Deep Purple / London Symphony Orchestra

In Concert with the London Symphony Orchestra [DVD]

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Deep Purple's In Concert With the London Symphony Orchestra will please the band's longtime fans. Not only are they still rockin', but Deep Purple pulls off a feet that destroys most bands. Hard rock acts like Guns N' Roses and Aerosmith have recorded with full orchestras to mixed results. At worst, such bands sound preposterous; at best, the multi-instrumental arrangement matches the sweeping grandeur of rock & roll -- as it does here. It makes sense for Deep Purple to team up with the London Symphony Orchestra and see what would happen. After all, this is the band whose very first record included a track called "Concerto for Group and Orchestra." That track, incidentally, was recomposed for the band's concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Standout tracks include "Wait a While" and "Love Is All" but, of course, every Deep Purple fan will want to know how "Smoke on the Water" comes off. Of all the songs performed that night in 1999, one imagines that the symphony was most unimpressed by this most-loved Deep Purple heavy metal anthem. It does bring down the house, however, with thousands of headbangers making the hall sound like Mozart had lived in the rock era. The high-energy concert, captured on DVD and released in 1999, is one of the best of its kind; however, few fans of classical music will be impressed. And if you don't already like Deep Purple, this is not the best introduction to their music. But fans who get excited to learn that Deep Purple is joined on stage by Ronnie James Dio, Sam Brown, and the Steve Morse Band will enjoy this musical experiment. Certainly adding the lush symphonic sounds in the background of these melodic hard rockers enriches the originals in interesting ways. A fun concert that is more fun to watch than to simply listen.

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