Deep Purple, Alice Cooper and the Edgar Winter Band Smoke Blossom Music Center

Blossom Music Center, Deep Purple, Hard Rock

 Deep Purple at Blossom Music Center. 

Live NationWho say’s you can’t go back in time? Blossom Music Center was the scene of the crime on a crispy Saturday night! For over 3 hours, we witnessed the Edgar Winter Band, Alice Cooper and Deep Purple annihilate us with glorious Hard Rock musical anthems, spanning more than fifty-years.

With fans ranging from eight-to-eighty-year olds, excitement was in the air. The Live Nation concert event was Deep Purple’s ‘Long Goodbye Tour’, who became inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

As the lights dimmed the stage, the roar of the fans at Blossom Music Center took me back to the early 70’s; with the ambiance aura of anticipation ahead!

Edgar Winter Band

The familiar guitar introduction of “Free Ride” immediately set the tone for the incredible Edgar Winter Band. The spirit of the song was captured magnificently, as it was vivaciously delivered, the party had begun!

The bands cover of The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” literally stunned me. The professional edge of the gifted musicians Edgar Winter has surrounded himself with are powerful splendor of sound! The searing guitar solo, luscious layer of synthesized keyboards, developing into the splintering dual percussion work and trade-off rhythms and solos between Edgar on timbales, and their furious drummer was a progressive celebration.  The musical arrangement within “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” was stunningly effective, with the musicians as tight as a drum.

“Tobacco Road”, that timeless Blues classic written in 1960, by John D. Loudermilk, shook the valley of Blossom with its staggering roar of music. The Edgar Winter Band has the ability to sound like a “Big-Band” meets Rock. I’d put this band up against anybody. The guitar work throughout “Tobacco Road” took us on a journey with it’s “Chicago-Texas Blues Boogie”, feel transitioning to a jam snippet of “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream, taking us back to 1968 with the sound so realistic; I shook my head in disbelief. The build for the finale of ‘Tobacco Road” was climatic with color, power and thunderous applause.

“Rock and Roll, Hootchie Koo” set the crowd wild. One of America’s favorite party songs since 1974, took us through a raucous romp of a rebellious attitude back in time when (we thought) few things mattered. A fun little tune so simple and sets the spirit gleefully at Blossom Music Center.

Edgar Winter on the Synthesizer.

“Frankenstein” was a metamorphous of frenzied mellotron sound as the Edgar Winter Band shook the rafters. Edward Winter displayed his musical gifted skills on synthesizer, percussion and saxophone. The man is amazing. Edgar Winter is such a gifted musician/composer as he took the fans back to 1973. The presentation was flawless. The heavy sound moving with transitioning jazz interludes and a drum-off of powerful passion. An incredible performance!

Edgar Winter Band performing at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio on September 9th with Deep Purple and Alice Cooper. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/

Truly, a remarkable band led by a remarkable man!

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper Review written by: Larry Ritter.

Vincent Damon Furnier, better known to most as Alice Cooper, is also a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after being elected for enshrinement in 2011 as a member of the band by the same name. Furnier took on the Alice Cooper name in the early seventies before embarking on a solo career that has spanned over forty years. At 69, the “Godfather of Shock Rock” can still bring it and that was definitely on display on this chilly Saturday evening.

Alice CooperDraped in his black cape, Cooper made his presence through a cascade of sparkling embers and smoky haze. He wasted little time in hitting the fans in the face as he and his band shredded “Brutal Planet” before jumping right into fan favorite, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”. Cooper made sure to let the fans know the tune (as if that was a problem) by donning a leather vest with the song’s title emplazened on the back. “Under My Wheels” and “Billion Dollar Babies” concluded the four opening tunes in which I was in the photo pit.

However, it wasn’t long before I was in my seat to take in the rest of the performance of this rock icon. Cooper, who still pays a yearly royalty to the rest of the original band members for the use of the name, is a total amazement to see live. The macabre spectacle that accompanies the music is a joy to take in and the entire band plays right along.

I was harken back to my youth the entire set. In fact I got a goose bumps during the finale “I’m Eighteen”. It could have been the cool evening air but I would prefer to think it was certain memories that were evoked upon hearing the song. The same can be said of “Poison” and “Feed My Frankenstein” as well.

Drummer, Glen Sobel.

Nita StrausI would be remiss in not mentioning the outstanding job that Cooper‘s band did. All five of the other members are extremely gifted musicians. Tommy Henriksen, Ryan Roxie and Nita Strauss are unbelievably in sync and are as talented as any guitar players on the scene today. Strauss would most definitely make my top-five all time female guitarists list and would also earn a spot among the all-time greats no matter the gender; she is truly that talented.

Chuck Garric, former bassist for Ronnie James DIO, and Glen Sobel (drums) form an outstanding, loud and pulsating rhythm section. Combined with the three guitar heroes, this quartet is worthy of stacking up against any lineup out there.

Alice Cooper performing at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio on September 9th with Deep Purple and the Edgar Winter Band. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/

And then there’s Alice Cooper. I’m not sure there are any other superlatives in which to describe the man. Most folks at the age of 69 are looking for things to do while not having to report to work. Cooper on the other hand keeps punching the proverbial time clock and is doing so by providing a top notch service. I can only hope to be walking when I’m that age and this man is entertaining millions as well as producing new material. He truly is a rock legend who deserves all of the accolades that are given him. And to witness his performance in person was an incredible experience once again. I look forward to the next opportunity.

ian Gillan, Steve Morse, Deep Purple


As Blossom Music Center went dark and the introduction music of Classical Composer, Gustav Holst’s; Mars, the Bringer of War from The Planets put all the fans on notice.  Some serious Hard Rock was about to explode throughout the land. The mighty Deep Purple busted into “Highway Star” like a mad dog in the meat market.

