From the Setting Sun…in Wacken

REVIEW: Deep Purple – From the Setting Sun…in Wacken (2 CD/1DVD)

The Deep Purple Project must continue!  Their most recent live releases are next up.

DEEP PURPLE – From the Setting Sun…in Wacken (2015 Edel 2 CD/1DVD set)

“This record is the first of a double release,” says Roger Glover in the liner notes.  The second is called To the Rising Sun…in Tokyo which we’ll examine in a separate review (including the Japanese bonus tracks).  This nicely assembled three disc set has the entire show on both CD and DVD, a 2013 concert at the legendary Wacken Open Air festival.

Our friend of ours, Jessie David at 107.5 Dave Rocks, went to Wacken in 2015. “I can say that going to Wacken is truly life-changing. It is an experience like no other: Where every single person there is part of a family.” Roger Glover says the real stars of this show are the audience.

There is one small bonus feature on this DVD to get out of the way before we start the show.  It was surprising to see Deep Purple release a new music video in 2013!  “Vincent Price” was a fun music clip, featuring plenty of band shots.  The horror movie storyline is entertaining and make for a fun video.  Perhaps the actor in the video playing the titular character should also play Governor Tarkin in an upcoming Star Wars anthology film?  This video is not really appropriate for kids, so be forewarned!

Purple’s Wacken set was filmed and recorded for posterity quite well. I don’t know if I have ever seen Deep Purple captured so clearly.  Taking the stage in daylight, we begin with “Highway Star”.

Ian Gillan’s voice is quite thin; this is one of the poorest live Deep Purple releases as far as vocals go.  That’s unfortunate but at least they didnt’ “fix it in the mix” as they say.  Roger Glover seems to be having a blast, pulling faces and poses over on the bass station.  Bathed in the setting sun (hence the album title), the lighting is quite dramatic.  The old In Rock classic “Into the Fire”, rarely played, is up next.  Ian really struggles with his voice, having to affect a nasal tone, but he’s starting to warm up a bit now.  Hey; the man is 70 years old!  Then, directly into “Hard Lovin’ Man” from the same album, another rarely played smoker.  Ian’s on track now!  Organist Don Airey is brilliant on this.

Newish single “Vincent Price”, the same song as the music video, is next in the set.  Because of the spooky keyboards, it does not sound like any of the prior songs, which is great as the sun goes lower on the horizon.  I think new material works best sprinkled in the set at the right times, and that’s the approach Purple took here.  This corker moves directly into “Strange Kind of Woman” somehow, but this oldie is starting to sound a bit tired.  The first solo spot of the show is Steve Morse’s dual guitar solo, “Contact Lost” and “The Well-Dressed Guitar”.  This dramatic scene is a show highlight, as thousands of people wave their hands in the air to the music.  The two musical pieces are brilliant in composition and execution.  Another new single, “Hell to Pay” has to follow this smoke show.  The song always struck me as custom-written for the stage, and this appears to be true in Wacken.

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Don Airey’s keyboard spotlight on “Lazy” is impressive.  It’s hard to forget the man he replaced in Deep Purple (Jon Lord).  In many ways his solo is a tribute to Lord, as he plays a few cues that Jon wrote.  The band never seems to tire of playing it.  However they stall a bit on “Above and Beyond”, perhaps a song less well adapted to the stage.  “No One Came” on the other hand always kicks ass live.  With Don Airey on keyboards it has some new flavours to it, and then he gets a full-fledged keyboard solo of his own.  He plays all over the musical map, and even hints at “Mr. Crowley”, a song he used to play with Ozzy Osbourne.

“Perfect Strangers” is usually the only song from the 1980’s that Deep Purple still play.  The drama builds as we get closer to the end of the show.  It is dark out now in Wacken but the crowd still bounce along to the music.  I have long felt that “Perfect Strangers” works very well with Steve Morse on guitar, and that was true in Wacken in 2015.  Then we’re off “Space Truckin'”, another song boasting many jawdropping musical moments.

The biggest surprise is the appearance of a wisened Uli Jon Roth on “Smoke on the Water”.  He and Steve Morse have a blast playing off each other.  Think of it:  Two of the most unique and  incredible guitarists in the world on one stage, playing back and forth.  I say this often in my Deep Purple reviews, but what more could you want?  Uli’s solo is pure magic.  He is a force of nature, but so is Steve Morse.  If Uli is wind, then Morse is fire.

Encore time:  Purple started playing “Green Onions” as a prelude to “Hush” a couple years ago.  This is one of the most magical moments in the set.  The energy is palpable.  “Black Night”, which also has a brief segue into Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times”, is the final tune of the night, an otherwise standard take with amazing playing regardless.

It’s a fair bet that Purple won over Wacken in 2013.  Pick up this live set for a taste.

