This coming Friday, August 26th, Deep Purple will release its latest live recording Live at the NEC. Originally recorded September 14th, 2002 at The NEC in Birmingham, England, the DVD recording comes about a year after the release of the band’s 2015 dual live recordings From The Setting Sun…in Wacken and To The Rising Sun…in Tokyo. Being that so little time has passed between those records and this recording’s upcoming release one might wonder what makes it stand out from its predecessors. The first element that makes it stand out is its set list. This will be discussed shortly. The band’s stage presence over the course of the show’s nearly two-hour run time is just as important to note as the set list. The bonus interviews that are included with the recording round out the recording’s most important elements. Each element is important in making this live recording stand out from Deep Purple’s previous live recordings. All things considered they make this latest offering another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library.
Deep Purple’s new live recording Live at the NEC is another welcome offering in any Deep Purple fan’s music library. This is the case even with the recording coming only a little more than a year after the release of the band’s most recent dual live recording set—From The Setting Sun…in Wacken and To The Rising Sun…in Tokyo. That is due in part to the recording’s set list. The sixteen (technically fourteen not counting the show’s keyboard solo from then new keyboardist Don Airey and guitarist Steve Morse) song set pulls largely from the band’s early years. It even goes all the way back to the band’s 1968 debut album Shades of Deep Purple with the inclusion of its cover of ‘Hush’ and all the way to 1996’s Perpendicular with the inclusion of ‘Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic’ in the show’s set list. The band even went so far as to include some slightly lesser-known pieces in the recording in the form of ‘When A Blind Man Cries’ and ‘Black Night.’ The prior was the b-side to the song ‘Never Before,’ which was itself originally included in 1984’s Perfect Strangers. The latter was included as a b-side for ‘Speed King, from the band’s 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock. Those songs couple with the band’s much bigger hits—‘Highway Star,’ ‘Space Truckin’,’ ‘Smoke on the Water,’ ‘Woman From Tokyo’—and the rest of the set’s featured songs to make the set in whole one that will keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout the course of the concert’s near two-hour run time.
The set list that is featured in this recording is undeniably important to the recording’s presentation. That is because while it does feature some of the band’s biggest hits, it also features some lesser known songs. It comes across as a very focused set list. Even with the show being the last at the time for founding member and keyboardist Jon Lord, Lord did not play a creative role in every one of the featured songs. This leads to plenty of discussion on the reasoning behind the set list. Even with that in mind the show’s set list is just one part of what makes the recording in whole welcome in any Deep Purple fan’s music library. The band’s stage presence throughout the course of the concert is just as important to note as the songs that the band performs. The songs that make up the concert’s set are largely upbeat. They have plenty of energy. Of course there are some slower, more reserved moments. Through it all the band’s members keep the audience completely entertained. The band shows that an act doesn’t necessarily have to rely on pyrotechnics and other gimmicks in order to entertain audiences. Rather, the band shows in whole that sometimes all a band needs to keep audiences entertained in a live setting is that presence. And presence is exactly what the band has here. Front man Ian Gillan commands the stage with ease as guitarist Steve Morse and drummer Ian Paice drive each song. Speaking of Morse, his interaction with his band mates during his extended guitar solo shows the chemistry between the musicians. Keyboardists Don Airey and Jon Lord are just as entertaining to watch as they perform both solo and in tandem. Airey shows his vast musical background with some playful pieces and even some equally impressive classical snippets in his keyboard solo. Lord is just as entertaining to watch as he works his way through the second half of the set list. All things considered each man does his own part to entertain audiences throughout the concert. Home viewers will agree with this when they see the concert for themselves. Their presence, when considered together, makes the concert’s overall experience just as enjoyable to watch as the show’s set list. When both element are set against one another, they come together to show even more clearly why this concert is another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library. They are not the only elements to consider in the concert’s new home release. The bonus interviews that are included in the concert are just as important to note here as the show’s set list and the band’s performance of said set list.
The set list that is featured in Live at the NEC and the band’s performance of said set list are both key elements in the recording’s overall presentation. As important as they prove to be to the recording’s presentation, they are hardly its only positives. The interviews that are included in the recording are just as important to its presentation as the set list and the band’s performance thereof. One of the interviews—with Gillan and Glover—is included as bonus companion material that stands separate from the concert. It is an extensive interview that touches on a number of topics including the story behind ‘Smoke on the Water.’ Roger Glover’s thoughts on rock versus metal, his thoughts on rock versus pop, and how famed veteran guitarist Joe Satriani came to work with Deep Purple for a period of time among much more. The main concert feature includes a post concert interview with Jon Lord in which Lord talks about his feelings of performing for the last time. Audiences will be moved both to smiles and tears as Lord talks about discovering after the show that he had broken down crying after leaving the stage and hadn’t even realized it at first. His ruminations will keep audiences just as engaged as his performance on stage. When it’s all said and done, audiences will agree that the two interview segments prove to be just as invaluable to this recording as the recording’s main feature and the band’s performance of the set list. All things considered there is a lot to say to the positive for Live at the NEC; so much so that the recording proves with full clarity why it is another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library.
Live at the NEC is hardly Deep Purple’s first live recording. It is though, a completely welcome new live recording to any Deep Purple fan’s music library. That is proven through the show’s focused, sixteen-song set list. The set list, which comes in at just under two hours features a collection of songs that come largely from the band’s early days. The band’s performance of that set is just as important to the recording’s presentation as the set list itself. The band keeps audiences completely engaged and entertained just with its own performance. It shows through its performance that a band doesn’t always need big showy elements and other gimmicks in order to entertain audiences. It just needs good music and good stage presence. The interviews that are included in the recording play just as much of a part in its presentation as the band’s performance and the concert’s set list. That is because of the insight and entertainment that they offer in their own right. As if all of this isn’t enough, one can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore the recording’s packaging. Audiences will notice that the recording is packaged in what is essentially a Blu-ray box. It is not the first time that Eagle Rock has packaged its live DVDs in such packaging. It is good to see this packaging used yet again, too. It shows that DVD packaging can be the exact same size as Blu-ray packaging, thus saving even more space on audiences’ DVD racks. It is an approach that sets Eagle Rock Entertainment ahead of every other home entertainment company, and in turn shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains to this day the lading name in live recordings. With any luck the rest of the home entertainment realm will use this packaging as a model and eventually catch up to Eagle Rock Entertainment in this avenue. Regardless of whether or not that ever happens, this element couples with all of the previously noted elements to, again, show why Live at the NEC is another welcome addition to any Deep Purple fan’s music library and why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains today the leading name in live recordings.
Live at the NEC will be available this Friday, August 26th. More information on Live at the NEC is available online now along with all of Deep Purple’s latest news and more at:
More information on Live at the NEC and other title from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:
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