A consummate performance from a consummate performer

In between the recording of their last two albums, Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan embarked on a solo tour of Europe, and apparently inspired by his reticence to listen to any of his live recordings, this is the CD component of a series of shows (#1 is  DVD filmed in Moscow; #3 a vinyl set recorded in London) that highlight what a strong performer this rock legend remains.

This is a sprawling two hours-plus of the voice of one of rock’s greatest acts putting his own personal spin on some of their best known songs, but, importantly, also giving air to some lesser known tracks. 

Those who still follow the man’s career would be unsurprised to find that his vocal prowess is undiminished. He isn’t, of course, doing high-end “Child in Time”-like screams anymore but the range and richness of his voice remains extraordinary. Between tracks he is breezy and charming, and more than happy to allow his sidemen to cut loose appropriately, letting them stretch out on Beethoven’s Ninth and turning “Black Night” into an eight-minute jam. Most of the usual suspects are in the set-list, but the real highlights are songs that haven’t been regular part of a Deep Purple performance: “Anya”, for example, and “Razzle Dazzle” from Bananas. Perfect Strangers’ title song even gets a run.

The sheer number of Purple-related live releases and re-issues means any further additions to that side of the catalogue need to be particularly special. Gillan was no doubt aware of this, and it maybe his ambivalence to live recordings that has worked counter-intuitively in this album’s favour. It is a consummate performance from a consummate performer. Certainly one to add to the collection.

  1. Hang Me Out to Dry
  2. Pictures of Home
  3. No Lotion for That
  4. Strange Kind of Woman
  5. Razzle Dazzle
  6. A Day Late ‘n a Dollar Short
  7. Lazy
  8. Rapture of the Deep
  9. When a Blind Man Cries
  10. You’re Gonna Ruin Me Baby
  11. Ain’t No More Cane on the Brazos
  12. Difficult to Cure (Beethoven’s Ninth)
  13. Anya
  14. Perfect Strangers
  15. Hell to Pay
  16. Demon’s Eye
  17. Smoke on the Water
  18. Hush
  19. Black Night