3.5/5 stars

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#458: The LeBrain 2015 Christmas Extraganza! – full report

GETTING MORE TALE #458: The LeBrain 2015 Christmas Extraganza! – full report

Scraps of turkey remain, wrapped in tinfoil, awaiting soup or sandwiches to be made.  The cranberry sauce, if not used up, has been thrown out along with a mountain of cardboard and paper packaging.  Bank balances are lower, but hearts are fuller.  Christmas has come and gone.

Here we sit on the Monday after, hopefully still on vacation, to enjoy the spoils.

The first thing I need to address personally is this:  Happy birthday to my sister Kathryn!  Kathryn requested a birthday review this year, but unfortunately I just have not had the time to do it.  I will review her request sometime in early 2016!

The first Christmas gift that I opened came in the mail from Aaron who sneakily did this even though he certainly didn’t have to!  And I know he has sent Christmas gifts to other folks in the community.  What a generous lad!  I know he loves to hear about how we react to his surprises, so I had Mrs. LeBrain record mine.  This was done on the evening of the 22nd. Thanks Aaron!

You can’t have too many Kiss shirts!  And that Flying Colors blu-ray is going to be amazing.  In fact I’m already arranging a group screening for review purposes!

On the 23rd, we had a half day at work, and a huge Christmas feast for lunch. This was catered in by a company called Platters that we’d never tried before. It was easily the best catered meal we have had in my eight Christmases at the company. Lots of laughs and handshakes, and then by 1:00, most people had taken off for the Christmas break. For some of us though, a long day was still ahead! We had taken on a job that was new to us only a week before. The job had to be completed and shipped on the 23rd, so we had a skeleton crew left, working hard to get this accomplished. I was responsible for coordinating the customs paperwork, and so I was among the stragglers. Around 5:00, the job was finally completed and I crawled home exhausted to begin my holiday. It sure felt amazing to walk in that door!

Mail had arrived, and in the box was Marillion’s latest fan club-only Christmas CD!  Free gifts given only to fan club members, I collect these things which are true rarities. I’m only missing the first two (1998 and 1999). This year is a double live called A Monstrously Festive(al) Christmas.

On December 24th, Christmas Eve, it was so warm outside that I was wearing shorts. In all my years I have never seen a Christmas without any snow. This was the first. We’ve had blizzards and mild weather but nothing like this!

Christmas in shorts

Christmas in shorts

Over the course of the next 24 hours, there were some pretty damn cool gifts given and received.  Here are the musical highlights.  All are still sealed, so as to savour every delightful moment.  As usual, I have some intensive listening to do in the weeks and months to come.  Do you see something here you’d like reviewed?

It’s a very Purple Christmas this year!  Hard Road is a 5 disc box set containing the first three Purple albums with bonus tracks, and also the rare original mono mixes, which I have never heard before.  This renders even the best remastered versions of the early Purple CDs obsolete.  I need someone to gift them to!  As for the Rainbow, and Wacken sets…this is a lot of hours of music.  Include that Flying Colors double live as part of my Purple Christmas!

The live rock continues:

Two new releases and one classic.  Many more hours of incredible musicianship to be had right here.  But what’s Christmas without some kind of crazy deluxe edition boxed set?

I originally acquired Too Old to Rock ‘N’ Roll in 2012, so I don’t know it very intimately.  I do like it though, so why not go for the whole hog?  This box set contains: the original album, the previous bonus tracks with a bunch more on top, the original quadrophonic mix transferred to DVD for the 4.0 quad experience, a TV special, bonus video features such as a tribute to the late bassist John Glascock, and lots more.  Go big or go home!

Then we have this massive Led Zeppelin book set, The Ultimate Collection by Chris Welch, including a DVD and an enormous amount of reproduction memorabilia:

Sheer overload!  When am I going to have time to go through all this?  I only have a week off!

Fortunately, I have already enjoyed these two movies, Ted 2 and Ant-Man.  Great way to enjoy Boxing Day.

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New Transformers and nerd-stuffs also arrived chez LeBrain.  My mom even bought me a selfie stick Nerd Stick.  Look at the aerial photo I took of her Christmas village!  In fact, the only snow in town could be found in her Christmas village.

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Nerd stuffs:

Finally, I needed a new coffee mug.  I need a cup that can comfortably hold 12 oz.  Mrs. LeBrain’s Mom delivered, with my brand new Vader mug.  Dark side or not, that’s just a light roast inside him.  This is actually quite a nice mug, with silver paint applications on Vader’s mask.  It’s odd to see the Disney logo on anything I own, but there it was on the box.  I believe that Lord Vader will be accompanying me as I journey through the light and dark sides of live music sets!

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I hope everyone had a merry, merry Christmas.  Next up:  the new year.  And you know what that means!  Year end lists!  Next time on Getting More Tale.

LeBrain