07
Nov
11

DEEP PURPLE W/ORCHESTRA LIVE AT MONTREUX 2011-“REACHING NEW HEIGHTS” REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

In a stunning display of musicianship, chops and sheer bravado this blu-ray concert due out November 8 2011 is proof that Deep Purple may be possibly at the height of their powers as a band.  How could that even be possible?

It is simply breathtaking to see the band led by front man Ian Gillan so stoked and lost in the groove backed by a 38 piece orchestra. I don’t believe I have witnessed better versions of Highway Star, Lazy and Hard Lovin’ Man than the ones presented here in glorious high def blu-ray and 5.1 DTS sound.

Guitarist Steve Morse is simply on fire all the way through this show. His solo’s on Knocking at Your Back Door, Rapture of the Deep and his riff work on early songs such as Woman from Toyko and Maybe I’m A Leo are outstanding.

Morse never loses sight that his playing as dominant as it can be is really there to service the song and be a link in the chain led by Roger’s Glover’s inventive and commanding bass work.

Glover lays way down in the pocket or rides high on the neck while delving inside the drumming magic and intensive work of Ian Paice.  Glover, Paice and Morse are simply a joy to watch and listen to.

Keyboard man Don Airey shines so bright that he will never live under the shadow of any organist or keyboard player from any band, just from his performance on this DVD alone.  To say Airey is a galvanizing presence in the ambience of Purple’s overall sound is an understatement. At any point in the show he delivers. 

Don Airey like Garth Hudson from The Band is the glue that binds

Vocalist Ian Gillan is living and breathing the dream. Although noted as a rock “singer” his entire career he has never got the credit for his understanding of how soul singers like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett worked the nuances of being a great vocalist.

That is, when to sing, when not to sing and what to sing and write about. With this show and his over looked superb studio solo cd One Eye to Morocco Gillan should get his due.

Stephen Bentley-Klein the orchestra leader and the 38 member players don’t just sit in with the band.

No, this orchestra pushes the band and breathes new life into arrangements you have never heard Deep Purple perform in any previous context.

An absoulte must have release for any fan of intelligent rock music

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician, and popular online rock radio host who can be heard here http://emms.podbean.com/

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