One of the band’s I’ve grown increasingly fond of over the past few years is Deep Purple. Working in rock radio for the first part of my career, I was familiar with all the big hits (read that as the songs that would make the fairly stringent rotation list) – Smoke On The Water, Highway Star, Hush, Kentucky Woman, Woman From Tokyo. You’d never hear anything from the Mark III line-up, songs like Burn and Stormbringer, which are fantastic slabs of rock. And even the classic Mark II line-up’s 80’s comeback hits, Perfect Strangers and Knocking At Your Back Door, never seemed to get radio play.
Thankfully, the good folks at Eagle Rock have helped spread the word about Deep Purple’s stellar catalogue with various DVD releases, including Phoenix Rising and the brand new DVD, Perfect Strangers Live.
Recorded on their Australian 1984 reunion tour, this lineup features the defining version of Deep Purple, with Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Roger Glover (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards) and Ian Paice (drums), firing on all cylinders. For a band that would later be renowned for their onstage feuding (mainly on Blackmore’s part), it’s very cool to see them playing together and actually enjoying themselves. 70s material like Strange Kind of Woman sits perfectly beside the then new material from the band, who remarkably perform without any sort of stage set-up. It’s the just the band, the music and an adoring audience.
Deep Purple continues to write and performing in the 2010s, though Ritchie Blackmore has been gone from the group for almost two decades and Jon Lord passed away last year, after retiring from the group in 2001. However, when it comes to bands reunited, the Perfect Strangers Live DVD is prime example of what happens when a group of musicians put their differences aside to create to music and rock for their fans.
You can order Perfect Strangers Live here.