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In Concert With the London Symphony Orchestra

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Album Review

Spitfire released the CD version of this concert that Deep Purple filmed in London. While a solid live album with an interesting and rare performance, Live at the Royal Albert Hall has even less mainstream appeal than the In Concert With the London Symphony Orchestra DVD. The musical experiment is more interesting to watch than it is to listen to, making the CD a definite fans-only item. Deep Purple's Live at the Royal Albert Hall will please the band's longtime fans. Not only are they still rocking, but Deep Purple pulls off a feat 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. 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 fourth 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 it would have if 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, especially if they only listen to the performance. 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. These diehards will also enjoy watching the VHS or DVD too, so why only get the audio? Certainly adding the lush symphonic sounds in the background of these melodic hard rockers enriches the originals a great deal. A fun concert that is more fun to watch than to simply listen.


Formed: 1968 in Hertford, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Deep Purple survived a seemingly endless series of lineup changes and a dramatic mid-career shift from grandiose progressive rock to ear-shattering heavy metal to emerge as a true institution of the British hard rock community; once credited in The Guinness Book of World Records as the globe's loudest band, their revolving-door roster launched the careers of performers including Ritchie Blackmore, David Coverdale, and Ian Gillan. Deep Purple were formed in Hertford, England, in 1968, with an inaugural...
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