Deep Purple

Around the World Live

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Some may say that Deep Purple lost their heart and soul when Ritchie Blackmore bid the group sweet adieu in 1993, while others may argue that the arrival of Steve Morse signaled a much-needed transfusion of energy and fresh ideas. Regardless of the side of the Purple fence where you reside, there's no denying that the group still appears to be enjoying itself circa "the Morse era," as evidenced by the steady stream of road work displayed throughout the mammoth four-DVD set Around the World Live. With these pro-shot live performances from 1995 (India and Seoul), 1999 (Australia), and 2002 (the U.K.), as well as various interviews and documentaries (and a snazzy booklet), the post-Blackmore era has finally been thoroughly been documented on DVD. As expected, the majority of the set lists here focus on the classics -- "Fireball," "Black Night," "Highway Star," "Speed King," and "Smoke on the Water." But you'll also find airings of such oft-overlooked tracks as "Pictures of Home" and "When a Blind Man Cries" as well as latter-day selections like "The Battle Rages On" and "Purpendicular Waltz," among others. And there are even a few pleasant surprises, such as original keyboardist Jon Lord magically appearing in the place of his replacement, Don Airey, during the U.K. performance (in time for the Zeppelin-esque "Perfect Strangers"). And as always, it's pretty darn impressive to watch/hear Ian Gillan, who still hits all the right notes and retains his vocal power all these years later. Not a lot of surprises or on-stage friction (which helped fuel -- and also destroy -- the previous Blackmore lineups) here, but you do get a multitude of flawlessly played and shot Purple performances throughout Around the World Live.

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