[ d e e p P u r . p l e )
Come Hell or High Water
The Highway Star

Tour Dates
Remembering the tour

Doug McBeath
Vince Palamara
Mark Franzman


Live and Rehearsals

Buy it!
US Import CD


Special features menu


I thought it was going to be a lot harder to review this DVD than it actually was!

As many readers of AMDP already know, I was at the concert presented here (Birmingham NEC, 9th November 1993), and, partly due to what happened that night, don't have that fond a memory of the show. However, that was over seven years ago now, and in-between times, I haven't really watched the video, and do you know what? It ain't a bad wee show after all.

Okay, for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, the show started normally enough, with Paice and Rog picking up the beat for Highway Star, Jon comes in, Ian Gillan bounces across the stage... and... and... and... and basically, there's no Blackmore to be seen. The band jammed an intro for several minutes before Gillan finally counts them in and they pick up the song as a four piece. A chunk of this is cut out, as is Jon's solo, in order to make it look as though Blackmore came on stage earlier than he did. However, partway through his solo, he stalks his way across the stage, picks up some water, and throws it over a cameraman at the side of his stage (narrowly missing Gillan, but partly hitting his wife). Then, compared to the blistering show the night before, played in a generally subdued mood for the rest of the set. At one point, I was even convinced that Gillan was about to announce the split of the band for good, instead we just get a 'We'll see what we can do'!

Anyway, that was years ago. This is now...

The DVD release is relatively-well put together. The intro scene leading into the menu now uses the stage set-up footage from the original video, backed by Jon's Perfect Strangers intro. You then get the option to play the disc, select a track or use the extra features (more of which later).

Unlike what I was originally told, you can't watch the concert footage on its own. I guess that once BMG reviewed the footage, they would have had to do a major re-edit in order to remove the interviews totally, and to do in any other way would have led to jumps in the concert footage. Ah well.

The footage, is however, a hell of a lot clearer than on the video, and the sound is pretty superb - definitely much better than the video release.

Other than what's been mentioned above, the concert isn't that bad either. As I've already said, for most of the show, Blackmore was in a pretty restrained mood. However, even then there are enough touches of his flair and genius to make even a hardened cynic like myself take notice. Because of Blackmore, the rest of the band have to work a bit harder, and in my view, Jon Lord steals the show.

The show itself picks up around Perfect Strangers, and from there on in, pretty much rocks to the end. It may not have been their finest moment of the tour, but it still crackles with energy along the way.

Again, for those that don't know, the concert footage is cut with interviews with Gillan, Glover, Lord and Paice done not long after the event. There are also two cuts musically - the aforementioned snip during Highway Star, and the total omission of Hush, which, it has to be said, wasn't a particularly great version in the first place.

As far as extras go, you get the chance to watch the interviews on their own, though as far as I can tell, there's no extra footage included. You also get a brief biography for the band members and a bit of info on the different line-ups. Initially, there were plans to include a discography, but I think someone over at BMG must have realised how little of the back catalogue they actually owned ;-)

The extra features mainly comprise a list of line-ups, the lyrics to the song (normal published versions) and bios of the five MkII members. It's here that the whole things is let down... even a little bit of research would have helped here.

Eg - Jon Lord joined 'Roundabout' in 1968, whilst Ritchie joined 'The Roundabouts'. Gillan joined for 'Concerto' and 'In Rock', yet Roger was in in time for 'Deep Purple'; Ian Paice played in Black Sabbath; It makes it sound as though DP had no career since Blackmore left, despite BMG releasing 'Purpendicular'. Again e.g. Since 1997 Jon Lord has been concentrating on his solo work, but got together with Gillan, Glover and Paice in September 1999 for the 30th Anniversary of Concerto. There's a certain sloppyness about this section that just makes you wonder why they bothered in the first place...

There was also a plan to bring Ian Gillan in to record some commentary, but they couldn't get schedules to match up. I guess it would have been nice to include a few extra bits and pieces - e.g. the rehearsal footage shown across Europe. We can't have everything I suppose. With luck that footage may surface on one of the forthcoming Thames/Thomson releases (hint, hint!).

To sum up then, Come Hell or High Water is not Deep Purple Mk II's finest moment. It is however, a decent enough show, well put together, nicely edited with great picture and sound quality. It is the only full-length concert out there from the Battle Rages On Tour, and is worth getting for those reasons alone, especially if you don't own it on video, or if your video copy is worn out! It's probably also your last chance to see Blackmore play the classics. Stand out tracks? Anyone's Daughter, Anya, The Battle Rages On and Space Truckin'

Finally, thanks to Fiona at BMG for the copies of the DVD for the compo.

Donor Section

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