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Deep Purple gets classical, not classy

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2011

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Deep Purple is performing with an orchestra at each stop of its The Songs That Built Rock tour. But guitarist Steve Morse says the venerable British hard rock band is hardly pulling any musical punches for the occasion.

"We want to reassure everybody that there's going to be less parking spaces backstage, but the music is not going to be any less rock," says Morse, 56, a veteran of the bands Kansas and the Dixie Dregs who's been with Deep Purple since 1993. "We're just doing our show. Yes, there's an orchestra, but they're accompanying us.

"The quiet moments and there aren't a lot of those will be incredible. And the loud stuff, the 'Smoke on the Waters' and 'Highway Stars' and all that, will sound more dynamic with the strings and horns."

Deep Purple certainly has set precedent for orchestral collaborations. In 1969 the group recorded former keyboardist Jon Lord's "Concerto for Group and Orchestra," which the current version of the band re-created a few years back with Morse contributing some original pieces of his own "Contact Lost" and "The Well Dressed Guitar" to the mix.

Mostly, Morse explains, having the classical players as part of the mix is allowing Deep Purple to play some classier places such as Detroit's Fox Theatre this weekend and perhaps lure some concertgoers who might otherwise be wary of checking out the group in a more straightforward rock concert.

"Our management and the promoters think it may seem less intimidating than going to face a wall of what people might perceive as the loudest band in the world" which the Guinness Book of World Records once designated Deep Purple Morse says. "A lot of people imagine just a concrete room, an auditorium painted black, with everyone standing and throwing stuff and beer eight inches deep on the floor.

"I don't know if that's what people really imagine, but with this symphony accompaniment thing, they know it's not going to be too out of control, so maybe they'll show up. But like I said, we're just going to do what we normally do."

Deep Purple and Ernie & the Automatics perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 17, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $45-$75. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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