The veteran rockers put on a memorable -- and loud -- show.
By Kathy Rumleski,
London Free Press
July 27, 2007
The only thing Deep Purple and Ted Nugent really needed to update last night were their clothes.
The aging rockers proved they can still draw 'em in and blow people's minds last night at Rock The Park IV.
As the hot sun gave way to a moonlit night, a record-setting,
cheering crowd of 10,500 at Harris Park heard a memorable but extremely
loud concert on the first day of the three-day event.
Purple and Nugent were billed as co-headliners, but Nugent's
85-minute set came before the British metal supergroup, which some felt
meant he was second fiddle.
"(Nugent) should be the headliner, definitely," said Garret
Nephew, who came from Toronto for the concert. "He's so much better.
He's got better riffs, better everything."
I guess Nephew hasn't heard Deep Purple's Steve Morse, who turns 53 today, play his guitar.
Bathed in purple light, Morse lit it up in a solo and paid
tribute to the other acts on the bill, playing Nugent's Cat Scratch
Fever and Love Hurts from Nazareth.
Nugent and Purple date back to the 1960s and both have had mega hits over the years.
Plenty of those hits were played with Purple pleasing fans particularly on Hush, Smoke on the Water and Strange Kind of Woman.
Nugent, 58, is often praised for his guitar work as well and he sounded good, especially doing his Wang Dang licks.
It was a party atmosphere on the grounds. A woman smoked marijuana in the open. Pot was in the air all night.
Some fans at the front of the security fence were squeezed
tight against the rail by the crowd pushing forward. A man was rushed
out by security and taken to an ambulance, but later was walking on his
The only other trouble of the night was when amps blew three
times on the first few Purple songs. Singer Ian Gillan would get a
couple of lines in and then his power would go.
Afterward he thanked the crowd for their "vibes," which "really mean a lot to us."
Nugent, who has created an empire with books, TV shows and
websites on his pro-hunting and outdoor lifestyle, opened last night
with his first hit Journey to the Centre of Your Mind, which he enjoyed
40 years ago this summer as part of the Amboy Dukes.
"Come along if you dare," he sang on his new version of Journey, which is on his latest album Love Grenade.
It was clear the audience was ready to take his dare.
Nugent kept referring to Canadians as his "blood brothers." He also had expletive-laden banter between songs.
"It looks like a (deleted) free-for-all boys," he said as he led into the well-known tune Free For All. "I like the attitude."
Nugent took fans through other hits, including Wango Tango, Baby Please Don't Go and hunting song Fred Bear.
"I love Canada. I've got lots of bear-hunting buddies out there," he said, promising to give all the kids machine guns.
Wearing his traditional camouflage cowboy hat and a sleeveless jean shirt, the Michigan man looked relaxed.
Deep Purple also wore sleeveless shirts, jeans and bass player Roger Glover had a bandanna on his head.
Rock the Park is a fundraiser for Bethany's Hope, a local
charity supporting research into metachromatic leukodystrophy. The
first three years saw $425,000 raised.
IF YOU GO
What: OMAC & the Hawk present Rock the Park IV, an outdoor
classic rock festival. Deep Purple, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo and
George Thorogood & the Destroyers headline. Proceeds benefit the
London-based Bethany's Hope Foundation.
When: Tonight -- gates open at 4 p.m.; Tomorrow -- gates open at 3:30 p.m.
Where: Harris Park by the Thames River in downtown London.
Details: $39 for one day; $79.50 for three-day pass; prices do
not include applicable charges. Call 519-672-1967 or check
Tonight: Trooper, Rik Emmett Band, Cheap Trick, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo.
Tomorrow: Rick Derringer, David Wilcox, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, George Thorogood & the Destroyers.