Reply to "What concerts have you been to lately?"

On consecutive nights in Las Vegas I caught shows by Deep Purple and Rush.

Deep Purple (backed by a 30-plus person orchestra) was enjoyable even though Ian Gillan's voice is showing signs of wear and tear. An intimate venue (Pearl Theater inside Palm Casino) had good accoustics but it was a bit loud. The set-list contained all the classics and some lesser known tunes as well. My only disappointment was the omission of "Ted the Mechanic" and "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" off the Purpendicular album.

The opening act for Deep Purple (Ernie & the Automatics) was actually very enjoyable. Comprised of former members of Boston (Barry Goudreau, Sib Hashian) and J. Geils Band they played a rousing 40 minute set that included a great medley from Boston's debut album.

Rush played at the Grand Garden Arena inside MGM Grand and as usual they were outstanding. The show lasted for three hours (no opening act) and the second half was kicked off by them playing the Moving Pictures album in its entirety. Songs like "Tom Sawyer", "Limelight" and "Red Barchetta" are staples of FM radio so I can take or leave them. Seeing the band perform "The Camera Eye", "Witch Hunt" and "Vital Signs" however was a real treat.

A special nod to Howard Ungerleider who designs and oversees Rush's light show. Visually this show is as stunning as the music.
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