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

Deep Purple – Live at the NEC (DVD) 
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Rating:  B+

Hard to fathom that the year 2002 was 14 years ago!  Yet that is when Deep Purple’s Jon Lord announced his retirement from the band.  Veteran key-master and ivory-tinkler Don Airey came onboard to take control of the coveted keys from Mr. Lord.  Don is likely the ONLY man on the planet that could do this and do it so well, and so right.  It was a perfect choice in every way, much like Steve Morse being brought in 20+ years ago to take the place of Ritchie Blackmore.

This show took place at the NEC in Birmingham, England and was a fitting farewell to the gray-bearded maestro Lord.  Jon Lord brought more to Deep Purple than history lets on.  He was a giant of a man and had a heart as big as the massive hits he was a part of.  Seeing him play for the last time as a member of Purple is heart wrenching.  Seeing him and Airey performing together, next to each other brings tears to the rock and roll eyes.

It is often said that a rock film has ‘caught history in the making’... never has this been more true than it is in these emotional moments.

The concert lasts over 100 minutes and features many classic tracks, including “Smoke On The Water", "Woman From Tokyo", "Space Truckin'", "Highway Star", "Speed King", "Lazy" and "Hush."  Still, it is the night for the keyboardists.  This is the primary reason this concert was recorded, and why it is now released.

Deep Purple fans MUST MUST MUST own this classic concert.  That’s all…’nuff said. 

"Live At The NEC" track listing:

01. Fireball
02. Woman From Tokyo
03. Mary Long
04. Ted The Mechanic
05. Lazy
06. The Well Dressed Guitar
07. When A Blind Man Cries
08. Space Truckin'
09. Keyboard Solo
10. Perfect Strangers
11. Speed King
12. Guitar Solo
13. Smoke On The Water
14. Hush
15. Black Night
16. Highway Star

By Jeb “Hey---that guy Airey played on ‘Mr. Crowley,’” Wright?