Released: 2011, Eagle Records
It’s been a busy year for the collectors and fans of Deep Purple. The first three albums were reissued with bonus tracks, the PHOENIX RISING DVD came out, more live album reissues and now to round out the year, the bands newest live album, LIVE AT MONTREUX 2011. Now the band at least 40(!) live albums and this concert represents the fourth or fifth time the band have played there according to the liner notes. There are at least three other LIVE IN MONTREUX albums one from 1969, one from 1996 and one from 2006.
This album was recorded quite recently with Deep Purple headlining the 45th Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. The catch is that this time Deep Purple performed and recorded with the Neue Philharmonie from Frankfurt, Germany for a show that lasted just under two hours with the band and orchestra doing 19 cuts.
Deep Purple really were the very first band to combine classical and Rock from way back in 1969 and have been doing it on and off for years around the world. Inevitably these special shows are recorded for a live album and these days DVD. The track list is adequate covering songs from eight of the bands 18 studio albums. There is a nice mix of the expected hits and fortunately the band is trying to stay current and relevant play a couple of songs from newer albums like, RAPTURE OF THE DEEP and BANANAS. Naturally MACHINE HEAD gets the royal treatment with a full six songs from those sessions. There are the obligatory extended jams, some nice solo spots from Morse.
As expected the sound is immaculate and the orchestra and band blending together. Gillan voice sounded strained at times but it’s forgiveable, his vocal chords have a lot of miles on them and I’m sure the altitude up in the Swiss Alps doesn’t help. The whole package looks good with a nice essay inside talking about Montreux and naturally ‘Smoke On The Water’ with a rather nice sing-along segment, and so on.
With over 40 live albums under their collective belts, it would be hard for anyone except the most dedicated fan to truly be able to dissect and analyze the concert in relation to the other live albums. If you are one of those guys bump my rating from a 3 to a 4. The rest of us can just enjoy another great live album from Montreux, albeit a bit redundant and unnecessary, by this veteran band with the added bonus of the orchestral treatment.