Deep Purple-In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra (1999)

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Released 19-Mar-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
Discography
Booklet
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 119:31
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:08) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Anthony Powell
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Deep Purple
London Symphony Orchestra
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $39.95 Music Deep Purple


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, closing credits over band farewells and applause

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Well, what can I say about Deep Purple? One of the seminal British rock bands, it has undergone no less than nine incarnations since it was originally founded in the mid 1960s. Some regard the "canonical" version to be Mark II (June 1969 - 30 June 1973), which consisted of Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Ian Gillan (vocals), Roger Glover (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards), and Ian Paice (drums). Many fans moaned the departure of Ritchie Blackmore in 1975. More than ten years later (April 1984 - April 1989) the band would return back to this configuration (Mark V) but some fans feel it never did quite recapture the glories of the past. Even more recently, the band returned back to this line up for a brief period (Autumn 1992 - 17 November 1993) as Mark VII.

    My brother was a devoted fan of Deep Purple, and it was partly out of respect for him that I've agreed to review this DVD. I did remember at least two of their albums - Machinehead and Made in Japan.

    Deep Purple-In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra was recorded live at The Royal Albert Hall during two concerts on 25 & 26 September 1999 where Deep Purple were joined by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann. These concerts featured the latest incarnation (Mark IX) containing:

    As you can see, this configuration is almost identical to Mark II/V/VII apart from the substitution of Ritchie Blackmore for Steve Morse. It's nice to see most of the boys back together again!

    Right from the start, we get the feeling that this is no ordinary Deep Purple concert. The opening number, Picture Within, features a rather lush, quiet, romantic and symphonic arrangement, not words you might ordinarily associate with the band! Fans of the band could be forgiven for wondering if they've stepped into some sort of bizarre parallel universe, or at least an episode of the Twilight Zone, or maybe they've wandered into a Three Tenors recital by mistake (the guest singer Miller Anderson even looks remarkably like Luciano Pavarotti!). The tempo doesn't become upbeat until Chapter 4 (Love is all), and most of the early songs feature guest singers (eg. Sam Brown, Ronnie James Dio) and even guest musicians - the "impromptu" jazz ensemble The Kick Horns with Annie Whitehead (trombone), Paul Spong (trumpet/flugelhorn), Roddy Lorimer (trumpet/flugelhorn), Simon C Clarke (baritone/alto sax/flute), and Tim Sanders (tenor/soprano sax).

The Concerto for Group and Orchestra sounds rather bombastic, but seems to me more like a pastiche of various themes from different classical periods rather than an integrated musical work. I'm glad to see Steve Morse strutting his stuff in the guitar solo in Movement I. By the way, this is the 30th anniversary live performance of the Concerto.

    Ted the Mechanic and Watching the Sky are more "traditional" Purple arrangements and Sometimes I feel like screaming features fairly good integration between the band and orchestra, plus a guitar solo from Steve Morse that really rocks the hall down. Pictures of home ends the concert, but of course we all know the night is not over until the band plays the perennial favourite Smoke on the water as an encore.

    In conclusion, "This is Deep Purple, Jim, but not as we know it."

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Track Listing

1. Pictured Within
2. Wait A While
3. Sitting In A Dream
4. Love Is All
5. Wring That Neck
6. Concerto for Group/Orchestra Movt 1
7. Concerto for Group/Orchestra Movt 2
8. Concerto for Group/Orchestra Movt 3
9. Ted The Mechanic
10. Watching The Sky
11. Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
12. Pictures Of Home
13. Smoke On The Water

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a superb full-frame transfer, encoded at high transfer rates (exceeding 8 Mb/s).

    The sharpness and detail is so good you can count the number of pores on the faces of the musicians during close ups.

    Likewise the colour saturation is superb and pretty much reference quality.

    Even though the video source looks remarkably clean, the transfer seems to be riddled with minor artefacts such as aliasing, shimmering and minor pixelization, particularly in dim situations.

    There are no subtitles on this disc, which is a pity as I wouldn't mind being able to view the lyrics to some of the songs.

    This is a single sided dual layer disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs at 67:08 between Chapters 7 and 8. This is mildly disruptive but as good a place as any since it is between songs.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track on this disc - Dolby Digital 5.0 encoded at 448 Kb/s.

    I found the dialogue in between songs to be fairly hard to follow, and of course Ian Gillian's singing style is such that I can't decipher the lyrics well.

    The audio quality is quite high, creating a full-bodied sound without sacrificing the ability for finer detail to come through. There is however a tendency for Jon Lord's organ to sound slightly distorted. The only thing I can complain about is that the very high frequencies seem slightly rolled off, perhaps in order to mask Dolby Digital high frequency artefacts.

    The surround mix rather aggressively positions the musicians and even vocals across all channels, creating the illusion that you are sitting amongst the musicians rather than in the audience - a rather disconcerting experience for me. The track will sound best if you have five full range speakers, as quite a lot of bass is directed even to the rear surround speakers, which is just as well since there is no separate low frequency channel.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This is a pretty minimalist DVD.

Menu

    The menus actually feature animation and audio, though the animation is rather subtle. Interestingly, the song selection screens don't present you with a list of songs, but using the up and down keys will move from song to song. The currently selected song will always scroll across the screen in a purple font.

Discography

    This is a set of stills listing band albums from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Booklet

    This is an eight page booklet with some somewhat rambling notes on the Concerto by Jon Lord on page 3, a montage of the band members (in black and white) in the centre pages, and musician and production credits on the inside back cover.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as I can tell, this disc the same all over the world, apart from NTSC vs PAL formatting.

Summary

    Deep Purple-In Concert With The London Symphony Orchestra features some rather interesting versions of Deep Purple classics as performed by the band together with a full symphonic orchestra and some guest musicians. I found it quite enjoyable and it is presented on a DVD with a superb video and audio quality. Unfortunately, the disc is pretty devoid of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Thursday, April 05, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (203cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront left/right: B&W DM603; centre: B&W CC6S2, rear left/right: B&W DM601

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