Top critical review
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...history, hits, highlights and misses...
on 8 June 2009
There have been a lot of Deep Purple DVDs over the years, mainly patchy ones of the various reunion lineups but, finally, here's one that is worth the price of admission. As the title says, it's a collection of history, hits and highlights from 1968 - 1976, which to a Mark I, III and IV fan like me, promises much.
It doesn't get off to the best of starts with a cut and paste documentary, which seems to largely consist of clips from later on in the DVD. Think of it more as an extended trailer, rather than a real documentary, and you might look upon it more favourably. Sadly, for me, there is a paucity of Mark I material, with only the much seen Playboy TV performance of 'Hush' and the earliest known footage of the band miming to 'Help' in a car park on Disc 1. There are a couple of clips over on Disc 2 as bonus items, but it seems a shame not to have more from the early Purps.
Most of the space is taken up with Mark II material. Not surprising, given the historical revisionism that picks them out as the best of the lineups, but at least there is plenty of material here that has rarely been seen. The 1969 performance of 'Wring That Neck' is particularly enjoyable, as is the 'Speed King' clip from the Vicky Leandros TV special, "Ich Bin". It was groundbreaking stuff at the time, with the show going on to win the 1971 Bronze Rose of Montreux. Spooky! A lot of the Mark II stuff has been out before, so the clips of 'Black Night', 'Child In Time' and 'Lazy' will be familiar to most. I did, however, enjoy the Purp free Top Of The Pops performance!
On to the Mark III and IV stuff, and there are definitely some treats here, although not nearly enough. There's a 1974 colour performance of 'Burn', the much seen 'Mistreated' from the California Jam and 'Love Child' and 'You Keep On Moving', filmed in Tokyo in 1975. There really should have been more of this, but that may just be the Bolin freak in me screaming at a missed opportunity. Over on DVD 2, you'll get the chance to see 'Burn' again in a feature filmed at Leeds Polytechnic and a few overseas TV specials with the Bilzen Jazz Festival show from 1969 my favourite, ahead of Pop Deux, a French TV film from 1970 and a rather pointless New Zealand documentary.
The booklet is definitely a visual treat, chock full of memorabilia, and I spent just as much time poring over that as I did the second disc. Overall, it's worth owning, despite some of the material being barely watchable. But, it is out at a reasonable price, and you can happily while away several hours replaying your favourite clips.
It's actually a 3.5 but Amazon don't do halves.