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Ahoy 2000
The Highway Star

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Why no Concerto?

Gary Poronovich
Robert Daems

The tour

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"Jolly good, spiffing and all that."
Jon Lord

With this release it is finally possible to hear how the European 2000 Albert tour really sounded. We've heard the bootlegs but somehow they never really capture that perfect balance between the orchestra and Deep Purple. This one does.

For contractual reason "Concerto For Group And Orchestra" has been left off, so basically this is only two thirds of the show. However, what is here is an amazingly powerful and superbly produced show. Everything is just right in the mix and the music literally jumps out at you.

The orchestra comes to the fore and, together with Deep Purple, they deliver moments of pure majestic magic. From the delicately beautiful and very gripping "Pictured Within" over the intricate and fascinating Jon Lord and Steve Morse solo in "Pictures Of Home" to "Perfect Street Rangers" in all its bombastic glory - worth the price of this release alone. 15 years ago when the studio version took us all by surprise who would have thought we'd one day be revelling in such a spell binding orchestral version of this?

Ronnie James Dio delivers spotless versions of "Sitting In A Dream" (note Miller Anderson's crisp acoustic guitar on this), "Love Is All" and two of his solo tracks - never has he had a better backing band. The "Love Is All" single was particularly succesful here and Roger takes the opportunity to thank Holland.

Ian Paice's swing version of "Wring That Neck" is a testament to how well a live album can sound. If nothing else this release spits the bootleggers in the face - finally a live album where you can hear everything in its right place - the drum kit panned out just so - and nothing is drowned out by the audience or a poor mix.

Positively littered with highlights... "Fools", "When A Blind Man Cries", "The Well Dressed Guitar"... Steve's riff-raff intro to "Smoke On The Water" includes Rush's "The Spirit Of Radio", Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker" (riff and middle solo) and "Stairway To Heaven" (middle break and guitar solo), ending with Ian singing a verse or two of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me".

The Dutch crowd has the riff to "Black Night" cooking pretty good among themselves even before the band kicks into the song and there's an excited sense of occasion in the air. "Highway Star" gets a bit scary when Ian Gillan mimicks Steve's revving engine sounds...!

For those who saw the tour this is the souvenir to bring back all the memories. For those who didn't, it's a chance to experience just how massive it all was. Of course it'll never be complete without the "Concerto" but for that purpose there's always the "Soundboard Series" box set.

Submit your own review of the box set.

Comments and corrections welcome.

Rasmus Heide

Donor Section

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