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The Highway Star

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I saw this DVD for sale on Amazon, however I object to coughing up nearly 20 bars for a DVD (in retrospect I'd pay $50!) - but I was lucky enough to find a copy in a cheap CD shop in Phoenix for 16 dollars. Bear with me a minute as I explain to you just how good it turned out to be.

I was travelling when I got it and had to wait a couple of days to watch it. I landed back in Denver at 8.15pm, got home, showered and went out to play in my soccer team's cup semi final (we lost 6-5 against the Fighting Beavers - bastards). [Fighting Beavers? So you actually got, ahem, p*ssywhipped! ;^) Rasmus] Hence I got home at nearly midnight (after obligatory post match pint) and thought I'd just take a quick look at my latest purchase.

Approximately two hours, half a pack of Marlboro and numerous cans of PBR (American equivalent of Svenska Lager) later, I reluctantly turned off the telly and went to bed. After all, I did have to get up at 6am to fly out again early in the morning.

This DVD is riveting for any Deep Purple fan. It tells the story of the Montreux fire, not that we don't know it, we've all heard the song, but the DVD tells it in an informative and detailed manner. Then it goes on to discuss the recording of Highway Star, Smoke On The Water, Pictures Of Home and Maybe I'm A Leo.

All five members of the band contribute, the star of the show being Jon Lord. He is intelligent, articulate, informative and incredibly witty. His playing of the solos on the Hammond... Well, I could just watch him play all day. Ritchie Blackmore is surprisingly candid, watching him on this DVD sent him up in my estimation quite a few points, although I'm not sure about his choice of interview surroundings (odd hat and recorder in the foreground, suit of armour bringing up the rear).

The two Ians appear together although Gillan seems rather subdued. His voice also sounds a bit croaky, maybe he was interviewed around the time they cancelled some dates because of his flu...

Finally, Roger Glover is at the mixing desk. When I have watched the Classic Albums series in the past, I have always found the in depth analysis of the different tracks rather anal, but in this case I loved it, informative and revealing. Martin Birch also does some of this and makes some interesting points as the engineer for the recording. There are exerpts from music journos (the filthy press as Gillan calls them) which really don't tell us much, I think they could have been omitted and more footage of the lads put in.

However, the icing on the cake is the extra material provided on the DVD. Again, the star is Mr Lord cranking up the Hammond and cracking subtle jokes all the way through. Also, there is an interesting explanation of why When A Blind Man Cries never made it to the CD - apparently the moustachioed court jester didn't like it. Period.

I could wax lyrical about this DVD for ages but all I'll say is: Buy the DVD, kick the missus out for the evening, send the kids to bed, order in an enormous pizza, make sure the fridge is fully stocked with cheap lager and settle down to enjoy this cultural delight. You will not be disappointed.

Ian Linn

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