Deep Purple & Alice Cooper Legendary At Jones Beach, NY 8-26-17 w/ Edgar Winter

Deep Purple & Alice Cooper Legendary At Jones Beach, NY 8-26-17 w/ Edgar Winter

The future is impossible to predict, and that is more of a reason why we should cherish the moments we have. Cherish our loved ones, cherish our good fortunes, and yes, cherish the music. Well aware that tomorrow is unknown, Deep Purple launched a massive tour back in May entitled The Long Goodbye Tour. Is this the end for the Rock-n-Roll icons? Not exactly, but it could very well be the last big tour they partake in, so why not do it in style! 

Members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 2016, Deep Purple have kept up to speed with their recently released 20th overall studio album, Infinite. Anxious to bring the new music to the people, The Long Goodbye Tour launched in Romania back on May 13th and, after spending 2 months working through Europe, it finally touched down in North America on August 12th in Las Vegas. Along for the ride on the North American leg of the tour, they team up with Shock Rock icon Alice Cooper as their co-headliner and The Edgar Winter Band as direct support. Can you say historic Rock-n-Roll concert? Trail blazing through a number of US cities, on the evening of Saturday, August 26, 2017, the sky was clear as a windowpane, but the air was roiling with an otherworldly presence as they arrived at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York. 

One of the last outdoor concert events on Long Island as summer fades fast, ticket holders situated themselves in their seats as the stage took on a life of its own with The Edgar Winter Band prepared to begin. With an eerie light illuminating the instruments, Drummer Jason Carpenter, Guitarist Doug Rappoport, Bassist Koko Powell, and Mr. Edgar Winter himself sauntered onstage. 

Edgar Winter, a multi-talented musician/songwriter, began in 1970 with his debut album Entrance and continues to rock and roll at a high level at 70 years of age. Out on the road often in recent years, they have made a habit of visiting Long Island several times and seeing them on the big stage at Jones Beach was a treat to behold as they they opened with a blast from the past, 1973’s “Free Ride.” Following was a raucous cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin Jack Flash” and a reflective rendition of John D. Loudermilk’s “Tobacco Road.” True to their jam band qualities, they mixed in bits and pieces of classic tunes including Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker,” Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Life,” and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” Quite a cool little medley, it was in honor of Edgar’s late great brother Johnny who still resides in the hearts and souls of all he touched through the years.

Speaking of Johnny, once the opening strains of Rick Derringer’s classic “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” seared the air, people got up and shimmied in their seats. A track originally recorded by Johnny Winter’s band, when Derringer was a member, Edgar and company kept it heavy and fun. Lastly, they closed out with none other than “Frankenstein,” the memorable The Edgar Winter Group 1973 classic that had fans moving. An epic ending, Edgar Winter bid the audience farewell in fitting fashion, yelling, “Keep on rockin’!”

Moving right along, it came time for none other than The Godfather of Shock Rock, otherwise known as Alice Cooper. Approaching 70 years of age himself, Cooper has built a prolific career in Rock-n-Roll, spanning over five decades now. Known for his theatrical stage shows and his unmistakable personality, Cooper continues to be as entertaining in 2017 as he was all those years ago. A legend, the influential Cooper is still hypnotizing the world with his impressive new album, Paranormal, which hit the public on July 28th. An epic return of new material from Cooper for the first time since 2011’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare, Long Islanders was elated to see him bring his traveling freak show back to the beach. 

His first visit back to Jones Beach since he visited with Mötley Crüe back in 2014, the stage was eerily silent for a few minutes prior to the creaking sound of the hinges of a coffin opening. Then, in a flash, projected was a larger than life Alice Cooper signature face with red demonic eyes. Upon closer inspection, the pupils themselves were in the shape of spiders, and with that visual implanted in the audience’s heads, Cooper and his band (Guitarists Nita Strauss, Tommy Henriksen, and Ryan Roxie in addition to longtime Bassist Chuck Garric, and Drummer Glen Sobel) appeared. Cooper, dressed in his vampire best and cape flapping behind him, he looked like he just came from the fires of hell with flames licking voraciously at his heels.

Getting the show on the road, he lent his raspy vocals to the tune of  “Brutal Planet” before “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Under My Wheels.” Going strong and not missing a beat, “Billion Dollar Babies” was before the well received new cut “Paranoiac Personality.” Following up with “Woman of Mass Distraction,” speaking of ladies, all eyes were engrossed on the stage when lights shined bright on Strauss, who gifted all with mind-boggling guitar riffs and gravity defying head swirling.

Responding to the killer solo from Strauss with an ear-piercing round of applause, the fun continued with the ’80s hit “Poison” before “Feed My Frankenstein,” “Only Women Bleed,” “I Love the Dead,” as well as “Eighteen.” Wait, is something missing? Ah yes, the encore! Cooper and company pledged their allegiance to kids everywhere with the classic “School’s Out” as everyone jumped up and sang along with emphasis to the rebellious chorus. Exciting until the end, Cooper delivered like no one else can. Who else can hold an audience spellbound with a simulated guillotine where his head is on the line? Or better yet, have a statuesque doll flipping and doing crazy acrobatics on stage? With that, Cooper put another notch in, no, nail on the coffin and made room for Deep Purple.

Last, but not least, it was time for England’s Deep Purple. Touring as they have since 2002 with Ian Gillan on vocals, Steve Morse on guitar, Roger Glover on bass, Ian Paice on drums, and Don Airey on keyboards, the band’s roots date back 50 years now. Considered one of the pioneers of what is now known as Heavy Metal and Hard Rock music, to quote Glover from his 2015 interview with CrypticRock, “It has been a hell of a ride.” A journey which has seen them tour rigorously through the years, sustain various lineup changes, and top Rock charts album after album, it can be summed up in one word – epic. 

Truly a live band through and through, Deep Purple have also made their rounds through the Long Island area in recent times, but believe it or not, it has been some time since coming to Jones Beach. It was 1998 when they came out with Dream Theater, 2001 with Lynyrd Skynyrd, 2002 with Scorpions, and 2004 with Thin Lizzy, making 2017 a long overdue event. 

Up for the occasion, Deep Purple dove right into the excitement with the 1972 Machine Head track “Highway Star.” A perfect way to start off, showcasing the band’s signature music style, they followed with “Fireball”and the energy-packed “Strange Kind of Woman.” Shifting toward newer material, they went into 2013’s “Uncommon Man” before “Knocking at Your Back Door” was delivered with a dose of drum rolls from Paice and wailing guitars thanks to Morse.

Balancing in treats from all corners of their discography, “The Surprising” and, later on, “Time for Bedlam” represented Infinite well. A complete band, unified by years of working together, following the retirement of Jon Lord in 2002, Don Airey has done an exceptional job filling his spot and on this night he would deliver a dazzling keyboard solo. The fun did not stop there though because Deep Purple kept dishing out the favorites including “Perfect Strangers,” “Space Truckin,” and Rock-n-Roll signature, “Smoke on the Water.” Ending the set with their unforgettable cover of Joe South’s “Hush,” Deep Purple haunted the air until the final note. 

A bill that any Classic Rock aficionado would pine to see, each one of these acts gave a superb performance. Seamlessly moving from one set to another, they thrilled the audience with the synergetic power of charismatic personalities, supernatural charm, and magical bag of musical treats! Continuing now through September 10th, this is definitely a concert to treasure for a lifetime. 

Photo credit: Mark Schoen Photography

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Jackie Knightowl
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