Of course, the best-known (and just plain "best") Deep Purple incarnation will be what many fans regard as the "Mach II" lineup of Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice. But by the early to mid-'90s, an on-again, off-again reunion of this lineup had fizzled out upon the exit once more of Blackmore, their founding guitarist. Instead of calling it a day, Deep Purple eventually found a permanent replacement in former Dixie Dregs and Kansas guitarist Steve Morse, and have been rocking and rolling ever since. Although not released until 2006, Live at Montreux, 1996 shows that the Morse-era Purple lineup, even in this early stage, had no problem cranking out the classics (albeit in a much more smooth and -- dare it be said -- predictable style than when Blackmore was present). Kicking things off with one of Purple's heaviest tracks, "Fireball," the 12-track set balances the classics ("Black Night," "Woman from Tokyo") with newer/Morse co-penned tunes ("Ted the Mechanic," "Hey Cisco"). With so many countless live Purple titles having hit the shops over the years, Live at Montreux, 1996 is hardly a necessary release, but it is sure to appeal to the diehards who need to buy everything Purple.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato