I probably should have known better.
When I signed on to review this massive DVD boxed set, I just didn't yet realize what I was getting myself into, nor that I was probably biting off a bit more than I could chew. You see Around The World Live isn't just any live concert DVD, but rather captures four complete Deep Purple concerts filmed between 1995 and 2002.
That's 540 minutes — as in nine freaking hours — of ear-splitting live rock and roll from the band who to this day holds the Guinness World Record of being the loudest in the world. That my friends, is a whole lot of "Smoke On The Water."
So at the risk of coming off like that guy from Maxim magazine who got busted for writing about a Black Crowes record he never actually bothered listening to, I'll also admit that I haven't quite gotten through all nine hours yet.
But I am working on it. I also like what I've seen and heard so far. A lot, actually.
I have some very fond memories of Deep Purple from my high school years. Most of these revolve around the classic live album Made in Japan, which was always in heavy rotation at all of the keg parties I attended back then. It was also a perennial favorite on the 8-Track tape deck in the car, occupying a sacred spot somewhere in between Uriah Heep Live, Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies, and Black Oak Arkansas' immortal live classic Raunch And Roll.
I also have a distinct memory of actually losing my hearing after attending one of their concerts, and standing a little too close to the P.A. For three days after that, I actually found myself stumbling around like a sloppy drunk, and walking into walls due to my equilibrium being knocked completely off-kilter by the temporary deafness.
That band, in its classic incarnation featuring guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, organist Jon Lord, and vocalist Ian Gillan probably did more than anyone to popularize what we today call heavy metal, though the music itself bears little resemblance to the current 2008 genre model.
What is seen and heard on Around The World Live is not the same band.
Actually, not even close. Deep Purple have been through so many personnel changes since the glory days of the classic lineup, you wouldn't be far off in calling them the real life Spinal Tap. At one time or another, everybody from the late, great Tommy Bolin, to Joe Satriani, to Whitesnake's David Coverdale has done time in the 'Purp.