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Perfect Strangers Live (DVD)
Released: 2013, Eagle Rock Ent.
Reviewer: Celtic Bob
Over the past several years Eagle Rock Entertainment have issued many fantastic Deep Purple products. We have seen reissues of early albums and many live products on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray. As with everything some are better than others and PERFECT STRANGERS LIVE DVD is no different.
For many the PERFECT STRANGERS album was the last great Purple album. I tend to agree to a certain degree but NOW WHAT?! has changed that statement. The PURPENDICULAR album is also a very strong album that gets overlooked. Since the PERFECT STRANGERS album the band’s releases haven’t been consistently solid. This live performance from that 1984 tour showcases why many regard that era as the last great Purple.
The classic Mk II lineup of Purple are featured on this DVD. For those that are not too familiar with the band, this is the lineup that created “Smoke On The Water”. After several member changes they disband in ’76. Fast forward to 1984 and they get back together and create PERFECT STRANGERS. This live DVD showcases the sheer talent of each member and how well they perform with each other. Gillan just rips through the classics like the vocal god he is. Very few can touch him when it comes to powerful vocal delivery. He always gives it his all, even to this day. While now he may not have as strong a voice as he did on this concert but he still gives 110% and then some. Paice and Glover are possibly the strongest rhythm section around. These guys have been together for so long they play as one. As having witnessed a Purple show from front row I can honestly say I have never heard such an amazing drum sound in my life. Watching Paice hit the drums with such accuracy and power is nothing short of amazing. His playing here almost 30 years ago shows that same skill and precision that we all love. What is a solid rhythm section and powerful vocalist without a killer guitarist? For many Ritchie Blackmore is Deep Purple. His playing is part of the Purple sound and like Gillan this DVD showcases his talent and why he is highly looked up to. On stage is where Blackmore shines. He is playing solo’s like a madman and just plain rocking out for most of the concert. For a non-player his ‘Solo’ section was a bit much and looked to be more random noise compared to notes. During the solo sections of the songs however it was the polar opposite. It is easy to see why many see him as the sound of the band. For myself the current guitarist, Steve Morse is a fitting replacement and Ritchie is not missed. An integral part of the Purple sound is the late Jon Lord. His Hammond makes the Purple sound. Without him they are just another band. The element of the Hammond with the Leslie speaker added to all the talent of the other band members makes a complete package. Lord’s playing tie’s it all together.
Just like most tours they play the old favourites alongside newer tracks from the current album. This is no exception. It was the video for “Knocking At Your Back Door” from this album that exposed me to the band. The live rendition on here is nearly the same as the studio version, just more lively. Almost every song you’d want played is performed. Beginning with “Highway Star” and ending with “Smoke On The Water” we get the near perfect concert experience. Apart from a few missing songs the only drawback is the video. Unfortunately we do not get the crisp, clear HD picture that we have been accustomed to seeing. It is not terrible or unwatchable by any stretch just not what we are used to seeing. It definitely has that mid 80’s VHS feel to it which is not a bad thing.
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