Deep Purple In Concert With The London Symphony Orchestra
|Eagle Vision/Warner Vision .
R4 . COLOR . 120 mins .
G . PAL
Once credited in the Guinness Book of World Records as
the globeís loudest band, Deep Purple have survived a
series of tumultuous lineup changes and its conscious decision to shift from progressive rock to bone-crunching heavy metal, firmly cementing itself as an institution of the British hard rock community.
Formed in Hertford, England in 1968, Deep Purpleís inaugural lineup consisted of vocalist Rod Evans, guitarist
Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Nick Simper, keyboardist Jon
Lord, and drummer Ian Paice. Initially named Roundabout, the group originally served as a session band for ex-Searchers drummer Chris Curtis, before they embarked on a tour of Scandinavia. After their return to the UK, they
recorded their debut album, Shades of Deep Purple, which spawned a top five hit in the US - a rendition of Joe Southís "Hush". However, the bandís first effort failed to make an impact in the UK.
In 1969, their second album The Book of Taliesyn - released only in the US - climbed into Billboardís Top 40 with a cover of Neil Diamondís "Kentucky Woman". Following their third self-titled LP, Deep Purple's musical aspirations become more ambitious as Lordís quasi-classical keyboards rose to greater prominence. Tetragrammaton, Deep Purpleís American label, soon folded and, in the ensuring chaos, both Evans and Simper were dismissed.
Revitalised with the recruitment of singer Ian Gillan and
bassist Roger Glover, Deep Purple collaborated with the
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to record their next album, 1970ís Concerto for Group and Orchestra, a brave and
grandiose attempt to bridge rock with classical music. The
venture was a commercial failure, prompting Blackmore to
assume creative control of the band and navigate it into the
realm of heavy metal.
With the success of the heavier, guitar-driven sound of
1970ís Deep Purple in Rock, the groupís fortunes took a dramatic turn for the better as it entered its most creative and commercially successful period. Shipping over a million units, 1971ís Fireball devastated the UK music charts; multi-platinum success quickly followed with the monster singles "Strange Kind of Woman", "Smoke on the Water" and "Woman from Tokyo", and the studio recordings Machine Head and Who Do We Think We Are.
An internal dispute over creative control between Blackmore and Gillan saw the singer exiting the band in 1973; within the same year, Glover left the group as well. The success of Deep Purpleís 1974 albums Burn and Stormbringer masked the fact that the group was in serious decline, weakened by inner turmoil and the constant leaving and replacement of band members - Blackmore departed
the band after the completion of Burn; singer David
Coverdale and bassist/singer Glenn Hughes, recruited for
the same recording, quit in 1976.
Deep Purple dissolved within the same year, following a
farewell tour. In 1984, Blackmore, Lord, Glover, Gillan and
Paice reunited the band to produce their first studio album
in eight years, the platinum hit Perfect Strangers, which was followed three years later by The House of Blue Lights. However, old tensions resurfaced within the group, forcing Gillan to leave Deep Purple yet again, but he soon returned to participate in recording 1990ís The Battle Rages On.
During the supporting tour, Blackmore quit the band to be temporarily replaced by guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani. In 1994, Steve Morse, fresh from a stint in Kansas, was recruited to become Deep Purpleís guitarist; reinvigorated, the group returned to the studio for 1996ís Purpendicular. Released to critical and commercial acclaim, the album was followed by 1998ís Abandon and the 1999 classical collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra entitled Live at the Royal Albert Hall.
- Pictured Within
- Wait a While
- Sitting In a Dream
- Love is All
- Wring That Neck
- Concerto for Group and Orchestra - Movement I
- Concerto for Group and Orchestra - Movement II
- Concerto for Group and Orchestra - Movement III
- Ted the Mechanic
- Watching the Sky
- Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
- Pictures of Home
- Smoke on the Water
Deep Purple in Concert with the London Symphony
Orchestra is presented in a 4:3 screen aspect ratio, and is non-anamorphic.
Blacks are impressively solid, and detail is extremely sharp, providing excellent definition. There are no evident MPEG artefacts, while film artefacts are non-existent. Although the band and orchestraís staging is bathed in lurid, vivid lighting - comprised mostly of incandescent blues and reds - there is no obvious colour bleeding or over-saturation. Indeed, the transfer is quiet superb.
However, there are moments of substantial aliasing - mostly involving instrument strings, microphone stands, notes of sheet music, and piano keys. Despite the fact that these instances are somewhat noticeable, I found them not to be detrimental to the viewing experience. There also seems to minor grain present in some places, but this is quite insignificant.
The layer transition occurs at 1:07:07 at the end of Chapter
7. Of course, there is no proper moment in which to place
the layer change in a live concert; however, the transition
featured here is located in a lull, and is not too disruptive.
Despite the DVD cover slick stating otherwise, Deep Purple in Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra is not presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, but Dolby Digital 5.0.
Other than Ian Gillanís vocal technique which, at times,
seems to moderately slur his words, vocals are mostly clear
and easy to understand. Although the subwoofer is absent
from this presentation, there seems to be an incredible
amount of re-directed bass reflex to the rear surrounds; with vocals and instrumentation issuing from all five speakers, this audio mix is extremely aggressive.
There seems to be no obvious sound distortion or anomalies, other than an audible hiss near the beginning of Chapter 7. However, this can be attributed to sound recording techniques used in mixing the original presentationís audio, and is not indicative of the transfer itself. Indeed, as it occurs during a relatively quiet orchestral moment, I found it somewhat distracting. Fortunately, it soon dissipates.
Recorded at the Royal Albert Hall, London on 25 and 26
September 1999, Deep Purple in Concert with the London
Symphony Orchestra is an enjoyable, if somewhat eclectic, live presentation. Although there are some truly splendid renditions of some well-loved standards - most notably, Ronnie James Dioís gloriously vibrant Love Is All, the pulsating blues-driven Ted the Mechanic, and the awesome finale, Smoke on the Water - the concert highlight has to be the three-part movement Concerto for Group and Orchestra.
The centrepiece of this live presentation, Concerto for
Group and Orchestra succeeds in every department where
Metallicaís S&M concert failed. Ambitious and intricate beyond description, this serpentine movement - melodic and poignant, brash and aggressive - is jaw-dropping in its intensity and represents the perfect fusion between rock and classical music. In lesser hands, this musical piece would topple under its own lofty expectations, yet Deep Purple and the London Symphony Orchestra maintain complete control over it, never allowing themselves to be overwhelmed.
In short, the opportunity to witness and experience this
magnificent artistic work is well worth the price of admission alone. As far as live presentations are concerned, this is perhaps one of the best I have yet seen and, for devoted Deep Purple aficionados, certainly worthy of purchase. Those unfamiliar with the Concerto for Group and Orchestra, or, are hesitant at the prospect of viewing a quasi-classical concert, should at least rent it.
Send to a friend.
| And I quote...|
|"...One of the pioneers of heavy metal, Deep Purple continue to prove that they are still worthy adversaries to today's souless, generic hard rock acts with this excellent live presentation..."|
- Shaun Bennett
| Review Equipment|
- DVD Player:
Panasonic TX-43P15 109cm Rear Projection
- Audio Cables:
- Video Cables:
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