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Garry Smith

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Lousy product

I picked up this DVD in my local HMV shop - 7.99 GBP.

The only reason to buy it is for the basic three DP video tracks. The extras are worthless, so if you already have the videos in a quality that you're happy with, then you don't need this DVD.

So let's start with the DP tracks. IIRC, they are all from the German Beat Club TV programme.

Hallelujah starts with a great view up Mr Gillan's nasal cavities. IIRC, this was mimed to the studio version, and it's the only one of the three tracks that is in stereo. Moody black-and-white to start with, then some irritating special effects at the upbeat section. The band looks so young and not quite at ease - nice frilly shirt there, Mr Paice!

No No No sees the band with a lot more hair, and looking more like a rock band. Ritchie is in full Witchfinder General garb. The sound is a wee bit rough, but OK. The picture is artificially colourised, with the band superimposed on a backdrop of the "Fireball" cover. Nice version of the song - it's always been one of my favourites, ever since it was the third Purple song that I ever really listened to, when I decided to investigate the album after buying the Fireball / Demon's Eye single.

Highway Star completes the trilogy. Supposed to have been recorded in 1972, a year after "No No No", what a coincidence it is that the lads are wearing exactly the same clothes! The backdrop now is a huge blow-up of the Book Of Taliesyn cover. Ian's a bit shouty and screamy, and the lyrics are not yet in their final form.

Highway Star and No No No are both good performances. I hadn't seen them before, so I'm happy. But, as I said, if you already have them, you don't need this DVD.

The next section of the DVD is entitled 'Pop-up DVD'. In this section, the three video tracks are replayed in their entirety, with the bottom quarter of the screen blacked out for the v-e-r-y s-l-o-w display of some entirely useless and often incorrect 'facts' that must have taken, oohh, several seconds to research.

My favourites include:

"Hallelujah is not available on any known album releases by the band." Hello? Singles As & Bs, EMI's 30: Very Best Of.., the Rhino Shades box set, and no doubt many others.

"Deep Purple are one of the most important bands in rock history." Really? No kidding? "Important" - what exactly does that mean? Do they walk around saying "Hey! We're Deep Purple, and we're SO IMPORTANT!"? I think not.

Next section - 'Previews'. This consists of seven 30-second clips advertising other 'Special Edition EPs'. For the record, the artists are Alice Cooper, Motorhead, The Who, Joe Cocker, Meatloaf, The Beach Boys, and Rod Stewart.

Final section is 'DVD Jukebox'. This lasts 31 minutes, and is a collection of excerpts (two to four minutes each) from other DVDs produced by 'Classicpictures'. In case you're interested, the DVDs are:

- ELP - Pictures at an Exhibition
- Rick Wakeman - Journey to the Centre of the Earth
- Procul Harum - Live in Copenhagen
- Wishbone Ash - 25th Anniversary of the Marquee
- Leon Russell - A Song for You
- Jack Bruce - Jack Bruce and Friends Live
- Barclay James Harvest - Caught Live (Drury Lane)
- Big Country - The Final Fling
- Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult - Black and Blue.

Both the 'Previews' and 'DVD Jukebox' are rendered unwatchable by the superimposed titles, tracklistings, exhortations to buy, and references to the website, which is www.classicpictures.co.uk .

By the way, the small-print credits list the three tracks as performed by Black Sabbath!

Of course, the headline 'lousy product' doesn't refer to the DP videos themselves. I know their history, so I wasn't expecting perfection. But it refers to the way that a seemingly-attractive package - with 'extras' which turn out to be worthless - has been put together in a manner that is both cynical and shoddy.

I'd have been happy to pay for just the three DP videos. So, at the end of the day, if you want the three DP videos, buy this DVD. If not, keep well clear.

Audio is selectable - 5.1 Dolby Digital or 5.1 DTS (wassat?). Region is 'all regions', and my UK copy is, of course, PAL.

Garry Smith

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