This’ll be a huge one. Go get yourself a beer or three…
This was in the Stack Of Awesome from Mike the one and only Lebrain, and it’s incredible. It’s a Dual-Disc, CD on one side, DVD on the other. I’ll do both separately.
Unchain Your Brain is a blistering blast of the rawk, featuring Joe Satriani. Need I say more? Bluesy Blue Sea is a raunchy stomper featuring Janick Gers. This one churns something fierce! I laughed a bit, as I don’t know anyone who says the word ‘bluesy’ so that sit rhymes with ‘blue sea.’ Around here, it’s ‘bloozy.’ But anyway, it’s very clever. I liked this track a lot!
Day Late And A Dollar Short picks up the pace again and features Uli Jon Roth and Ronnie James Dio (RIP). Now, an opening line like “Once I tried to eat myself alive…” makes me say, um, what? Did you use BBQ sauce? And then later, “Once I tried to set myself on fire…” Seriously, someone get this dude some help. Great tune otherwise. And I have to say, anyone who puts Ronnie James Dio on backing vocals has got some stones!
Men Of War features Steve Morse and Johnny Rzeznik. It starts out gentle but that’s just a ruse. Before you know it, it’s a decent rocker. Gillan really goes off on the screaming thing, real vocal gymnastics (some of which are hilarious). When A Blind Man Cries is beautifully bluesy (or bloozy) featuring (as it does) the late Jeff Healey and Jon Lord. Wonder why they didn’t have Healey do the vocals to, “I’m a blind man…” Hm. Anyway, his solo is typically awesome, as is Lord’s work.
Sugar Plum I’m starting to think this guy is the king of opening lines, “I haven’t got a job ‘cos they said they don’t need no freaks.” Haha. This one features, Roger Glover and Ian Paice for a pretty straight-ahead rocker that sounds damn fine to me. Trashed ramps things back up and rocks like hell. I really liked this one. Of course I did, Tony Iommi’s guitar is on it. Also, Roger Glover and Ian Paice are here, as if it needed to be cooler.
No Worries is a bluesy/bloozy track featuring Michael Lee Jackson and some screaming from Gillan. I liked this one. A lot. Smoke On The Water is here, this time featuring Steve Morse, Johnny Rzeznik, Ian Paice, Roger Glover and Jon Lord. It’s a good version. What effect is that on his vocals? Did he need it?
No Laughing In Heaven ramps us back up and rocks along happily, featuring Roger Glover and Ian Paice. The lyrics are hilarious. Speed King… any song with a title like that and featuring Joe Satriani needs no introduction. What a rip-snorter. Love the organ solo, too.
Loving On Borrowed Time’s intro almost sounds Chinese in origin. Is it just me that thought that? Anyway, it features Steve Morse and Uli Jon Roth, and it’s a pretty love song. And that rounds out the album, except that there’s a bonus track called I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, featuring Joe Elliott. I can see why it got left off the record, as it is incongruous in sound to the rest of the record. But it’s a cool track on its own, a sort of cajun hoe-down song. Weird, but fun!
NB. All along, I’ve been mentioning who is featured on each track, but I haven’t mentioned Gillan’s contributions. You know something, the man can sing. There are some limbs onto which he ventures and maybe he shouldn’t have, but he’s got a rawk vocalist voice and he’s using it well.
CD SIDE IN SUM: KICK. ASS.
The animated menu is a bit silly. But this sort of thing always seems like a good idea at the time… Anyway.
First off, you get the full album in 5.1 surround and stereo. Click any track and watch a slide show of (as it lists it in the liner notes) the Who To Blame people.
Under the special features, there’s a whole whack of stuff…
– Brick By Brick: The Building Of Gillan’s Inn is a fun documentary that runs almost half an hour. You get to see studio work and behind the scenes stuff. The Jon Lord solo segment is awesome, and of course they pack it right next to Jeff Healey playing, making it double hard to watch since neither is with us anymore (RIP). Watching the isolated Ian Paice drum part on Smoke On The water made me wonder just how tired he is of playing that tune. Michael Lee’s drum solo was… something else. The Fanny Craddock part was out of the blue… the rawk has gotta have the t&a, of course. A bit later, it’s Ronnie James Dio (RIP). What comes out of all this is how much they clearly had putting this thing together. Very, very cool.
– The Bootleg Basement gives us fan-shot video of Deep Purple in concert at Flanders Expo, Gent, Belgium 1994-06-18. It’s grainy as hell, but Satriani’s on guitar and it’s more than we’d see if it didn’t exist, right? Right! There’s also When A Blind Man Cries and Speed King. Neat!
– Another neat feature is Smoke On The Water where you get to choose your soloist on guitar. Choices are Joe Satriani, Michael Lee Jackson, Steve Morse and Jeff Healey. This is audio only, and I didn’t sit through all four (yet), but it’s a neat idea.
– There’s track commentary for every album track here from Ian Gillan, too. Wild.
– The Witness Protection Program is a fun photo montage of people from the project (with a bonus track version of Can I Get A Witness playing in the background, nice touch).
– Some liner notes are here too, as well as a discography.
I didn’t launch the DVD-ROM to access yet another version of Smoke On The Water (featuring Steve Morris). It didn’t feel necessary this time around. But there’s pre-ripped AAC and WMA files here too, which is a thoughtful touch.
DVD SIDE IN SUM: KICK. ASS.
TOTAL SET IN SUM: A complete package. Freakin’ fantastic. Thanks so much, Mike! Seriously, THANKS!