quarta-feira, 3 de julho de 2002

No Boston Herald

Headbangin' to the oldies

by Brett Milano
Friday, June 28, 2002

Deep Purple, Scorpions and Dio, at the Tweeter Center, Mansfield, Tuesday.

For anybody who's into classic-rock trivia, Tuesday's triple bill of Deep Purple, the Scorpions and Dio offered a real nightmare in genealogy.

Consider the connections: Purple bassist Roger Glover used to produce albums by the Scorpions' guitarist. Dio singer Ronnie James Dio used to be in the Purple spinoff band Rainbow. Purple's new keyboardist, Don Airey, was also in Rainbow, as was Glover. All the above have been on the same record label. And Purple singer Ian Gillan once replaced Dio as the post-Ozzy singer for Black Sabbath.

You figure they'd just merge into one band and get it over with. They stuck with separate sets Tuesday, but all three bands played the kind of plodding metal that you can only hear from old war horses - and yes, that's sort of a compliment.

After years without a personnel change, Deep Purple just lost founding keyboardist Jon Lord, who has retired. Lord's raunchy organ sound is definitely missed; so far, Airey sounds too flashy and technical. But as long as singer Gillan is still upfront, it's still going to sound like Deep Purple, and this band tends to play harder when it's breaking in a new member.

Ex-Dixie Dregs guitarist Steve Morse, who joined in the '90s, is now the real star of the band; he has kept them from getting too tired or always playing the same songs. When they kicked into their anthems ``Speed King'' and ``Highway Star,'' they sure didn't sound like guys pushing 60.

The Scorpions were already a little long in the tooth when they had their MTV success in the '80s, and they're even more of a throwback now. Though they had a few ballad hits, their real moment of sleazy glory was ``The Zoo,'' a dinosaur blues played early in Tuesday's set. Everything about the song is so dumb it's great - especially the lyric about New York City, sung in a thick German accent. The big surprise was their pulling off a song about German reunification, ``Wind of Change.''

Dio's preference for weighty swords-and-sorcery themes may make him ripe for parody, but his strong voice is intact. And you have to like a guy who can sing ``Long Live Rock 'n' Roll'' without a trace of irony.

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