Eagle Rock [Release date 30.10.14]
Deep Purple and orchestras go back a long way – to 1969 when John Lord composed The Concerto for Group and Orchestra with lyrics written by Ian Gillan and which was first performed by Deep Purple and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall on 24 September 1969.
Sadly Jon Lord is no longer with us, but vocalist Gillan, and the rhythm section of Glover and Paice are still carrying the Purple torch with a line up including Don Airey and Steve Morse. One which has been stable for the past 12 years.
Pre-dating the excellent 2013 Now What?! release, Live in Verona finds the band in the spectacular surroundings of the Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheatre originally built in 30 AD.
Joined on stage by a full symphony orchestra for a ‘greatest hits’ set list including, amongst others ‘Highway Star’, ‘Strange Kind Of Woman’, ‘Woman From Tokyo’, ‘When A Blind Man Cries’, ‘Knocking At Your Back Door’, ‘Perfect Strangers’, ‘Space Truckin”, ‘Smoke On The Water’, ‘Hush’ and ‘Black Night’.
But hold on a minute, does this sound familiar? Well yes, because back in 2011 we got an almost identical release on the same label – Live At Montreux, from the same Songs That Built Rock tour, with the same set list and same orchestral support. In fact, the gigs were only two nights apart!
That previous release got a 2CD, DVD and Blu-ray release and was very well received with GRTR! rating the CD****1/2 and the DVD ****. So what gives? Well on this release, I suppose you do have the marvellous backdrop of the amphitheatre, but it nevertheless rather smacks of being an ‘afterthought’. But hey, since it was clearly ‘in the can’, why not put it out there to swell the coffers?
Really, there’s not much to add to the Montreux reviews which, in summation are – a great set list, a top notch performance and while the orchestra adds a welcome extra dimension it at no point greatly adds, or for that matter detracts.
So it’s fairly safe to say that unless you’re really ‘sad’ – and I accept there will be those out there who are – you’re not going to need both releases. But if like me, the Montreux released passed you by, this is a no brainer. ****
Review by Pete Whalley
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