This is Part 2 of a double-sized Deep Purple deluxe InFinite box set review! For Part 1, click here.
DEEP PURPLE – InFinite (2017 Edel deluxe box set edition)
When we last met, we took a solid look at Deep Purple’s fine new album, InFinite. Because the year is 2017, InFinite is available in multiple editions. The most logical to buy is the deluxe box set. This includes:
- InFinite on CD
- From Here to InFinite – a full length documentary DVD
- InFinite on a 2 LP set in its own double gatefold
- The Now What?! Live Tapes, Vol. 2 – an exclusive live album included on three 10″ records
- A T-shirt
- A poster
- Five lovely photo cards
- A sticker
That’s a lot of goodies for a reasonable price, and it all comes housed in a sturdy box.
The included DVD is a very intimate look at the creation of InFinite from writing to overdubs. Narrated by Rick Wakeman (you read that correctly), it also looks at the moments that Steve Morse and Don Airey joined the band. Much attention is given to the shocking departure of Ritchie Blackmore in 1993, and the acquisition of Joe Satriani (who is interviewed for the DVD). However, Joe had commitments and couldn’t stay long. Deep Purple couldn’t wait for him, so they had to look for someone else. They had a list, and the first name on it was Steve Morse. Almost instantly they found themselves rediscovering the joy of music. The atmosphere and attitude of the band did a complete 180. When Jon Lord’s passing is discussed, there are a few teary eyes and sincere words. Moving on to InFinite, it is remarkable to watch the band pluck ideas from the air and mold them into songs. Bob Ezrin is a huge part of the process, with his own ideas and preferences. His reputation as a taskmaster is reinforced by the band, but it seems like a very easy collaboration. They have the same goals and desires, and trust each other’s musical instincts. There is also a shockingly frank discussion with Steve Morse, about the osteoarthritis in his picking hand. His technique has, over the years, worn out his wrist to the point that there is bone-on-bone contact. The pain has grown so severe that playing the guitar required him to completely change his picking technique, while wearing a wrist brace. Meanwhile Don Airey gets 20 “Cool Points” for wearing both a Rival Sons T-shirt, and a Winnipeg Jets sweater. Canucks will also be pleased to know that Ian Gillan recorded his vocals at Bob Ezrin’s studio in Toronto.
The DVD can be had in a CD/DVD set, so the real reason for fans to choose this box set is The Now What?! Live Tapes, Vol. 2. Vol. 1 was included on the “gold” reissue of their last album Now What?! Vol. 2 is, as it states on the sleeve, “100% live! 100% unreleased!” There are some obscure tracks on here, making this live album very enticing indeed. You don’t have to sit through more versions of “Smoke on the Water” or “Black Night”. Even better, or perhaps best of all to the vinyl nerds, are the lovely records that comprise The Now What?! Live Tapes, Vol. 2. Three 10″ records, each in their own coloured sleeve, and each on coloured vinyl! White, clear, and clear blue.
“Après Vous” (from London) commences the proceedings. This newby from Now What?! has a lot of life on stage, and the long instrumental section sounds kinda like the old days. Then an oldie: “Into the Fire” (Milan) from 1970’s Deep Purple In Rock. Ian really strains his voice on this one, but somehow pulls it off with style. Back to London for “The Mule”, a song featuring Ian Paice’s busiest drum work. No problems from Paicey. Indeed, on the DVD Paicey says he hasn’t experienced much physical difficulty in continuing to play the way he wants to.
The second record starts with Purple’s recent “Green Onions”/”Hush” medley (Gaevle, Sweden), a cool way to inject new life into one of Purple’s earliest singles. The interplay between the four musicians during the jam section is remarkable. Even though most of the originals are long gone, it sounds sorta like Purple circa 1969. Another medley showcasing Steve Morse (“The captain of the skies, the Aviator”, says Gillan) occupies side two. “Contact Lost” (London) is Morse’s short instrumental tribute to the crew of STS-107, known to most as the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. This merges into Purple’s majestic song for Jon Lord, “Uncommon Man” and finally Steve’s instrumental “The Well-Dressed Guitar”.
One more record to go. The excellent single “All the Time in the World” from Now What?! comes from Aalborg, Denmark. It’s a slick and laid back jazzy rock groove. Purple always seem to find a great groove, and “All the Time in the World” is unlike previous ones. “Highway Star” (London) is like a polar opposite. Though you know they will hold it all together, “Highway Star” still sounds so fast that it could come off the tracks at any time. 1971’s “Strange Kind of Woman” (Aalborg) is a long-time favourite with fun vocal-guitar interplay. Back to London for the last track, “Space Truckin'”. What can you say about “Space Truckin'”? Not much except that Ian Paice still kicks it, and hard!
Purple fanatics who still love what the band is doing today will need this box set. It will be indispensable to them. Wear your T-shirts with pride! For the casual Purple fan who just wants to check out the CD and DVD, that edition will suffice.
To InFinite and beyond!
Further reading on more Deep Purple InFinite related releases:
DEEP PURPLE – Time For Bedlam (2017 Edel EP)
DEEP PURPLE – All I Got is You (2017 Edel EP)
DEEP PURPLE – Limitless (2017 exclusive CD included with Classic Rock #234, April 2017)
DEEP PURPLE – InFinite (2017 Edel)