One of the founding members of one of the all-time great rock and roll bands, Deep Purple's 63 year-old drummer Ian Paice, rocked the small 47th Pear Festival (!!!) in Pavia di Udine, located a mere 4 kms from Udine! Just how on earth did the drummer of the world's most famous opening guitar riff ("Smoke On The Water") make it to a small pear festival is beyond me, but nevertheless, backed-up by the Italian heavy metal band Rain, there in person was Paice, merrily and very energetically banging away at his legendary Pearl drum set (his drum solo that night was also rather memorable).
The great, great treat for me was getting my Deep Purple book (“Smoke On The Water. The Deep Purple Story”, by David Thompson) autographed by Paice himself: I bought it a few years ago and brought it along with me to Purple’s concert in Jesolo, near Venice. After the show I must have waited for up to 1 hour in the cold weather for them to come out to sign it, much to no avail. So this time I sort of burst into the room where Paice was getting ready for the show and got him to sign it. And as I did I shook his hand and said, “God bless you for ALL the great music you’ve given us in all these years”! Memorable was not only his years with Purple but I’ve got a great little DVD of Sir Paul McCartney back at the Cavern Club. It was December 14th, 1999. Three hundred lucky people got to take in that great performance by Sir Paul. And there on stage with him was Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour…. and on drums a fellow by the name of Ian Paice (here’s “I Saw Her Standing There” with the three on stage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbC0evIHkDo )!
The set-list consisted of some 15 songs, mainly all Deep Purple ones too, such as “Woman From Tokyo” (it was apparently written in Rome in 1973), “Space Truckin’”, “Black Night”, “Highway Star”, naturally “Smoke On The Water” and my all-time favorite Purple song, “Burn” (this correspondent has so far seen Purple three times live and NEVER have they played “Burn” nor “Woman From Tokyo”, so Paice’s concert was simply priceless).
And the great thing about this 241st concert for me was not only that it was completely free with No accreditations necessary, but I got to calmly walk around the entire stage while Paice and Rain were playing! At one point, I was soooo close to Ian that not only was I about 1 meter from him but could I have even sat on his legs while he played, that’s just how laid back the organizers (and Paice) were that night!
We were all treated to one great two-hour (free) show by one of the founding members—as some rock specialists will confirm—of heavy metal music (Paice and his mates were also once in the “Guinness Book Of World Records” as they had been the world’s loudest band with some 100,000 watts of music)!