The all-time kings of the live album have finally released…another live album! It’s boldly titled The InFinite Live Recordings Vol. 1, implying that another live set isn’t far off. The gimmick this time (aside from being 100% live with no overdubs, which is now the Purple norm) is that The InFinite Live Recordings Vol. 1 is only available on vinyl, or by re-buying InFinite in its new “Gold” European edition reissue. If you’d prefer avoiding the double-dip, then the only way to enjoy The InFinite Live Recordings Vol. 1 is by spinning the triple 180 gram LP set.
So let’s do that.
This album is the complete Deep Purple set from Hellfest 2017 (June 16 2017 in Clisson, France). The always fearless band opened with the brand new “Time for Bedlam” single. The intro and outro are dicey (weird vocal sound effects) but then Deep Purple suddenly plows straight into “Fireball”. Somehow Ian Paice transforms into his younger self and there is nothing lost. Going back even further in time, it’s “Bloodsucker” from Deep Purple In Rock.
The oldies, like “Strange Kind of Woman” and “Lazy”, are more or less just filler. Even though they’re always different, you’ve heard them so many times while the newer songs are fresh meat. “Uncommon Man” is long and exploratory, while “The Surprising” and “Birds of Prey” are more than welcome on the live stage. In particular, “Uncommon Man” and “The Surprising” are showcases for Deep Purple’s progressive side, sometimes taken for granted. Both must be considered among the greatest Morse-era Purple songs. Both stun the senses, live.
While there was a live version of “Hell to Pay” (from Sweden) on the fairly recent single “Johnny’s Band”, another one in the context of the set is cool because it naturally introduces Don Airey’s keyboard solo (listen for a hint of “Mr. Crowley”). And that solo segues into “Perfect Strangers” after you place the third LP on the platter.
The usual suspects close out the set: “Space Truckin'”, “Smoke on the Water”, “Hush” (with a detour into the “Peter Gunn” theme) and “Black Night”. The reason Deep Purple get away with playing generous amounts of new material is because, without fail, they always deliver the Machine Head hits.
These live recordings were produced by Bob Ezrin, so you can count on great audio. Why should you choose this over the numerous other Deep Purple live albums from the Morse era? Because it is always a pleasure hearing new songs on the concert stage. Deep Purple have remained consistent over the decades and each live album offers a brief snapshot of a set you might never hear again.