Top positive review
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on March 7, 2002
With every "new" Deep Purple live release there are criticisms, and this one is no exception. Coming, as it does, from the golden age of the Mk II line-up, this album should have been treated with more reverence than it has been. Originally released in the 80s, the track order was rearranged in order to fit the constraints of the format, and to make sure that tracks were playable in their entirety.(Remember "Wring That Neck" and "Mandrake Root" both clock in around 30 minutes.
But this is the 21st Century. CDs have been around for a while now, and even though there is a section in the sleeve notes which states that the original running order has been restored, the discs themselves give away the fact that Spitfire simply created this package from the rearranged version.
This in itself creates some problems. Track intros appear at the end of the previous track and there is an overall feeling throughout that something is not right. I mean, you hire a new singer, make an album, go on tour and then open your show with a 30 minute instrumental (??????).
But that is the packaging. The music is still great. There seems to be a timelessness about this generation of Deep Purple, and this fan for one can never tire of hearing this stuff. OK so there are now a gazillion versions of "Child In Time" out there, and considering that the live version of "Wring That Neck" was a rarity not too long ago, I can now think of four "official" releases - but we won't talk about the cabaret-style version on the LSO album!! This is the way it was meant to be played, and while it is not the best version (Blackmore is way too low in the mix - unlike the "Concerto" version) it is a track which never ceases to amaze. The chemistry between Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore is apparent here, as it is on most Mk II live releases.
If you take this album in context the music alone would warrant five stars. But in context, this was the beginning to the finale with "Made In Japan". Stack all Mk II live albums together and play them one after the other and you see the progress the band made in three years.
A little more consideration on the packaging and these releases would be classics.