DVD Review: Deep Purple With Orchestra – Live In Verona

DVD Review: Deep Purple With Orchestra – Live In Verona
Eagle Rock Entertainment
All Access Rating: B+

Deep Purple With Orchestra -
Live In Verona 2014
Any list of the world's most spectacular outdoor concert venues would be woefully incomplete without an entry for Arena di Verona.

Originally built in 30 AD, the beautifully preserved Roman amphitheatre provided a dramatic and elegant backdrop for a glorious 2011 performance from hard-rock giants Deep Purple, backed on this enchanted evening by the full instrumental might of the Neue Philharmonie Frankfort and lushly filmed for a new DVD "Live in Verona" released by Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Lending added weight, complexity and richness to a set loaded with familiar classics, the orchestra – obviously relishing the moment, playing with both passion and precision – pushes and prods Deep Purple to go for broke and drive "Highway Star," "Strange Kind of Woman" and "Woman From Tokyo" like getaway cars used in a daring bank heist. It is, indeed, the thrill of the chase that still moves Deep Purple.

Quick cutaways make the action onstage come alive, the cameras expertly capturing Ian Gillan's expressive wails and honing in with artful subtlety on the virtuoso chops of guitarist Steve Morse, drummer Ian Paice, keyboardist Don Airey and bassist Roger Glover – Morse's fluid soloing brilliance drawing most of the attention, and rightly so. And while they plow through "Knocking at Your Back Door," "Space Truckin'" and "Smoke on the Water" with the usual organ-fueled horsepower of a dependable, rugged vehicle that has a lot of miles on it, Deep Purple is at its best here when swimming in the sonorous, mystic oceania of a breathtaking version of "Rapture of the Deep" and giving a soulful rendering of "When A Blind Man Cries." Bonus versions of "Hush" and "Black Night" make this a package worth getting.

Of course, this isn't the Deep Purple of old, some of the fire of youth having understandably diminished over time, although the visually stunning "Live In Verona" proves they're still eminently capable of burning this lovely setting to the ground when properly motivated. And they are in fine form here, even if the bloom is off the rose, so to speak, when it comes to seeing Purple once again perform with an armada of strings and other classical accoutrements.
– Peter Lindblad

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