Scorps/Purple/Dio Live In Concord, CA

By Perrin Wolfson, Pure Rock Patroller
Tuesday, August 6, 2002 @ 3:09 PM

The Scorpions, Deep Purple and

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Looking at the marquee outside Concord’s Chronicle Pavilion on Sunday night would have led one to believe that the year was 1984 and not 2002. Judging by the performances put forth by each of last night’s retro-metal show’s participants, the genre is in as good a shape as it was in ’84. Many of the new kids on the metal block could learn a thing or two from the sleek sets put forth by the Scorpions, Deep Purple, and Ronnie James Dio.

The tone for the evening was set by Ronnie James Dio and his band of metal veterans who performed a long (for an opening act) set worthy of their status on top of the metal heap. New tunes “Killing the Dragon,” “Push,” and “Rock and Roll” were carried by Mr. Dio’s fantastic voice, classics like “Holy Diver,” and “Rainbow in the Dark” thrilled the audience, and Black Sabbath and Rainbow favorites “Heaven and Hell” and “Man on the Silver Mountain” brought the capacity crowd of nearly 12,000 to their feet. A great set that left many wondering why Dio is opening for anybody.

Deep Purple were up next, and despite the recent departure of founding keyboard/organ player Jon Lord (as well as legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore years earlier), the band impressed the crowd with a display of musical virtuosity rarely seen in today’s music scene. The band jammed effortlessly through “Woman From Tokyo,” “Lazy,” “Space Trucking,” and “Speed King.” Ian Gillan’s witty banter between songs kept the audience in stitches, and the closing numbers (“Smoke on the Water,” “Hush,” and “Highway Star”) had all in attendance dancing in the aisles in anticipation of the night’s final act.

After the straight-ahead metal of Dio, and the musical diversity of Deep Purple, Germany’s Scorpions provided a perfect mix of the two. The Scorps, having experimented with acoustic sounds, symphony orchestras, and drum loops on their last few records, seemed very comfortable providing the power-chord hungry throng in attendance with a steady diet of heavy-duty guitar riffs. “Bad Boys Running Wild,” “The Zoo,” and “Blackout” provided no shortage of those riffs, and the requisite ballads “Winds of Change” and “Still Loving You” gave energetic audience a chance to light up the sky with their lighters. Speaking of lighting up the sky, pulling classic track “We’ll Burn the Sky” out of the closet was a highlight of a terrific set.

If the quality of last night’s performances, as well as the size of the crowd in attendance, is any indication, these veterans are holding the hard-rock/heavy metal torch high. Let’s hope it doesn’t burn out for some time, so they can continue to delight fans, young and old, for years to come.

Note: Bay area vets Vicious Rumors kicked off the festivities on a side stage at 5:00 PM. The band, led by guitar wiz Geoff Thorpe, ripped through a short set that served as a warm-up for the band’s festival appearances in Europe throughout August. The group is still in fine form and deserved every bit of the rousing response they received. Full marks for winning over an audience that normally would have been pre-occupied with finding their seats, purchasing T-shirts, and selecting their beverages of choice for the night.

Set Lists:

Dio: Killing the Dragon; Egypt; Children of the Sea; Push; Stand Up and Shout; Rock and Roll; Man on the Silver Mountain; Long Live Rock’n Roll; Holy Diver; Heaven and Hell; Rainbow in the Dark (60 minutes)

Deep Purple: Fireball; Woman from Tokyo; Ted the Mechanic; Lazy; Well Dressed Guitar (new); Knocking at your Back Door; Space Trucking; Perfect Strangers; Speed King; Smoke on the Water; Hush; Highway Star (80 minutes)

Scorpions: Coming Home; Bad Boys Running Wild; The Zoo; We’ll Burn the Sky; Tease Me Please Me; Coast to Coast; Winds of Change; Dynamite; Big City Nights; No One Like You; Blackout; Still Loving You; Rock You Like a Hurricane (80 minutes)

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