Deep Purple – History, Hits & Highlights 1968–76 (2 DVDs, 2009)

by | Sep 22, 2009 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Deep Purple – History, Hits & Highlights 1968–76 (2 DVDs, 2009)

Studio: Eagle Rock Enterprises EE 30274-9
Video: 1.33:1 color
Audio: Dolby Stereo
Bonus Materials: Band History, Photo Galleries, French TV Promos, New Zealand TV Documentary, Interviews
Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, French
Length: 287 minutes
Rating: ***1/2

This excellent new collection from Eagle Rock is split into two DVD discs that cover the first four incarnations of the band; in Deep Purple terminology, that’s Deep Purple Mark I thru Mark IV. Disc 1 starts with a band history that offers some really entertaining visuals from throughout their career, and continues with a mixture of television clips, concert performances live in the studio and promotional videos – collectively known as the “Hits”. Much of the focus is on the Mark II version of the band, the classic lineup that featured Ian Gillan on vocals along with bassist Roger Glover. Disc 2, “Highlights,” covers additional performances of the four versions of the band with more concert footage and television clips, including some really entertaining live performances from both French and German TV. And the two discs are generously proportioned, clocking in at a combined four hours, forty-seven minutes!

There are some really classic clips here; two in particular were shot for Playboy TV circa 1968 and feature some incredible footage of the band playing for Hugh Hefner and a bevy of bunnies and assorted hipsters. When Hef introduces the band, he mentions that it would really “groove the kids” if they’d play their hit “Hush!” There’s even a segment where Ritchie Blackmore gives a tuxedoed, pipe smoking Hef his guitar, and Hef totally cranks out the power chords! And there are several astonishingly classic videos from the German TV show Rockpalast that feature some remarkably psychedelic visuals, as well as rehearsal footage that features the band on a blue-screen background that shows off some incredible close-ups of the individual band members. And where did Ritchie Blackmore get that hat?? He looks like Miles Standish on acid; wait – he probably was on acid!

Of course, with a mostly archival collection like this, the image and sound quality are somewhat variable throughout, with only pan-and-scan video, and the only sound option available is Dolby Stereo. But for Deep Purple fans, this is absolutely essential watching – there’s no better collection available anywhere that offers a more impressive compendium of the band’s music. And there’s plenty here to entertain just about everyone, including an extensive offering of bonus materials (with a really nice 20-page color booklet with plenty of images of the band), so the technical shortcomings are easily forgivable. Deep Purple was the prototype heavy metal band – they made the mold, and they set the bar high. Highly recommended!

TrackList: Hits: Help; Hush; Wring That Neck; Hallelujah; Mandrake Root; Speed King; Black Night; Child In Time; Lazy; Strange Kind Of Woman; Fireball; Demon’s Eye; No No No; Into The Fire; Never Before; Highway Star; Smoke On The Water; Burn; Mistreated; Love Child; You Keep On Moving. Highlights: And The Address; Wring That Neck; Mandrake Root; Black Night; No No No; JT Nuit; Burn; Space Truckin’.

— Tom Gibbs


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