Deep Purple in Montreux 2006 Salvo. Salvo expands its Sound and Vision series with a CD/DVD combo of the classic rockers performing at their spiritual live home; it’s ‘Made in Japan’ made in Switzerland.

Label: Salvo
CD Time: 12 Tracks / 68 minutes
DVD Time: 16 Tracks / 102 minutes + 25 mins band interviews

When Deep Purple released their landmark Made in Japan live album in the 1970s, it was hot on the heels of the classic Machine Head studio work, on which every track was great. Most songs found their way onto Japan, but something had to give and some superb works had to be left off. As a result, tracks like “Space Trucking” became major anthems, while equally good pieces like “Maybe I’m a Leo” were left behind. This release puts some of that right, launching with “Pictures of Home” and including a live version of “When a Blind Man Cries,” a single B-side that has always been considered part of that album’s material.

Looking at this tracklist and seeing how much was born in the Machine Head/ Made in Japan era, it’s as if the band has gone back – despite the passing of several decades and albums – to honour that time above all others.

Even the venue ties in. The definitive Purple number “Smoke on the Water” was famously all about a fire at a Frank Zappa gig at the Montreux Festival and recorded in the town, so this headlining set at the 40th festival was highly appropriate – and even the late ‘Funky Claude’ gets to play some blues harp on stage.
Three members of that classic line-up appear here: in the rhythm section, the solid Roger Glover (bass) and powerhouse Ian Paice (drums) are as firm a foundation as ever and vocalist Ian Gillan fronts the band again. His voice is the weak part, with forty years of screaming taking their toll (he’s 61, for goodness sake!). His pitching is all over the place as he tries too hard (and fails) to do what he used to, but he can still trade scat licks with guitar on “Space Trucking” and get away with it. His genial centre-stage presence still counts for a lot, too.

The two newer members are as able as any and honour their predecessors while adding their own identity. Keyboardist Don Airey has played with several of Purple’s contemporaries (Sabbath, Rainbow, Wishbone Ash and Colosseum II et al) and brings some of the same classical references to the keyboard solo that the late, great Jon Lord did – while honouring Lord’s 1972 live account of “Lazy.” Steve Morse retains that Richie Blackmore tone, while adding his own flourishes. “The Well-Dressed Guitar” (featuring riffs you may recognise from Hendrix and Zeppelin) is effectively his solo spot and the DVD captures his technique well.

They work hard and play hard. Although sweating by the fifth track, looking at their grinning faces, the players are having a lot of fun and past taking themselves too seriously. They even play a deliberately cheesy lounge version introduction to “Smoke on the Water” as a one-off special for the Jazz Festival climax.

One or two of the more recent tracks, such as a lacklustre “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,” fail to reach the huge stature of most others, but “Things I Never Said” is self-propelled with enormous energy and “Rapture of the Deep” has a colourful, exotic edge to its riff.  

The singles “Hush,” an extended “Black Night” and “Strange Kind of Woman" are reserved for the encore.

These Montreux shows have been released before, but not as a CD/DVD package. Salvo – now specialising in this format – are releasing both Jethro Tull’s and The Who’s 1970 Isle of Wight sets alongside this one and have some more exciting names to release. If you can make allowances for Gillan high notes, this is a tasty appetizer that is well worth adding to the Purple collection.

3nhalfDerek Walker

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