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4 stars This DVD features the Mk 5 version of the band, Ian Gillan, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Roger Glover and Steve Morse at a concert in Florida in 2002. It really captures the excitement of a latter day Purple performance. Even although these guys are pushing 60 years old (Lord is fact 61), Morse is the youngest at 48; they put on a superb show. All the instrumentalists are at the top of their game but Gillan in particular is in really fine form, both with his voice and in entertainment value. He really knows how to engage the audience.

There is good track selection mainly from Fireball, Machine Head and Purpendicular, the only miscue is Mary Long from the Who Do We Think We Are album. This is universally recognised as one of the weakest albums from Mk 2 Purple.

They take a track to warm up, Woman from Tokyo isn't particularly inspiring, but when Ted the Mechanic kicks in they start rocking. After this is Mary Long, a weak song as mentioned. They redeem themselves immediately though with a superb rendition of Lazy and this is where the concert really takes off. The track is really infectious and gets the audience going. Then its straight into No One Came which is another great track. They don't do the coda though which is a bit of a shame.

Later highlights are Fools with some great light and dark passages, both Lord & Morse soloing superbly, and When a Blind Man Cries. It's well known that Blackmore did not like this track and Mk 5 Purple have made this song their own. Morse again puts in a superb emotional solo.

The concert ends with Speed King featuring some inspired duelling between first between Morse and Lord then between Morse and Gillan. The band are really enjoying themselves by this time and it shows.

The encore is suitably explosive. First we have Hush, which is a great sing-along number and the set closes with a storming Highway Star.

The camera work is first rate and there is plenty of close up shots of both Morse and Lord in action. The audio is top notch also although I can only vouch for the stereo option since I can't play the 5.1 surround sound. Bonus features are pretty minimalist with a Behind the Scenes feature and some interviews. You'll watch these once and that's it.

One main concern (and one of the reasons this DVD does not get 5 stars) is the number of tracks that are also featured in the earlier DVD, Total Abandon, which was recorded in Australia. No less than 8 of the 14 tracks are duplicated, and they are not sufficiently different for this to be satisfactory.

The second quibble is that its slightly too short at 1 hour 41 minutes. These two niggles plus Mary Long are enough to knock off half a star.

However to sum up, this is a superb DVD and one of my absolute favourites. No Purple fan should be without it.

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Posted Monday, March 5, 2007 | Review Permalink

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