Originally formed in 1968, England’s Deep Purple are considered pioneers in the world of hard rock, heavy metal, and progressive rock and metal. The band has always remained in evolution, but perhaps the strongest lineup consisted of Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Jon Lord (organ and keyboards), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums), and Ian Gillan (vocals). Known as the Mark II, this lineup was originally active from 1969 to 1973.
After 11 years part, the Mark II lineup came together again in 1984, surviving until 1989, during which time they released the full-length studio CD Perfect Strangers and toured the world, much to the delight of their fans. It is this tour that is chronicled in Eagle Rock Entertainment’s “Perfect Strangers Live,” which was recently released on DVD.
Clocking in at an outstanding 141 minutes, “Perfect Strangers Live” captures Deep Purple at their rollicking best. All the stunners are on full display, from the classics “Child in Time,” “Highway Star,” “Space Trucking,” and “Woman from Tokyo” to the 1980s hard-rocking blasters “Perfect Strangers,” “Under the Gun,” and “Knocking at Your Back Door.” The band is in sync throughout the performance, with the band members feeding off each other to create some intense and satisfying music.
One particularly important characteristic captured on this video is Deep Purple’s unwavering attempt to keep all their material fresh. Thus, the bulk of the songs include extended pieces, many of which go beyond simple solos. This approach gives hardcore fans a special treat, as the core of each song remains viable but the music itself is allowed to ebb and flow, blossoming into its own distinct beast. And when the solos do come, they are intense, from Ian Paice’s blistering drum solo and Blackmore’s ripping noodling to Lord’s orchestral flourishes. Even Ian Gillan gets in on the action, using his voice as its own distinct instrument.
Deep Purple’s blues origins are also on display, with the band setting down extended versions of “Strange Kind of Woman,” “A Gypsy’s Kiss,” and “Lazy.” The blues-driven groove on all these tracks is so infectious you will want to get up and dance. It is during these tracks that Lord and Blackmore seem to have their most fun, as their interplay is a joy to listen to. And it’s also fun to listen when Blackmore and Gillan riff off each other, with Gillan setting down hooks with his voice!
Rounding out the package is a tour documentary, which was a little too short but otherwise an okay feature. Fans of Deep Purple, proto-metal, and hard rock owe themselves this DVD, as it captures one of the most powerful and influential bands ever to come out of England. Deep Purple rightfully serves as one of the pillars of heavy metal, along with founders Black Sabbath [http://www.blacksabbath.com/] and innovators Led Zeppelin [http://www.ledzeppelin.com/].
The DVD comes in several packages: a single DVD, a 2CD/DVD, and DVD/2CD/2LP. Show how deep your purple runs and get one today. The band continues to this day, having released Now What? with Ian Gillan fronting once again.