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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Deep Purple – ‘Perfect Strangers Live’ DVD review

Deep Purple – ‘Perfect Strangers Live’ DVD review

Released on: Eagle Rock. Release date: Available now
For so many rock fans, when Deep Purple announced in 1984 that Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore had set aside their differences and had agreed to make the reformation of the classic Mark 2 Deep Purple line up a reality, there was a great buzz in the world of rock again!

The lineup of Ian Gillan (Vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (Guitar), Jon Lord (RIP - Keys), Roger Glover (Bass) and Ian Paice on drums who produced such classics as ‘Highway Star,’ ‘Speed King,’ ‘Lazy,’ ‘Black Night,’ ‘Smoke On The Water,’ ‘Fireball,’ ‘Woman From Tokyo’ and ‘Space Truckin’,’ to name just a handful between the years of 1970 to 1973, were finally back together!
During that time, they produced four great studio albums and wonderful live release that every good rock fan home should own, ‘Made in Japan.’

Sadly ego’s took over and Ian Gillan was out and Purple brought in David Coverdale, for the next album 'Burn,' They also let Roger Glover go too and in came Glenn Hughes and Mark 3 Purple was born …, but that’s a story for another day!
In 1984 the press release flew around like wild fire and the ensuing press conferences were endless it seemed and then they hit the road, first in Australia where this live DVD was recorded.
Thirteen classic Purple tracks are included here with five of the thirteen coming from the reunion release, ‘Perfect Strangers.’

There’s also a brief interlude from Blackmore’s Rainbow, with the instrumental ‘Difficult to Cure’ and I guess it’s a nice touch and tribute to the late, great Jon Lord that one of the actual fifteen tracks is titled ‘Keyboard Solo.’
Of course Ritchie Blackmore solos and adlibs throughout and Ian Paice even gets a little solo spot, but I’m not saying where, although you can probably guess! ;-)

It’s sad in the end that they only recorded one more studio album with Blackmore in the lineup, ‘House of Blue Light’ and that having been a Purple fan for so many years, that I never did get to see this lineup playing live.
For ‘Perfect Strangers’ at the time in the UK they played just one show, Knebworth in 1985 and although I had attended a number of outdoor festivals by then, the thought of Knebworth and who knew how many tickets would be sold, I was prepared to wait until they toured the UK proper.
It really didn’t happen and the ‘House of Blue Light’ tour in 1987 was very limited, just five dates in the UK two in London, two in Scotland and one in Birmingham … I didn’t go … Much to my later regret!

That was the last tour Blackmore did with them so the reunion had lasted about as long as the original Mark 2 lineup.

So, to the DVD then from Eagle Rock which finally makes available official, professionally shot footage from that tour, when so little footage has actually been available.
There is bonus feature, which is a documentary that to be honest, kind of has its moments where the band are interviewed in different settings and through it all, how many times does Blackmore speak to reporters? Not once! Sad …

The concert is pretty good though, back to basics stage set, kicking off with the excellent ‘Highway Star.’

‘Nobody’s Home’ next from the ‘Perfect Strangers’ album rocks out well and of course Ritchie Blackmore looks his typical moody self and Jon Lord jams a little and then Mr. Blackmore gets to rock out a little too, with some nice touches.
A little chat from Ian Gillan before ‘Strange Kind of Woman’ takes a hold with Blackmore milking the solo spot before the Gillan vocal play off with Blackmore’s guitar, which includes a little snatch of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ part of Gillan’s history, some ‘Waltzing Matilda’ from Blackmore before wrapping the song up, after eight and a half minutes!
‘A Gypsy’s Kiss’ from the ‘ … Strangers’ album, is led into with a little blues before the driving riff develops and powers on through.
The band is solid with Roger Glover and Ian Paice keeping it driving, Jon Lord's wonderful touches, Gillan not sounding bad at all and Blackmore, well, he does his own thing right?!
The title track from the then latest album ‘Perfect Strangers’ comes next and it’s for me such a wonderful piece, if perhaps a little drifting here and there, mainly Blackmore of course, but I still love it it’s one Rhonda and I love to jam in the basement! Fun stuff!
‘Under The Gun’ next another newer song at the time and perhaps it’s early in the tour after the album’s release and the fans aren’t quite up to speed just yet with the new material based on the reaction during the song, until Blackmore start to abuse his guitar a bit and at the end, huge cheers!
The absolute killer ‘Knocking at Your Back Door’ is next and I say that because I recall it being the first ‘new’ song I heard from Purple at the time and just loved it then and still do now!

Blackmore is out to just play every guitar solo different from each of the originals. Shame really …, even if still entertaining.
Must’ve frustrated the hell out of the rest of the band at the time, I’m sure.
The classic ‘Lazy’ is next and yet again Blackmore performs in disjointed fashion, but that was always his way I guess, but Jon Lord gets jamming briefly and then it’s the man behind the drums to have some solo fun!
Take it away Ian Paice! Brilliant!

Jon Lord leads the band into ‘Child In Time’ next, perhaps one of my best and first favourite Purple song I always remember so well, as ‘In Rock’ was the second ever Purple album I ever bought. ‘Made in Japan’ was my first Deep Purple album back around 1976, not when it first came out I know, but I was fourteen at the time and I was blown away when I heard it at a friend’s house.
I’ve always loved the song, but once again Blackmore takes it into space so to speak.
Blackmore’s ‘Difficult To Cure’ is led into by some fooling around for about three minutes, then the band joins him and where the track counter indicates that this track # 10 is only 0:01 minutes long it’s far from it, try closer to around five minutes, before the late great Jon Lord is left to jam his own piece, ‘Keyboard Solo,’ for just under five minutes and it rocks!!!
Time to go ‘Space Truckin’’ next after a little lead in between Jon Lord and Ian Paice and this seems to do just fine, with Ian Gillan screaming his lungs out!!!
The band leaves the stage before returning for the encores, ‘Black Night’ first … Oh yes, a true gem, with Blackmore’s extended jam version, although Jon Lord does get a slight look in!

It’s time for Ian Gillan to introduce all of the band next, good stuff, before they launch into ‘Speed King!’

A bunch of improvisation occurs here and there, including both Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore playing a few little familiar fun jingles before they wrap up ‘Speed King’ and they leave the stage again …

They return then to play next the only track they could possibly close with, ‘Smoke on the Water.’
It’s a pretty enjoyable DVD, but I just wish that Ritchie Blackmore could’ve stayed a little truer to the original solos he played originally on each of the songs, but still a precious piece of video history for Purple fans everywhere.

Not all I had hoped for but worth owning as a fan of the band.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5