RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Deep Purple - Live In Verona
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Rating: B+

Sometimes a DVD/Blu-Ray is nothing more than the kinda-sorta way a classic rock band chooses to release a live album.  Other times, the concert visual adds so much to the experience that a DVD is the ONLY way it should be released.  Deep Purple, no (perfect) stranger to either the live album or an orchestral performance, simply tore it up on Live in Verona.

As good as the audio is, the visual aspect of the band, the orchestra and the amazing venue- the Arean di Verona, built in 30 AD in Rome- take this release over the top.  Okay, for all you superficial glamour-type Botox-generation mean people out there I will say this: the band does look a tad-bit older than you may remember.  There... we have said it, now get over it.  Too many times people are worried about the fact that their idols are getting older... and yet... they do not realize that sometimes, they also get better.  Deep Purple is a seasoned / strong band, musically, and they are not letting the fact they have existed as a group on this earth for several decades slow them down... —well not too much, anyway.  ( I am pretty sure they drink tea instead of ‘shots’.)

The concert features fine performances from all.  Ian Gillan still has a set of pipes, but he is smart and is not throwing his voice out during the first rocking song “in “Highway Star”.”  Some of the vocal hysterics are taken down a notch, but when he sings “Maybe I’’m A Leo,” ”Woman From Tokyo”  and “Perfect Strangers”” one can only smile and sing along.  Roger Glover and Ian Paice are such a tight rhythm section that they snap and pop, bounce and sway the grooves in each song, making it easy for the audience to get into the same pocket the band is in. 

The orchestra does a fine job of adding to the show and not turning it into a classical concert with a old-guy rock band in tow.  The orchestra knows how to stay out of the way, but when they can add something, they add it in a big way (insert large cymbal crash here...).  The two musical heroes of the evening are guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey, who may be the best two replacement players of all-time.  They have replaced two icons in rock music, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore who wants to hang with his hot wife and play a lute, and the late Jon Lord.  It seems amazing to say, but with Morse and Airey on-board, the other guys are not sonically missed too much.  Well, maybe they are missed to the point that if the planet could revolve backward and make it so those two could join in on the fun, then it would be a great thing. But sadly, Lord is gone and Blackmore is wearing tights, …so this is what we have to work with.  Suffice it say that, although Blackmore wrote some ingenious riffs, Morse does an impeccable job and Airey is no slouch; let’’s just leave it there. 

At the end of the day, Deep Purple is an iconic rock band that influenced the world.  They are still alive and well and finding exciting ways to both create new music and perform their classic tunes in fresh ways.  There may be some smoke on the water, but this band is not just blowing smoke... they are the real deal. 


Live in Verona Track Listing:

Deep Purple Overture
Highway Star
Hard Lovin’ Man
Maybe I’m a Leo
Strange Kind of Woman
Rapture of the Deep
Woman from Tokyo
Contact Lost
Guitar Solo
When a Blind Man Cries
The Well-Dressed Guitar
Knocking at Your Back Door
No One Came
Keyboard Solo
Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin’
Smoke on the Water
Black Night

By Jeb Wright