We are Forerunners. Guardians of all that exists. The roots of the Galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil. Our strength is a luminous sun, towards which all intelligence blossoms... And the impervious shelter beneath which it has prospered.
That's what I think EVERY TIME I see the legendary DEEP PURPLE play live in America:
DEEP PURPLE holds a very special place in my metalhead heart. Thevery first rock gig that yours truly ever went to was DEEP PURPLE's gig at Fort Canning Park, Singapore, in 2002. I still have the T-shirt from that gig. I still consider Machine Head and Purpendicular to be hard-rock staples.
I subsequently saw them play live something like three times in London- once at the Astoria in 2005, which still ranks right up there in the top 10 concerts I've ever seen that didn't involve IRON MAIDEN or AMON AMARTH. And I've seen them play at least twice in the US.
And I can tell you this from personal and quite frustrating experience: audiences in Europe and Asia love this band's new(er) material. They don't just want to hear every single track off Machine Head.
Audiences in the US? Totally different story.
I remember them playing what was at the time one of their very best tracks off their then-new album, a rather intriguing number called "Rapture of the Deep" at Radio City Music Hall. The entire audience was practically goddamn asleep. They'd played the same song live at the Astoria in London in 2005, and the crowd- composed largely of teenagers and twenty-somethings, not geriatric old fogeys- went bonkers.
Of course, the Americans all started showing signs of life when the older material was played. So when "Lazy" and "Smoke on the Water" were played, of course, people got on their feet.
Watching that was... depressing, to put it mildly.
I have seen a similar story repeat for many "old-school" bands that come through the US.
Every single RUSH concert I've ever been to- and I've seen RUSH live at least 6 times in the last 8 years- has had the same problem: audiences sitting on their butts for two and a half hours, and only showing signs of life when "Tom Sawyer" or "Spirit of Radio" are played.
URIAH HEEP? Same story.
AC/DC? Don't even get me started.
MOTORHEAD? The best gig of theirs that I have ever seen was at Brixton Academy for their 30th anniversary tour in 2006. The audience went so crazy that night, I was amazed the place was still standing afterwards. Their gigs in the US just don't compare in terms of intensity or power.
Fans like that are what give "classic rock" a bad name. Give me Japanese or European fans over that any day.