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Ultimate Live Rock Album
on October 26, 2003
It really irritates me when people say that heavy metal is the only style of music that Deep Purple were good at. Sure, they may have mastered that style more than any other, but most people seem to be ignorant of the fact that Purple could play blues and jazz EXCELLENTLY. C'mon people, these lads were way too talented to be reduced to 'just heavy metal'.
Anyway, this album may very well be the greatest live rock album ever. Each member of the band are at their best on this one, especially Ritchie. The intensity level is off the page.
"HIGHWAY STAR": Twice as monstrous as the studio original. Gillan spits out the lyrics like a madman, while the rest of the band chugs along at a breakneck pace. Contains some of Ritchie's awesome finger-flashing at the end, which totally obliterates the studio version.
"CHILD IN TIME": This is Deep Purple's unparalleled masterpiece. But Gillan's vocals on this version aren't nearly as good as they usually were. But Ritchie makes up for it with a jazzy solo that must be heard to be believed. I personally love the part where he keeps playing the same chord sequence over and over until you think you're gonna burst if he doesn't stop! And he does it so fast, and without making a single mistake. Ritchie is unreal.
"SMOKE ON THE WATER": Their most famous song, mainly because of the legendary guitar riff, which sounds even more powerful on this version. This is the riff that inspired a generation. Features a cool guitar/organ competition at the end, in which Ritchie and Jon try to outdo each other. Ritchie's solo is also awesome.
"THE MULE": Ian Paice is the greatest drummer that ever lived, just a shade above Ginger Baker. His drum solo on this song will convince you.
"STRANGE KIND OF WOMAN": This is unquestionably the best song on the album. Ritchie's blues licks have never been better. In particular, listen to the second solo, where he builds up the tension and then releases it in a stunning climax. It's like an orgasm. It may be the best solo he's ever played. And this is also the song that features the famous guitar/vocal competition. Gillan mimics Blackmore's notes so perfectly that it's downright scary.
"LAZY": Features an organ intro that just boggles the mind. Cool harmonica from Gillan and excellent licks from Blackmore.
"SPACE TRUCKIN'": Overrated. The long, instrumental section is definitely not Purple at their best. But it's still interesting.
All in all, this is a must-have for any hard rock lover. A journalist for Kerrang! Magazine once wrote, and I quote, "There are moments on this album that have never been beaten in the history of rock music". That pretty much says it all.
Oh, and the bonus tracks aren't really that great. But this re-mastered version is still worth buying, mainly for the superb sound quality.