Of the myriad of Deep Purple live albums recorded over the years, this is one of my favorites and it's perhaps the one most responsible for me becoming a diehard Steve Morse fan (most definitely reinforced by having a front row seat in front of Steve at a recent Minneapolis show.) I like Blackmore's work, but Morse is so liltingly melodic and is able to alternate between heavy rock chops and incredibly delicate melody lines like almost nobody else. On this album the band is in fine form, with nary a stray note. Gillan hits the high notes with joyous abandon and turns in one the most soulful performance ever recorded on "When a Blind Man Cries;" Glover and Paice have a great time as the legendary Purple rhythm section, and Jon Lord is in top form.
My favorites on the CD are "When a Blind Man Cries" which has superlative interplay between band members, particularly Morse and Gillan, a totally smoking version of "No One Came" which completely justifies the price of the CD by itself, and of course the incomparable classic "Smoke on the Water," recorded in the birthplace of the song, Montreux. (How cool would it be to see Deep Purple at the Montreux festival?)
The album clearly deserves five stars, but I briefly considered four for some noticeable audio hiss that's sadly in the middle of Morse's amazing solo on "When a Blind Man Cries" (the louder the volume the more obvious it becomes.) In the end I couldn't bear the thought of giving this amazing show any less than five stars and encourage music lovers everywhere to buy this CD, which is arguably the best live Morse-era live recording.