The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times
Peter C. Jones | Aurora, IL USA | 08/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Anytime Deep Purple does something, one has to ask, "O.K. which lineup is it this time?". Well "this time" it is the classic MK II lineup of Gillian, Lord, Glover, Paice and Blackmore. This will always be the real Deep Purple and any other lineup is second rate. After watching 2 hours of music, it is again clear that this lineup will always be the most powerful and its most unstable. Tempers and attitudes are hot and so is the music. Ritchie is well, Ritchie and after he decides to show up, he proves why he is who he is and Deep Purple is always the better for it. Ritchie's playing is fierce and percussive. As good as Steve Morse is, he will never have the one thing that makes Ritchie burn, HIS EGO! As the interviews state, Ritchie is a nightmare to work with and is disruptive in everyway. But, it translates on stage to nothing less than a nuclear war as he and the rest of the band prove that they still have the goods and we the listener benefit greatly!The set list is impressive and the sound quality is outstanding. Gillian and Lord are wonderful and Ian Paice is well, the best. Age has tamed them a little as will happen but they were so good to start with that even a slowed down Purple is better than most. So the struggle plays out before our eyes, the Band vs. Blackmore. Back and forth, hook and jab! It is clearly the worst of times for the band but it turns out to be the best of times for us! Enjoy this classic concert and remember the power and the attitude because they never regained it after this! I very much enjoy the Morse stuff, but it can't touch Deep Purple with Ritchie Balckmore."
Hell Came And Its Name Was Blackmore
Sky | New York | 09/28/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Only 3 stars for Come Hell or High Water is almost being harsh. But Blackmore's behavior during the concert is so outrageous that I was embarrassed for the band just watching the show. I feel sorry for the fans that actually paid to attend the concert who were probably very excited to see a Deep Purple show where all 5 members participated.
But really only 4 participated. Those 4 being Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, and Jon Lord. Those guys must have huddled before the show and said, "let's give these fans a musical performance that they'll never forget." Whether Blackmore was in the huddle with them or not, one thing is for sure, Blackmore agreed to also give the fans an experience that they'll never forget, but the experience that he provided was how to be a complete jackass...not the experience of the guitar performances that he is legend for.
The back jacket of the DVD reads, "No one who has heard Deep Purple kick off a show with Highway Star will ever forget it...." Well, I sure won't forget how it was done on this DVD. The band comes out on stage, starts the song, but something's missing...Blackmore is missing! The first minute of the song goes by, but there's no Blackmore; there's no guitar playing; only vocals, keys, bass and drums. At first I thought it was a some sort of prestaged thing where Blackmore would appear with much fanfare. Well, he finally does appear where the guitar solo is supposed to come in, but not with much fanfare. Blackmore is clearly pissed about something and is determined to let everyone in the band and audience know it. He walks on stage, saunters over to the amps, grabs a cup of water that is sitting there, flings it through the air, looks at the other guys in the band as if to say, "take-that!", and then he feebly proceeds to play a horrible version of the Highway Star solo. The other guys in the band are visibly exasperated and just roll their eyes.
After Highway Star, the DVD breaks to a quick video interview with Gillian, Paice, Lord and Glover where they comment on how something wasn't working between them that night at the Birmingham NEC, UK, on November 9, 1993, and that Blackmore, as he was known to often do, acted "like an angry little child when he didn't get his way about something".
Clearly, Blackmore indeed didn't get his way about something for the recording of this DVD. The tension on stage was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Blackmore was conspicuously absent from the stage and absent from playing throughout the whole show, and that really took away from the performance. Instead of rocking out through the DVD, I'm sitting there the whole time going, geez what a shame. To be fair, things were working with everyone in the band except just one guy. Gillian, Paice, Lord and Glover did indeed play like it was 1972...they were on.
The song list was terrific. They play:
3-Talk About Love
4-Twist in the Tale
5-Perfect Strangers (Blackmore almost looked as if he njoyed being there for this song.)