Ian Gillan’s 5-octave vocals impressed immediately. As one of the original front-men in the history of Rock, his lung power and range were still splendid.  The up-tempo pandemonium of “Highway Star” with it’s chaotic energy, heavy accents and raw force was delivered like a shot out of a canon!

Mr. Ian Paice

Roger Glover

Roger Glover

The band launched immediately into “Fireball” off the same titled album recorded in 1971. The drum opening by Ian Paice is a rapid fire, rudimental accented  showing his speed, agility and flair. The sparkling Pearl drumset was gleaming from the lights above as the legendary drummer dazzled us. Between his interjecting feel of dynamics and jazz improvisational skills, it’s no wonder this band has always had the ability to “jam” like no other band. Don Airey’s Hammond B3 accentuated heavily as bassist, Roger Glover fluttered and Steve Morse gave us some incredible riffs and solos. Ian Gillan was defying time with his lyrical pitches having to fluctuate at break-neck speed throughout the tune.

“Strange Kind of Woman”, another tune off of the ‘Fireball’ album  slowed things down a bit with its majestically induced ballad shifting into a power rocker tune, while at the same time having a slight Country Music feel. Deep Purple sound as if it’s a walk in the park with the tightness between these veteran musicians!

Don Airey, Deep Purple

Keyboardist, Don Airey.

“Uncommon Man” from the album, NOW What?! was written in memory of Jon Lord (RIP). The opening between keyboardist, Airey, Roger Glover bass fills and Steve Morse’s amazing guitar tones was amazing. The ensuing progressive adventure moved into Don Airey giving us a chord progression which sounds like Mr. Keith Emerson. Gillan even-stage temperament flows like fine wine with his occasional smile and passion setting the mood as fitting!

Deep Purple playing at Blossom Music Center on September 9th along with Edgar Winter Band and Alice Cooper. All photos taken by Larry Ritter/
Steve Morse

Steve Morse

The keyboard brilliance of Don Airey was unleashed on “Lazy” with that swell of Hammond B3 and Leslie speakers reverberating like thunder. The guitar work of Steve Morse is astute, fluid as he blisters through the strings. Once again, Airey shines with his solos and the spiraling rhythm section inserts a more Rockabilly feel than the original version. When the band changes the key signature, Morse blisters the axe like there’s no tomorrow!

“Knocking On Your Back Door” never sounded better as the miser’s of rock glided through the tune released on “Perfect Strangers’. The rich blend of music was captured beatifically as Deep Purple kept us amazed. The break in the song featuring the backbeat and high-hat pattern of Ian Paice similar found in “Woman From Tokyo” is always a joy to hear. As Ian Gillan and the band produce that lyrical persuasion; bringing us back towards the close of the tune.

“Pictures of Home” from the album ‘Machine Head’ (1972) was a treat. From the shuffle of the rhythm to Gillan’s upper-reach register with individual solos structured throughout the song and majestic keyboards were fantastic! The ability to profuse Classical Music and create a progressive rock sound like no other. The intricate instrument voicing’s mimicking slightly against each other or opposite have long been part of the Deep Purple concert experience.

Roger Glover, Steve MorseThe familiar chords of the sound of the Hammond B3 had the crowd on their feet as the band launched into “Perfect Strangers” from the self-titled album originally released in 1984. As Roger Glover and Steve Morse huddle-up and exchange glances, it’s like they’re reading each others minds. Deep Purple historic shows throughout the years all serve as reminders of a specific past of time and place. Don Airey was featured on the organ with his own spotlight solo between his arsenal of keyboards.

Time For Bedlam” was delivered loud and proud. The new song off of Deep Purple’s latest release, ‘inFinite‘ (produced by Bob Ezrin)  is a scorcher. The raucous vibrancy of this tune magnifies the essence of Deep Purple, at their best! It’s one of those songs, once heard; you can’t get out of your head. So luminous, with the power and catchy-vocal hooks with the progressive approach of the band; featuring all of the ingredients to pacify even the oldest of Deep Purple fans!

Ian GillanIan Gillan.

Deep Purple put Blossom Music Center on notice as they shot into “Space Truckin'” from the album ‘Machine Head’. The band cut through the tune like a force with complete precision. The heavy music, combined with each member displaying their musical talents was special. Ian Gillan astounded on the vocals (clearly keeping care of himself over the years).

“Hush” was the closing regular song as the band took us back to where it all began 50 years ago! The fans celebrated as the band gave us their solid interpretation of the spirited song written by Joe South.  The encore was non-surprisingly,  “Smoke On The Water”. I couldn’t help but think, those four chords are nothing without Deep Purple performing on-stage. Over the decades, smoke has always served as an synonymous name with Deep Purple.  From their use of fog in stage effectiveness, to a gambling house burning down; Deep Purple still burn.

The end of an era by a band that spawned generations of fans, sadly came to an end. From the legendary hit records, through shifting line-up changes, turmoil, massive concerts, break-ups, reunions and fame;  I’ve been fortunate to witness Deep Purple’s entire career. Thank you for 50 years of music!

*I want to thank Larry “Big L” Ritter for covering Alice Cooper.











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Larry Ritter About Larry Ritter

Hello my name is Larry Ritter, or “Big L” to most of my friends. I’m a production supervisor for a major manufacturer of auto parts here in northwest Ohio. I received an Associate’s degree from Owen’s Community College where I graduated cum laude honors. I have a true passion for music, sports, photography and riding motorcycles. My love for these things are surpassed by just one thing, family, which includes two sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.

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