Deep Purple with Joe Satriani and Thin Lizzy at Molson Amphitheatre, August 21. Tickets: $10-$49.50. Attendance: 15,000. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Promoters, please - if the doors open at the same time the opening set starts, say so. I got to the Deep Purple show 15 minutes after the Molson Amphitheatre 's gates parted and missed the bulk of the reconstituted Thin Lizzy 's sunlight-lit set, catching only Cowboy Song and The Boys Are Back In Town.
They were well received and sounded good. Guitarist John Sykes 's vocals filled in for the deceased Phil Lynott adeptly, but without the aforementioned band linchpin they looked noticeably more like Spinal Tap.
And why not have Joe Satriani start the show instead? Admittedly, he's a respected veteran who held the crowd's nutsack in a pleasurable vicegrip for his long-ass set of guitaric riffing. But I like Thin Lizzy songs better, so they should be first.
Also, Satriani's sunglasses would have been more useful during earlier, sunnier parts of the day. The hairy-armed axe wizard wasn't bad at all, but his set of rarely vocal-backed guitar pieces at times felt long. He ended recognizably with Surfing With The Alien and all were pleased, from the guy with the beard in the Deep Purple shirt to the Canadian-tuxedo'd couple who also wore a Deep Purple shirt.
Purps, as they're known to select fans, rarely achieved the tackiness that their banana-tree backdrop promised, but keyboardist Don Airey 's solo turn mid-show certainly did. As he wanked ridiculously on the ivories, he somehow foung a way to play vaguely bastardized versions of both O Canada and the theme from Star Wars.
Singer Ian Gillan was dressed like a vacationing Jedi, barefoot and in flowing white cloth, but his voice never gave out as they performed selections from their newest album that rocked enough, and played well-known classics Space Truckin', Strange Kinda Woman, a sweet-ass version of Highway Star, and of course Smoke On The Water.
Well-known songs produced singalongs from their throngs of disciples, and Gillan graciously thanked the crowd after each one. Without their all-star past guitarists present, they didn't reach the interstellar peaks that may have once been possible. I, for one, would've rather been at the show where they played the entire Machine Head album, but what would summer be without a huge stadium guitar-rock oldies show? A lousy summer.