Deep Purple's Live At The Olympia '96 reviewBy Fabio Fickle
I got the English release on July 30th and paid 25 reais (about 25 dollars). A very great deal, considering 'normal' imported double-CDs cost 50 reais (25 each one, although you can't buy it separated :-))
PACKAGE IMPRESSIONS: The cover is very creative and different (with an "Official Bootleg" sticker on it). A great Roger's idea and a great Jamie's graffiti work. The backcover shows a picture of the gig. The sleeve includes lots of small pictures (some of them from The Highway Star site!) and another excellent graffiti effort. The CDs are picture discs - but I won't tell anymore, I will let this surprise for you. This album is a real luxury and the band deserves a whole truck of congratulations. I just couldn't wait to come home and listen to it!
FIRST SOUND IMPRESSIONS: The first thing that came to my mind when listening superficially to the album at the record store was that the songs were in the same tempo as the studio versions - usually Purple is faster alive than in studio. I don't have any idea what's the reason, but this in definitely not a bad thing. In the other hand, the energy on stage and the approach of the band are much better than in the last concerts. It seems that Blackmore attitude was really annoying the band's performance on stage. We can even say that Purple has reborned with Morse. There's no doubt that Ritchie is a genious and a legend alive (he's my favorite guitarrist ever as well), but his time in Deep Purple is over by now.
SET LIST: Excellent selections were included on this live album. If Ritchie hadn't gone, we would probably never listen again to songs like "Maybe I'm a Leo" or "Pictures" alive. The only objection is the great number of Purpendicular songs: 6. These are great songs, but are taking place of anthological tracks like "Child in Time" (we can hear people from the crowd screaming this name all long the gig). Who didn't want to listen to Steve's improvisation during this one? But maybe Gillan's voice is not the same as 25 years ago. Never mind! Enjoy it.
TRACK BY TRACK:
"Fireball" - A great performance and a great song to start the show. Jon's hammond sounds magical! Steve's solo is quite similar to Ritchie's original. And that's a great point about him: he keeps the soul of some solos but puts his own personality on it. Other solos are completely different (and more virtuous) but have a lot to do with the songs. Can't tell you with words the feeling you get when listening to Big Ian singing this one. At the end, they slow down and start the main riff of "Into The Fire" - just the main riff.
"Maybe I'm a Leo" - Long time no see...it's a long time we don't have this one on a live album. I love this song and this version is so special: it starts with Paicey's drum beat, the break, and then the song begins. Steve's distorted guitar sounds pretty good on the classic songs, and he frequently uses his pedals. You just can't imagine how well Seteve's sound matches with Jon's sound. In the end of the song, a great whammy bar show by Mr. Morse!
"Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic" - What an excellent guitar riff, ah? This song has a special melody. It gives me a frenzy everytime I listen to Ian singing: "Uh uh uh uh uh u-uh...". The new songs got along very well with the classic ones. And it still sounds like the old (and good) Purple!
"Pictures of Home" - Another 'magnifique' surprise. The best live version I have ever heard, really spectacular. This song always chills our body! Steve's solo is much better than the original. And it's time to Roger to show us his bass qualities with his solo - it really touches the crowd. After a keyboard solo and a second guitar solo, Jon gifts us with a classical-style one. They finish this one and quickly start "Black Night".
"Black Night" - We just can't get out of the 'coma' after "POH" and they come with 'Oh oh oh-oh...wo-ow!'. During the vocal parts, it seems that the guitar is missing - and it really is, Steve plays just some licks - but when it comes the solo...nobody catches him! Just pay attention to the virtuous 'duel' between Steve and Jon - fantastic! Later on, Steve starts playing some licks on his guitar and the crowd repeat it singing - thunderous!
"Cascades" - Begins with a slow hammond. Suddenly, the break (with horns) and Ian starts singing. I appreciate this one very much. 'I'm not you lover now...' - a great chorus. And a great Paicey's drum beat. When it comes to the solo...it's incredible!! Steve and Jon playing together the very fast intro to the guitar solo...it really touched my heart. After that, Steve sound in the slow solo is kind of enigmatic. There's nothing to complain about the solos of this track!
"Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" - An extraordinary and beautiful guitar intro. When Ian starts singing and Jon starts the hammond it's impossible not to go crazy. And I just can't forget to mention the excellent drum work by Paice. After all, this is a very beautiful song - hard to find in other bands nowadays. I won't tell you about this other superb guitar solo cause it's very boring to repeat the same thing many times :-)
"Woman from Tokyo" - It starts with the drums, then the guitar and then the band together (just like on the studio version). Pay attention to Roger's bass licks during the main riff in the intro. The slow part of the middle of the song is beautiful and touching as always: 'So far away...'. Jon's piano-style solo carries a lot of inspiration and happiness.
"No One Came" - I love this bass line (thank you, Roger!). And here's probably the biggest surprise of the night: who would imagine they were going to play this one? The horns make a lot of difference and this track shines like new! Not to mention the surrounding solo parts...
"The _|_ Waltz" - This is the first time Ian plays his harmonica at this show. The horns make a great sound again and it's harmonica time: Ian can really play that thing. But I still think that this song could be let out of the set list. They could have played "Hush" or "Lazy" instead.
"Rosa's Cantina" - Well, another _|_ song. Jon's hammond in the beginning of this song is just killer. Ian's voice is quite special too and he 'strikes' the harmonica again. I have to tell you that this song is very very rich. No solos though.
"Smoke" - The question we were asking ourselves all these days: "What will Steve do on the legendary "SOTW"? I tell you: first he plays a very crazy intro (I wonder how did he do that...), but it doesn't take a long time. He does the main riff (with a great distortion) and then the song starts. On the chorus, we can hear the crowd sing pretty loud with Ian, it is really impressive. Steve's solo keeps that 'Ritchie's live SOTW solo pattern', but more virtuous (as you may have guessed). It sounds great! Then Jon does his famous 'solo of the night' with hammond, standard keyboard and piano sounds. If you know anyone who doesn't go nuts with this part of the gig, please introduce me to him/her. Well, the solo continues until Jon starts "WABMC".
"When a Blind Man Cries" - There's no doubt this is the most beautiful moment of the show. When Ian starts singing, not just *a* blind man cries: all the people cry, cause this moment is really thoughtful. And this is the first time in my life I hear an extremely fast solo with lot of feeling. Who but Steve could do that with a guitar?
"Speed King" - Starts with a piano sound (not a hammond like Jon uses to do). I have to tell you that this is one of the 'strongest' versions of this song I have ever heard in my life! Just can't tell you with words. Where did they found so much energy? And to the solo lovers...here is the best guitar-keyboard solo ever heard! I'm not kidding, Steve and Jon break the limits of the superb. It's too much music to my ears...This is the solo of the century, man! Oh god, if Beethoven could listen to them...Do a favor to your ears and listen to this masterpiece. This is the last song of the 'normal' set list. But there were still a couple of songs to be played.
"Perfect Strangers" - Like most fans, I think this is one of the best instrumentals Purple have made in their career. When it comes that instrumental part in the middle of the song, we realize this is the best rock band of all times. And the lyrics are exuberantly singed by Gillan too.
"Hey Cisco" - In my opinion, one of the best _|_ songs. Hope they play this one on the next tours. The vocal lines are just perfect and everything's in its own place. No doubt Paicey's gifted us with that drums lines. Another excellent double solo (Steve/Jon) and - of course - another impeccable performance by Mr. Glover.
"Highway Star" - After introducing the three horns men - in french! - Big Ian gives us The Final Bless: this classic masterpiece. I have to tell you that I definitely didn't like the horns in this song. It was great in the other songs, but this is a sacred one and I think the horns were unnecessary, sorry. Anyway, "Highway" is as excellent as they always play it. Jon's solo was incredible. Steve mixed up the original solo and his own ideas. Result: an extremely touching and aggressive piece! It's the end of the gig.
AFTER ALL: Well, after listening to the album, we can say Purple is a 'new' band! They are very comfortable with Morse on the guitar. Certainly Blackmore was trapping the other members in his own musical world. Purple is much happier and energetic with this line up. I'm telling you, this band still have a long long road to run and a bunch of new superb songs to compose. How vast is Purple's musical universe! Their songs still sound fresh after more than 25 years! And the new tracks are really impressive too. I have no doubt: Steve is the right man for the band, seems that they're playing together for 10 years. So the best thing you have to do by now is to buy LATO. It's probably the best live album they have ever made (maybe better than Made in Japan). In a rating from 0 to 5, I would give it a 10! They didn't do the drums solo neither a guitar solo, but that's alright. It's a historical release and it should be obligatory to everyone who have a CD player at home. No more words.
Thank you for reading my LATO '96 review and hope it has influenced you to buy this album.