it... and Umlaut had a private rock row the entire night. 

Although I am not a musician, watching Ian Paice play again made me realize how "technique" is not something most post-20th Century drummers have.  Like most drummers of his generation he comes from a Jazz background... something that was lost to anyone born after 1970.  As overplayed as 'Smoke On The Water' is I still love when Paice's hi-hat part kicks in at the beginning.  He's still one of my favorite drummers... and still no drum riser. 

[Shitty pic courtesy of Umlaut's iPhone]

The versions of 'Strange Kind Of Woman' and 'Lazy' were really good tonight but my fave part was 'Woman From Tokyo' into 'Hush' to start the encore.  A crew guy said later that 'Woman From Tokyo' hadn't been in the setlist on this tour... which was special... and I was reminded how the song's drum intro was lifted by Maiden for 'Run To The Hills'.. or maybe it was a "homage".  After the show this happened:

Not Lars Ulrich

Ian Paice... who offered me a German beer.  You can't tell from this pic but my Inner Teenage Metalhead was losing his mind meeting him.  I guess the younger generation feels the same way about Lars... I guess.

Thanks to English Bob for the hook up.  If you bought one of every Deep Purple merch item you would have paid around $300.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags.  As good as Purple were on this night in 1% Saratoga, I was reminded how the majority of even "Rock Music Fans" only know the band for that one song with the riff that everyone has learned how to play on guitar... which is sad.  Listen to the Made In Japan album... right now.