The latest incarnation of Deep Purple is going the route of many “classic” rock and/or metal bands, and are putting being accompanied by a symphony for a special release. This particular concert closed out the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival.
Many do not realize just how powerful a symphony sound can be without ever hearing one live. For this concert film, it helps when a heavy metal band is present to be matched and/or enhanced by the sheer boom that is power of a symphonic sound to help make for a nice example. The frequently bluesy riffs of Deep Purple, coming from songs both new and old, are complimented well by a large assembly of strings and horns. It should be noted that this is not a full symphony, but something similar to the size of a Count Basie orchestra setup. In fact, there are some songs where the symphony do not play at all, such a “Space Truckin” whose chunky riffs might be best left alone.
Deep Purple are heralded as pioneers of the heavy metal sound. Ian Gillen may not have the same rock n roll shriek in his voice that he used to but he is no slouch after being in the biz for over 40 years. The rest of the band are in very fine form at this performance, with some bonus points going to the particularly smooth playing of guitarist Steve Morse.
The set list, being 18 tracks long, offers up staples like “Smoke on the Water” and “Highway Star” along with samples from their entire back catalog. The lengthy set list emphasizes how much this is more fan service than something a new comer should encounter.
Widescreen 1.78:1. There are a wide array of shots used in this production and the quality maintains its integrity whether the camera is in close-up or at a distance. There is no pyro, or terribly fancy light shows to accompany the musicians so nothing too dynamic to judge. Still, it is a nice looking transfer.
LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Master Audio. The strength of the front speakers dips significantly if you choose to use the 5.1 track. This is understandable if you’re using the Stereo track since it would all be front anyhow, but if you’re looking to use a Surround setup, you might wish to rely on the DTS Master Audio. Beyond that, all three are well mixed, very nice sounding tracks.
Interviews: Each member of the band gives a decently long but never tedious interview. It is refreshing to hear veterans speak knowingly about music with the sort of enthusiasm you wish was shared by rock musicians young and old. Fans will be further validated in said fandom by watching these lads speak.
This is the sort of release that is catered to fans, and there are enough Deep Purple faithfuls out there to justify it. A swell rock n’ roll experience.