Deep Purple - 'Perfect Strangers Live'

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Deep Purple - 'Perfect Strangers Live'

A slice of history well worth reliving.

Deep Purple are known for many things – outstanding musicianship, volatile relationships leading to a long list of members past and present, some legendary songs and a plethora of live releases. The latest one, 'Perfect Strangers Live' showcases the classic Deep Purple Mk II line up, reunited for the first time since 1973. Each of them had been involved in their own high profile endeavors since going their separate ways. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore had formed Rainbow, where he was later joined by Roger Glover. Singer Ian Gillan had his own band and fronted Black Sabbath, while drummer Ian Paice and keyboard maestro Jon Lord had been in Whitesnake. However, a lucrative offer for them to reform as Deep Purple saw them release the excellent comeback album 'Perfect Strangers' and hit the road to perform again.

This is a long overdue release. 'Perfect Strangers' is one of the classic records in the Purple back catalogue, and the only well known recording to document any of the live shows was the average 'Live At Knebworth 1985' double album, which was taken from a radio broadcast. This DVD, filmed in Melbourne in 1984, is a far superior showing.

Kicking off with the old classic 'Highway Star', it's obvious early on that the chemistry is well and truly intact. Blackmore is a demon on guitar while Glover and Paice lock everything down. Jon Lord is majestic and Ian Gillan gives it his all. Material from 'Perfect Strangers' is here in abundance, with the title track, 'A Gypsy's Kiss', 'Under The Gun' and 'Knocking At Your Back Door' all wheeled out. Gillan's voice is a bit hoarse on the new material, most notably on 'Nobody's Home', but he handles older classics like 'Strange Kind Of Woman', 'Black Night' and 'Space Truckin'' without any trouble.

'Child In Time' doesn't soar quite as high as it used to, but is still a show stopper. Breakneck versions of 'Lazy' and 'Speed King' are excellent and the show of course closes with 'Smoke On The Water'. Musically, the band is on great form. Gillan is highly amusing with his introductions for each song, especially when he displays his mastery of different languages! Visually, the show is no frills – just five incredible musicians on a stage. No overtly fancy lighting, no backdrop, nothing. However, those happy to be entranced by Blackmore's playing or Lord's keyboard work won't care about that.

Available as a DVD, or as a 2CD/DVD set, this show won't topple 'Made In Japan' but is far superior to a lot of the live releases the band have put out since 1984. A slice of history well worth reliving.

James Gaden

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