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Deep Purple with Orchestra - 'Live In Montreux 2011' http://mail.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ff/c8/97/1937_DeepPurpleWithOrchestraLiveAtMontreux2011_1328034110.jpg Hot

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The band play impeccably and it makes for a very entertaining night's viewing.

There can't be many bands that have put out as many live recordings as Deep Purple. Here we are, 2011, with yet another Deep Purple release on DVD (as well as double CD). The current line of of Ian Gillan, Steve Morse, Roger Glover, Don Airey and Ian Paice are this time captured live in Montreux. The big difference about this tour is the legendary five-piece is touring with an orchestra. Deep Purple has had plenty of experience working with orchestras, but here they are tasked with meshing with the band for a full Deep Purple set, as opposed to Purple meshing with an orchestral score.

It's an intriguing prospect, and I do like strings and horns in my music, so I started thinking about some of the tracks I thought might work. My set list was miles off from the one they played, with some surprising choices included. Nowhere to be seen were tracks like 'Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming'; instead the rarely played and ferocious 'Hard Lovin' Man' from 'In Rock' appears! I must admit, it all works rather well.

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The Deep Purple overture which starts proceedings is a good indicator of how influenced Purple's music is by classical themes, as the various Purple signature riffs actually sound just fine played by the orchestra alone. When the band come crashing in with the obligatory 'Highway Star', the orchestra drops back and becomes a solid backing. One downside is Ian Gillan's vocals at this show. I love Gillan and I adored his last solo album 'One Eye To Morocco' and one of the best thing he's done in ages. His vocals were respectful of his age, and all the better for it, similarly on Purple's 'Purpendicular' album. Here, credit to him, he attempts every scream, but succeeds with none. He has nothing to prove to any Purple fan, so preferably he should have dropped the vocals down into something less testing.

Otherwise, he sings really well and the band/orchestra juxtaposition is great fun - from the more subtle orchestral backing in 'Maybe I'm A Leo' (a good example of Gillan singing just fine) and 'Strange Kind Of Woman' to the superb additions to 'Woman From Tokyo' and 'Lazy' which really gives these legendary tracks a new dimension - 'Lazy' even features an insane violin solo from conductor Bentley-Klein himself! 'When A Blind Man Cries' also works well, similarly the quirky 'No One Came' from 'Fireball': my favourite song of the night up until the storming version of 'Hush', which for me is the best example of band and orchestra working together perfectly.

Of course, the set is packed with the classics like 'Black Night', 'Smoke On The Water' and 'Space Trucking' and, as long as you don't focus too much on Gillan's screams, thoroughly enjoyable. The band play impeccably and it makes for a very entertaining night's viewing.

James Gaden

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