|Deep Purple: Live at MontreuxLabel: Eagle Eye Media
Solid but unspectacular is an apt description of Deep Purple’s “Live at Montreux”DVD offering. This 1996 concert, which mixes classics along with tracks from the 1996 Purpendicular album, features the Mach VII line-up of Ian Gillan on vocals, Steve Morse on guitar, Jon Lord on keyboards, Ian Pace on drums and Roger Glover on bass. The disc also features five tracks from a 2000 concert at Montreux as well as a brief two minute monologue from Gillan explaining the circumstances surrounding the writing of “Smoke on the Water.” The intrigue of watching that song performed at Montreux, where the inspiration for the rock classic was lit (pun absolutely intended), is a nice touch.
Musically, the band functions well as Glover and Pace anchor down a solid bottom end allowing Lord and Morse to noodle away and shine. Gillan’s voice isn’t the most powerful instrument in the world, but he is serviceable and may not soar as high as he once did but gets through the material in a workmanlike fashion. He looks like he truly is doing what he enjoys and that is his appeal. I am sure he has performed “Smoke on the Water” and “My Woman from Tokyo” a bazillion times, but it doesn’t look like a chore to him. He is serving the audience what they want (and expect) and he delivers it with zest and enthusiasm.
Two versions of the Machine Head B-Side “When a Blind Man Cries” are included, one from 1996 and one from 2000. The only noticeable difference is the spectacularly diverse hairdos sported by Gillan. In the 1996 performance he has the crazy old rock star hair complete with the Cousin-It-long-hair-covering-the-face-look, while in 2000 he looks like a soccer dad. The song is an excellent showcase for Purple’s blues roots. “Ted the Mechanic” stands up as the strongest of the new material while readings of the old material allow Morse to carve out his own identity from underneath the shadow of guitar god Ritchie Blackmore.Overall, this is a good DVD for fans to add to their collection. Again, this is a solid but unspectacular effort. The fact that there is an audience some 37 years after their first album is a remarkable testament to the band’s legacy and endurance.
~R. David Smola