DEEP PURPLE: COME HELL OR HIGH WATER
Review by Michael Jacobson
Audio: Dolby Digital
5.1, Dolby Stereo
Video: Widescreen 1.66:1
Length: 120 Minutes
Release Date: June 6, 2001
Nearly every aspiring young rock guitarist learned the four two-note chords of Smoke on the Water first, and felt like a star after doing so.
That may be Deep Purples biggest legacy, but its hardly their only one. Come Hell or High Water, a 1993 concert recording on DVD, proves that.
With the original band members reunited, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice rocked through two hours of some of Purples best material. All the hits are included, from Highway Star and Smoke on the Water to Woman From Tokyo and Knocking at Your Back Door. Quintessential live performances are also hear, from the majestic and haunting Child in Time to the beautiful Anya, to the classical stirrings of Perfect Strangers.
The band is in top form, and Ritchie Blackmore is problematic usually the best pair of compliments one could afford the group. From the opening strains of Highway Star, it becomes apparent that hes not around. He comes out in time for his solo, which he halts just long enough to throw a cup of water at a cameraman. In a later interview segment, the other band members express their anger and disappointment over their prima donna guitarists antics.
When hes on stage, Blackmore plays with fire and fury, though he usually skulks around off stage until time for his spotlight. The other four all seem to be having the time of their life as they rock their way through classic after classic its a curious blend of four against one that makes up the DP legacy almost as much as the chords of Smoke on the Water.
The music is good, however, and fans of the group will be very pleased with this DVD offering. I would have preferred straight music to the one song, one interview clip that predominates the program. On disc, the concert should have been uninterrupted, and the interview footage assembled as a bonus program. But, there it is.
Come Hell or High Water should preserve in time all the great things Deep Purple was, as well as those things theyd probably rather not have remembered about them.
The overall dim look of the concert is probably more the problem of the film stock and not the transfer. Its not particularly bad, nor is it unwatchable in the least, but it looks old much older, in fact, than the mere 8 years it is. Colors are muted, images are soft, and there are occasional problems with grain and bleeding.
Forgo the stereo mix, crank the 5.1 audio and get ready to rock. Deep Purple is loud, loud, loud, and this surround mix puts you right in the center of their sonic assault, with deep bass from rhythm section Glover and Paice, and from Lords thundering organ music, and high, screaming notes from singer Gillan and Blackmores guitar. This is the next best experience to being at a DP show.
The disc contains some band member bios, plus a look at the Deep Purple line-ups over the years.
They played a good show, they apologized for their guitarist, and they contemplated a future without him. In other words, its everything weve come to expect from Deep Purple. Come Hell or High Water isnt perfect, but its a loud, powerful collection of great songs to spend a couple of hours rocking out with.