Mike sent me this one. He’s a hugely knowledgeable Deep Purple fan, so it’s an honour to receive a record he admires.
It’s also cool because it’s recorded live at the 40th anniversary of the Montreux Festival, and of course if you remember your Smoke On The Water lyrics, there’s a lot of resonance there…
So. To the record…
Pictures Of Home is a strong opener, with a real driving beat. There are solos all over this one, by way of introduction. The guitar and keys get at least two each. But there’s no rest for them, as they blast straight into the faster pace of Things I Never Said, another great rock song that bashes along happily. There’s another huge guitar solo, and that riff could (at times) almost be ZZ Top… or is ZZ Top (at times) almost Deep Purple? Hmm… Great tune, regardless.
Strange Kind Of Woman is a thumping barroom blues… and that’s what all this is, isn’t it? Boil it all down, these guys are the world’s greatest roadhouse band who elevated to a stratosphere untouched by others. And this record is a document of a band that never left that peak (or if you argue they did, it can’t have been for long, surely). It’s all still rock and roll in its heart, though. Songs like this prove it. Rapture Of The Deep saunters along bluesily. There’s almost a middle eastern feel to it, at times, too. There’s a really superb instrumental chunk through the center of this track.
Wrong Man is truly heavy, the sound is huge. It never quite achives the lift off the other songs have, but maybe that’s the point. Let the riff hang there and the rest will be as it is. This is, after all, a band that got huge on one of the simplest riffs ever. Of course, simple doesn’t mean unworthy. There’s power and clarity in simplicity. Anyway, all deference to the man but this song is actually better when he stops singing and lets the band play on.
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye has a fun Not Fade Away beat that they rock up, off and on. The environmental message is good, but I don’t think anyone can sing that stuff without sounding strident. I idly wonder how many natural resources they used up for the show… When A Blind Man Cries is kind of a silly title (I mean, what, it looks the same as when anyone else cries?), but it’s a blues no matter what he says in his intro of it. And it is a lovely one, at that. Slow, soaring, very smooth. As with all the tracks here, there’s a lovely guitar sound. Oh yeah, I could play that one again, no trouble.
And now, as if all of that wasn’t enough, here is where (I believe) the record really takes off. I could just write OMG THAT WAS AWESOME for all of the next five tracks, but that would get pretty boring. But these five together feel like a concert within a concert, self-contained. As though those other great tracks were a warm-up (haha yeesh) and now we’re to the meat of it. Holy crap this was amazing. I’m just going to leave the last five titles here, you’ll understand why that’s ’nuff said…
Smoke on The Water
Yessir, that was huge. The vocals were a bit forced, in Highway Star especially, but who cares? I loved the jazzy version intro to Smoke. And so on and so forth.
In sum: All I can say is wow! Totally rockin’, playful, creative, the lot. It’s the sound of a great band in full flight.
Just go get this. Seriously. There is more than enough in this single disc to keep anyone busy for ages. Great work, excellent sound quality, everything. Oh baby.
Thanks heaps, Mike!