7-Knocking at Your Back Door
9-Child in Time
11-The Battle Rages On
14-Woman from Tokyo
15-Paint It Black
16-Smoke on the Water.
Blackmore couldn't wait to get off the stage. He walked right off after Smoke On The Water...exit stage left; the other guys took some bows and exited stage right.
For a 1993 recording, the picture was above average and the sound was very good. You get a superb Dolby 5.1 mix. But the picture quality was brought down a bit by the lighting choice throughout the show; it was as if consideration the night of the show was not given to the fact that the show would be recorded for DVD. The editing was great; you really got to take in each angle before the shot changed.
With the short interviews (spliced in between songs instead of as an extra feature which kind of took away from the live performance illusion) the DVD is an even 2 hours long. There were no Blackmore interviews.
It was great to reminisce and watch a Deep Purple show. The performances were a 5 by Gillian, Paice, Lord and Glover; Blackmore gets a 1. Sound is a 4. Picture is a 3. The long shots of the band in action before changing angle makes up for the choice to put the interviews between songs instead of at the end or as an extra...so the editing is a 3. Hence, 3 stars overall.
Garry Keiller | Edmonton, Alberta Canada | 07/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fans of Jon Lord will treasure this DVD. He steals the show with his considerable keyboard talents and his enthusiasm. This chap obviously loves his job. The performance level is fabulous, as is the sound quality of this disk. Ian Paice han't lost his chops, and pulls of an impressive drum solo. Blackmore is crisp and intense in his playing...he makes every note count. There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the greatest (underrated) guitar players around. Unfortunately, his sullen demeanour is apparent from the opening tune (Highway Star). Not only does he choose to delay his entrance (till part way through the song), he throws a temper tantrum right off the bat. Unfortunate. The rest of the band members do not soft peddle their feelings towards Blackmore, expressed in insightful comments between the tunes. The weak link here is the obvious toll that time has taken on Ian Gillan's voice. One of the most distinctive and powerful voices in Rock music has lost much of that power and range. There are moments where his pitch is off as well.However, the band is tight...their musicianship and improvisation is better than I have ever heard (I am a long time Purple fan), and the selection of tunes is great. The sound and picture quality are excellent.A "must buy" for Purple fans."
Don't Blame Ritchie
Bassplunker | California | 03/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Haven read all the reviews here before getting this DVD I expected Ritchie to be the total villian who ruined the whole concert. Not so, and here's why!
1) Everyone blames Ritchie for coming out 1 min and 50 secs. after Gillan, but no one mentions Ian Gillan himself came out 1 minute and 15 secs. after the song started.
2) When Ritchie tries to make an entrance like Ian Gillan, he's stopped dead in his tracks by Ian's attempt to humiliate Ritchie with his 'Welcome Your Highness' gesture towards Ritchie? Do you really blame him for being upset at such a obnoxious and juvenile stunt by Gillan?
3) Ritchie is visibly upset at Gillan and tries to convey this but Gillan turns his back on him and walks away. All Ritchie does is throw water. Big Deal. He would have been justified if he would have slugged him.
4) Gillan's was trying to build momentum with his entrance AND SO WAS RITCHIE BUT Gillan ruined it!!!
5)Ritchie IS Deep Purple and still fantastic. Ian is a shadow of his old self and after all the fantastic performances of Deep Purple why blame Ritchie for wanting to quit a band whose lead singer's vocals have deteriorated so much that the band's legacy would certainly begin to suffer. Its not Ian's fault that a singer loses range as they get older but can't Ritchie make a professional decision without everyone attacking him?
6) When I saw Deep Purple in the early 70's at the Long Beach Arena in California the crowd of photographers were swarming below the stage directly below Ritchie while he mesmorized them with his lightning leads while every once in awhile throwing his guitar up in the air and catching it without missing a note. A guitar playing legend like Ritchie has earned respect, and if 'Hell and High Water' was ruined it was by Gillan's ego."