Tue, Jun 10, 08

DEEP PURPLE – Around The World Live (DVD Box Set)
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Hard Rock
Disc 1: 25 songs (2 hrs) Disc 2: 17 songs (2.5 hrs) Disc 3: 17 songs (2.5 hrs) Disc 4: 2 songs (2 hrs)

Eagle Vision has released several live Deep Purple DVDs over that last couple of years; chronicling the current Steve Morse era of the band. It’s great to have so many of their shows actually being filmed and released as there is very little quality live footage of the classic Mark II era (Blackmore, Gillan, Lord, Glover, Paice) or the Mark III era that featured David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. This new package is a whopping 9 hours of footage and contains complete concerts from Bangelore India in 1995 during the Pupendicular tour as well as an Australian gig in 1999 along with shows from Seoul South Korea in 1995, and the U.K. in 2002. Along with the aforementioned shows, extensive interview and backstage footage is also included on a separate DVD to complete this 4 DVD package that is presented like a hard cover book with over 20 pages of photos, group history and show analysis by Joel McIver.

With a package containing several complete shows, it’s hard not to have duplication with the set list. Any Deep Purple show must have Smoke On The Water, Highway Star, Speed King etc. but tracks like Black Night, Lazy, Woman From Tokyo, Child In Time, Fireball, Bloodsucker, Space Truckin’, Maybe I’m A Leo, When A Blind Man Cries and the very obscure Mary Long From Who Do We Think We Are? make occasional appearances. Tracks from Purpendicular and Abandon fit in almost perfectly with these classic tracks and it signifies a very triumphant return to the classic Deep Purple sound with Steve Morse in the band. Perfect Strangers as well as tracks from The Battle Rages On (Ritchie Blackmore’s last album with the band) appear as well. The interplay between Jon Lord (keyboards) and Steve Morse very quickly became a highlight of their shows with their guitar and keyboard battles literally bringing the house down. Extensive footage is also provided of the behind the scenes re-making of the classic Concerto For Group And Orchestra that was performed in 2001 with the London Symphony Orchestra. With the original groundbreaking 1969 album by Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord being all but forgotten, it was purely by chance that he was contacted by people involved with the London Symphony Orchestra who were very interested in re-scoring and ultimately performing this piece of music again. What is so surprising is the level of co-operation and enthusiasm he received from the rest of Deep Purple who put aside their very loose approach to performance and maintained a very strict musical discipline in order to pull it all off.

In many of the interview segments, nothing but high praise is given to Steve Morse by his fellow band-mates. They credit him with helping to not only regain their confidence but in actually helping rejuvenate the band as a whole. Ever since he joined, the band is happy and very positive about their future; something that had never been the case before. Every interview, backstage, on the plane footage etc. of Steve Morse sees him with a guitar in hand. Never plugging it in, he practices almost non-stop. His style is a little eccentric for Deep Purple but in every other aspect, he is a perfect fit for the band. The NEC footage in 2002 also represents the final send-off to original keyboardist Jon Lord who decided that he had enough of the touring and wanted to finally pursue his love of classical music. The behind the scenes footage shows just how much love there is for this man and being a few years older than Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice, he’s like a big brother to all of them and the respect they have for him has never been more evident. His ghostly appearance at the start of Perfect Strangers just gives you goosebumps. New keyboard player Don Airey eventually returns and shares the keyboard duties with Jon until the show’s end with just Jon left onstage to take his final bow. A supreme show of class by the band for a first class guy and one of the founders of Deep Purple.

For those who think that Deep Purple is just a classic rock act, the contents of this package will show you otherwise. These seasoned veterans are still putting out top-notch material that rivals much of their earlier past work. Unfortunately, it seems like every other market in the world is aware of this except North America. To that market, Deep Purple is Smoke On The Water and Highway Star and that’s it. There’s a certain sense of celebration with this package in that the band is celebrating it’s past history as well as sharing it’s newfound happiness and contentment with their current line-up. As Ian Gillan says, “We’re no longer travelling the Rock ‘N Roll highway…we’re taking the scenic route”.

Killing Songs : Highway Star, Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, Fireball, Lazy, Perfect Strangers and Speed King

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