On January 24, a new Deep Purple live CD will be released to public. But this time it’s not just the recording of a “normal” rock show – it’s the recording of Deep Purple celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original “Concerto For Group and Orchestra” performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. And as you know – to get a stunning party, besides great music you also need to invite some good friends. So did Deep Purple…
Jon Lord – “Pictured Within”, “Wait A While”
The CD starts with the title-track of Jon Lords latest solo release “Pictured Within”, this time with Miller Anderson on vocals. I already had the chance to see this song performed live during Jons solo tour in 1999 with Dieter Müller on vocals. And although I was a bit sad about the fact Miller Anderson wasn’t on tour with Jon, I really won’t say this version is better. It’s now the original vocalist from the CD, it’s a bit different – that’s all.
Next song is “Wait A While”, besides the title track my favorite piece of music on “Pictured Within”. What can be said about Sam Brown that hasn’t already been said? I don’t know. She’s brilliant, stunning, fantastic. The song itself sounds a bit different than the well know versions – now with much more orchestra in the background than in the sparse, original instrumentation.
Roger Glover – “Sitting In A Dream”, “Love Is All”
The next two songs are the solo-performances of Deep Purples bass player Roger Glover. He presents two songs of his 1974 solo work “Butterfly Ball”, also featuring the original vocalist – this time it’s Ronnie James Dio.
In comparison to the original tracks, both songs sound a bit fresher and more compact than the original instrumentation, the background vocals and orchestration in “Sitting In A Dream” are just wonderful.
Ian Gillan – “Via Miami”, “That’s Why God Is Singing The Blues”
Ian Gillan starts with “Via Miami”, a song of the “Accidentally on Purpose” album he did with Roger Glover about ten years ago. As “AoP” is my favorite Deep Purple-spinoff-album, I was really glad to see this song being included in the setlist – especially in such a good and fresh version.
“That’s Why God Is Singing The Blues” follows in a “it should have sounded like this on the original recording”-version. Nothing more to say :)
Steve Morse Band – “Take It Off The Top”
Then starts the instrumental section with the two Dixie Dregs songs “Take It Off The Top” and “Night Meets Light”. I didn’t like the original version of “Take It Off The Top” too much, mostly because of the sound. But this take sounds fine to me and is also a bit more compact than the studio release.
On “Night Meets Light” I can’t comment anything, as this song was dropped off the CD release. Let’s hope it’s still on the video and DVD…
Ian Paice – “Wring That Neck”
The last song of the solo section is “Wing That Neck”, played in an interesting and unusual jazzy big band version. Seems Ian picked a Deep Purple song as he still hasn’t published a true solo album.
Deep Purple – “Concerto For Group And Orchestra”
The second CD starts with the “Concerto For Group And Orchestra”. AlthoughI was looking forward to hear this one with mixed feelings, as I still belive that the best guitar work Ritche Blackmore ever done was on the original “Concerto”-recording.
It’s an interesting experience to have just two live recordings of a piece of music, recorded with a 30 year distance inbetween – especially with some parts of the “Concerto” being changed and/or rewritten. In can’t comment (and won’t comment) on the several changes of the “Concerto” itself, as I’m very familiar with the “old” version and only had a week to listen to the new one – but there’s one thing for sure: The London Symphony Orchestra plays much better than the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which did – in comparison – a lousy job on the original recording.
Deep Purple – “Ted The Mechanic”, “Watching The Sky”, “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming”, “Pictures Of Home”, “Smoke On The Water”
The last part of the concert is Deep Purple celebrating some of their own songs together with the orchestra. Although I like the versions of “Pictures Of Home” and “Watching the Sky” very much, my personal winner is “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming”. Together with the orchestra the impossible comes true: this song sounds better than ever before.
The set is concluded by “Smoke On The Water”, played together will all the friends who were performing during the earlier parts of the show.
The music on this compact disc is great – besides never heard versions of old classics (“Wring That Neck”), interesting solowork (“Pictured Within”) and new classics (“Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming”) it also offers a stunning performance of the “Concerto For Group and Orchestra”.
Sadly there are some technical details which make the CD a bit less than perfect: first of all, “Night Meets Light” is missing. Ok, there’s also a video-clip of the “Smoke On The Water” performance on CD1, but we will have this on the video and DVD release. Why leave out a song for this?
The running order of the songs is also messed up – “Pictures Of Home” is included as last song on CD1, right between “Wring That Neck” and the concerto.
And finally, the complete concerto is just one single 50 minutes song. I would have prefered to see it split into the three original movements.
But all these are just stupid little details and nothing important – what leaves us with a fine 2CD of a brilliant show.