Friday, December 12, 2014
DEEP PURPLE: "with Orchestra - Live In Verona" DVD
Label: Eagle Vision 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
The picturesque scenery of Arena di Verona in Italy is a sight for sore eyes. It's Ancient Rock live at the Ancient rocks so to speak and yes, pun intended, but there's no need to agree with my dry sense or complete lack of humour. Filmed at the Roman amphitheatre originally built in 30 A.D. it's definitely one of the most beautiful, atmospheric, and not to mention historical outdoor venues out there.
What better place to have the U.K. geezers of Deep Purple performing their classic songs in a new orchestral arrangements? It's drama, the Stephen Bentley-Klein's Frankfurt-based Neue Philharmonie, and the line-up of Ian Gillan (vocals), "newbie" Steve Morse (guitar - since 1994 that's 20 years now), Roger Glover (bass), Don Airey (keyboards) and Ian Paice (drums). The latter sporting a matching face to the Roman building and I'm not sure who's been there the longest at the back of the stage? I know that this was recorded during their 2011 tour, so it's been close to four years already.
There's no extra, no fuzz, no boring distraction, merely the live gig that ticks in at approx 115 mins and the place is packed with a loud audience. It's hardly their first time dabble with orchestra as Purple released 'Concerto for Group and Orchestra' already back in 1969 which featured the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. That was however a Jon Lord three-movement concept album and this is more or less the best of Purple. I do miss a couple of classics and especially "Child in Time" and some more of the 80s stuff would have been fun too. You do however get both "Perfect Strangers" and "Knocking At Your Backdoor" and they sound great with full-on orchestra and tasteful mix.
The we-are-tired-of-this song, "Smoke On The Water", gets a new dimension thanks to Frankfurt dudes and there's no need have a break and put on the kettle as of yet. Gillan delivered that day/evening and the rest of the musicians are keeping it nice and clean throughout the concert. The Don Airey solo is sort of strange though as you always expect 'the Walrus' to appear behind the keys. It's tight, well-performed, great camera work, and most certainly a must have to the fan of DP. Argh. Okay. I simply can't resist to quote myself. - "Ancient Rock Live at the Ancient Rocks".