Online music stores can be a veritable treasure trove of products, and it can be fascinating spending a little time digging around in them, and finding links to some truly great releases. On my search through Zavvi, I came across this Deep Purple DVD and thought it would make for an interesting review. Having watched the DVD….twice…I can safely say it surpassed all my expectations.
I wanted to take the chance to discover more about a well known band that hadn’t really filtered under my radar much in the past. What better way to do this than by watching them in concert at the iconic Royal Albert Hall, accompanied by The London Symphony Orchestra! It’s one of the most interesting things in music, hearing a band either strip back their songs acoustically/with piano, or scale them up to orchestra levels, and Deep Purple do the latter really well.
Never underestimate what a rock band can do; they are always full of surprises, and this DVD certainly shows a different side to a band that are known for heavy metal and hard rock tunes. They kick of their concert with a series of ballads, ably sung by several guest vocalists including Miller Anderson. It’s a simple, subtle, and at times quite haunting start to the show, with piano and strings rippling through ‘Pictured Within’, ‘Waiting A While’, and ‘Sitting On A Dream’. Then it’s time for the rousing, highly catchy ‘Love Is All’, with it’s quirky folk/violin break in the middle. Deep Purple have now ticked the box for epic sing-along, what’s next? Iain Paice takes the lead for the next track, a full on jazz interpretation of the song ‘Wring That Neck’, that shows off his drumming skills to full effect. This leads into the main part of the show, a classical concerto for group and orchestra, that was written in a time when it wasn’t the done ‘thing’ for a band to meddle with an orchestra. But meddle they did, and have produced three movements that combine elements of both classical music, and the rockier guitar jamming sides to their character. It’s an interesting mix and sits quite well in amongst their other hit songs.
Ian Gillan goes a great job leading the vocals for the remainder of the concerts, and takes the orchestra/band through ‘Ted The Mechanic’, power ballad‘Watching The Sky’, ‘Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming’, ‘Pictures Of Home’, and my personal favourite ‘Smoke On The Water’. This was a tight, well arranged, high energy segment of the show, with several toe tapping/ clapping opportunities! And it ended on a high note with ‘Smoke On The Water’.
This was my first real Deep Purple experience and I really enjoyed it. It may have been filmed back in 1999, but still seems to fit in well today, and I think the band put together a varied and interesting set. It was hard to equate what I heard at times with the knowledge that this is an act that are known for their psychedelic loudness, but variety is the spice of life, and I think that’s probably what makes this act special. I’ve not heard enough of the band to call myself a fully fledged fan, but I loved this concert, and will certainly keep a closer eye on what Deep Purple are up to in the future. One can only hope they do another gig like this so more of us can experience them live with an orchestra!