Music Review: Deep Purple + Orchestra Live At Montreux 2011

This is a wonderful recording of classic Deep Purple music featuring Gillan, Glover and Paice, three of the main components of Deep Purple Mach III (depending on how you count the various versions of this venerable group).

Let’s get this straight from the outset, Ian Gillan (vocals), Ian Paice (drums), Roger Glover (bass), Steve Morse (guitar) and Don Airey (keyboards) with orchestra directed by Stephen “BK” Bentley-Klein has only one truly original member of the band, drummer Ian Paice.

The very first line-up of Deep Purple – and some of us diehards are still fanatical about Mach I – featured Rod Evans on vocals, Jon Lord on keyboards, Neil Simper on bass, Ian Paice on drums and Ritchie Blackmore on guitar. Roger Glover and Ian Gillan arrived for 1970s In Rock after their appearance on the final Tetragrammaton (Comedian Bill Cosby’s label) outing – Concerto for Group and Orchestra / Deep Purple/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conduced by Malcolm Arnold. That 1969 bridge gets reinvented 42 years later on July 16th, the closing night of the Montreux Festival with Stephen BK Bentley-Klein directing the full orchestra.

Gillan, Paice and Glover keep the 1970s flavor of the band alive with almost two hours of driving Purple music aided admirably by the multiple sounds. Steve Morse’s guitar is very spacey and cosmic, Don Airey adding a quasi-Roxy Music flavor…though even more experimentation from both the guitarist and keyboardist would’ve plunged this further into the underground for my tastes. The mixing is rather unique…all these great instruments in a wall of sound monotone that would make Phil Spector (and Tom Wilson, Lou Reed and John Cale of the lp White Light/White Heat fame)proud . It’s a delicious “official” overview of the classics Deep Purple brought to the world and it is quite exciting.

Deep Purple is a group that keeps churning out tons of product…and that consistent presence in the marketplace is something this critic wishes more vintage artists would embrace and take to heart. Yes, keeping the scorecard and the family tree accurate is a chore, but a wonderful chore. Collectors by their very nature want to have things in a certain perspective and to be entertained. Is Ian Paice on the “lost” Velvet Underground album, Squeeze? And if so – do you really care? The early Doug Yule without Lou Reed (and I’m a fan of latter day Yule, make no mistake) is all the world needs to see how Loaded was Lou’s baby. The pity of Squeeze is that it didn’t have the latter-day Velvet Underground – Willie “Loco” Alexander, Moe Tucker, Walter Powers, Doug Yule and Sterling Morrison. That was that ensemble’s rendition of a mutated Deep Purple.

So for Deep Purple fans you now have what Velvet Underground fans lust for…proof that less is not more, that it’s better to have and not need than to need and not have. This is a delightful trip back into time even if the only original member is the alleged drummer from the Squeeze album by the alleged Velvet Underground.

“Perfect Strangers” and “Hush” may not be as you remember them, Deep Purple Overture may be a vamp on “Sunshine Of Your Love” wanting to go into “Layla” territory but not quite making it there (though a nice prelude to the onslaught to follow) …almost like a lost James Bond theme…”Woman from Tokyo”, “Strange Kind Of Woman”, “Space Truckin’, “Lazy”, the obligatory “Smoke on the Water” with superb Steve Morse punctuations, eight minutes and eighteen seconds exploring “Hush”…wish more bands would do this. Can’t wait for what they unleash in the year 2051…Live at Montreux…of course.

Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for, and produces and hosts Visual Radio. Visual Radio is a fifteen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed John Lennon’s Uncle Charlie, Margaret Cho, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere, Marty Balin, Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.