Deep Purple - 2013 Perfect Strangers Live [DVD]


ARTIST: Deep Purple
ALBUM: Perfect Strangers Live [DVD]
LABEL: Eagle Vision
YEAR: 2013


LINEUP: Ian Gillan - vocals * Ritchie Blackmore - guitar * Roger Glover - bass * Ian Paice - drums * Jon Lord - organ, keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Highway Star * 02 Nobody's Home * 03 Strange Kind Of Woman * 04 A Gypsy's Kiss * 05 Perfect Strangers * 06 Under The Gun * 07 Knocking At Your Back Door * 08 Lazy (Inc. Ian Paice Drum Solo) * 09 Child In Time * 10 Difficult To Cure * 11 Jon Lord Keyboard Solo * 12 Space Truckin' (Inc. Ritchie Blackmore Guitar Solo) * 13 Black Night * 14 Speed King * 15 Smoke On The Water



Of all the major hard rock bands who've ploughed a trail over the past 45 years you'd be hard pressed to find one who've released more live albums than Deep Purple.

That's not necessarily detrimental considering Purple's considerable live prowess, but with somewhere in the region of 30 live albums in the public domain it's somewhat of a case of overkill occasionally.

One Purple period which hasn't been oversaturated is the MK2 reunion tour in 1984/85, supporting the comeback album 'Perfect Strangers.'

To the best of my knowledge the only other release documenting this tour was 'In The Absence Of Pink' which showcased their headlining gig at Knebworth in 1985. That ragged set was released in 1991, so it's been a lengthy period since anything was heard from it.

This live recording is taken from their first reunion show in Perth, Australia, in November 1984, giving it significant historical value.

The live DVD is perhaps more of a draw than the double live CD, but this is a welcome addition to the Purple live history catalogue after some uninspiring Steve Morse era live albums and other cash ins from the 70's.

In retrospect this was perhaps the last time the MK2 version had any type of stability, falling apart shortly after. Amazingly I still recall being able to hear Purple's show at Western Springs in Auckland in 1984, despite living some 10-15 miles away! I think the whole street was outside wondering just what was going on.

The Songs

It's obvious listening to this show that the band was reenergized after more than a decade apart and were almost unbelievably enjoying themselves on stage.

The setlist competently mixed up familiar classics with selections off the new album and they sound excellent as Purple wheeled them out for the first time. Five make the cut, including the title track, 'Under The Gun', 'Nobody's Home' 'Knocking At Your Back Door' and 'A Gypsy's Kiss.'

I'm sure the crowd were wary of the new tracks initially, but I'd rather hear these live than five songs off 'Bananas' or 'Rapture Of The Deep.'

Listening to Purple knock these out effortlessly makes me realize just how inferior most of their studio albums have been since. Gillan in particular sounds invigorated, not pissing around as he does so often, which I suppose is part of his charm.

Every stale MK2 classic is there and it's curious to hear 'Child In Time' which wasn't always retained for future tours, not surprising listening to Gillan screaming to capacity.

What stands out most are the improvisational twists Purple take, with Lord and Blackmore going off in strange directions, with the latter throwing in 'Waltzing Matilda' and 'Jesus Christ Superstar' riffs during 'Strange Kind Of Woman.' Most importantly Purple sound heavy, as if they'd never broken up.

The difference is Blackmore himself, tearing his way through 'Space Truckin' with howling feedback at deafening levels and demonstrating why he was the master of his day.

During 'Speed King's breakdown he takes it on himself to briefly unleash the main riff to 'Burn' which blows everything else away. It could still be 1974 for a few seconds and it's tragic Gillan wanted no part of the Coverdale era live.

There's a six minute Jon Lord keyboard solo with 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' included, followed by the theme from 'Jaws' which again shows the band was having a laugh out there before they all hated each other again.

No matter how good this is, it's still a trial to sit through 'Black Night' and 'Lazy' though, both dead to me after years of overplaying. That's true of most Purple classics though, but listening to the crowd erupt at the start of 'Smoke On The Water' indicates how much they had been missed.

In Summary

Just the other day it was announced Purple once again had been overlooked for the pathetic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, whereas dullards Nirvana made it in on their first attempt. I wonder what the suits and snobs behind this fraudulent institution would think listening to this album, which blows away anything Nirvana did in their short history.

For a band who've had equal amounts of ups and downs, this was a positive chapter in Purple's nearly five decades of existence and reflects what was probably their really last great period as a legendary live act. It's easy to become wary of Purple live albums as a whole, but this ranks up there with their best and we should be thankful it was recorded in the first place, although why it took so long is another matter.

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