Deep Purple with Orchestra, Live in Verona (Eagle Rock Entertainment, 2014)

Filmed in 2011 at Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheatre originally built in 30 AD, Live in Verona finds Deep Purple delivering some of their most beloved songs with a full orchestra in tow.

Lead by conductor Stephen Bentley-Klein, the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt add majestic flair such Purple classics as "Strange Kind of Woman," "Knocking At Your Back Door," and "Perfect Strangers," but they never get in the way of the charm of the original source material. It's not suprising the British heavy metal elderstatesmen pull of the orchestral-rock thing. In 1969, Purple released Concerto for Group and Orchestra, the first-ever combination of a rock band performing alongside a complete orchestra.

For those of you who haven't kept up with Purple's personnel changes throughout the years, Live in Verona features the current lineup Ian Gillan (vocals), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums), Steve Morse (guitar), and Don Airey (keyboards). Gillan especially impresses here, hitting the higher notes of his repertoire with the kind of power usually expected from a singer half his age. Airey also does a fine job during the performance, accompanying the orchestra with tasteful keyboard runs throughout.

My only real complaint is the exclusion of "Child in Time" in the setlist. I think that song would have lent itself beautifully to the orchestral setting.

The Blu-ray version of Live in Verona is visually stunning, and thanks to engineer David Richards and mixers Eike Freese and Alexander Dietz, sounds like a million bucks. For those of you still damaged from Metallica's disappointing S&M live concert, don't worry, Purple are pros at this sort of thing.

Get It