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Deep Purple with Orchestra: Live at Montreux 2011 Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, LPCM 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: NR
  • Run Time: 115 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment/The Weinstein Company
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 8, 2011
  • List Price: $19.98

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BestBuy.com:
Deep Purple with Orchestra: Live at Montreux 2011 - Dolby Dts

Purchase Deep Purple with Orchestra: Live at Montreux 2011 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Performance
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:3/5]

Mention Deep Purple and hard rock fans the world over will probably swoon. Who isn’t familiar with the band’s classic tracks “Smoke in the Water” and “Hush”? It is only fitting that they would return often to Montreux, their first appearance their being marked by a fire that would inspire their aforementioned signature song.

Deep Purple with Orchestra: Live at Montreux 2011 finds the band performing on the last night of the Montreux Jazz Festival with a full orchestra backing them up to fill out their familiar guitar-based sound. When rock bands take on orchestras in their live shows (or studio albums, for that matter) it is always a hit and miss proposition. In this instance, it is a definite miss, almost as bad as Metallica with strings. The orchestra in this case just sounds like an aural appendage that doesn’t really meld with the band’s sound well at all; it only adds to the already congested sound of this not well mixed show (see below).

Otherwise, Deep Purple in this July 16, 2011 performance, run through their vast back catalogue of hits, including “Highway Star,” “Woman From Tokyo,” and the crowd pleasers “Hush” and “Smoke on the Water” among other numbers. It’s neither the most energetic show I’ve seen nor the most enthusiastic audience response and I wonder how much of it has to do with the unfortunate decision to include the orchestra. It’s not that I have anything against blending orchestral music with rock. When done well, it can be very effective. The Beatles did it, and Peter Gabriel recently redid his music in full orchestral form with marvelous effect on his New Blood album and live show. Even artists like PJ Harvey have experimented with the form, but in the case of this Deep Purple show, there’s just nothing innovative or even necessary added by the addition of the orchestra.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The 1080i/60 AVC/MPEG-4 encodement of this original high definition source looks strong for a concert video. Quick pans and short edits are kept at a minimum making it easy to watch and free from excessive motion artifacts. Detail is strong and video nose is minimal. There’s good contrast and color reproduction, especially in the flesh tones.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

I’m afraid to say that audio on this release is an absolute miss and it doesn’t really matter if you choose the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, the LPCM 2.0 stereo mix, or the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Instrumental separation is poor, dynamics are nonexistent, and the vocals are often badly buried in the overall mix. It just sounds like the mixing engineer was trying to push everything int eh mix upfront all at once and it bleeds into a colossal mess. As for the orchestra, they can barely be distinguished in all this mess. About the only thing that sort of stands out are Steve Morse’s guitar solos in the right front channel. The midrange is also overemphasized and surround channels carry the bare minimum of ambience. At higher volumes, this performance becomes fatiguing very quickly.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The supplements are limited to interviews with band members, although it would have been nice to include some bonus performances.

The supplements:

  • Interviews:
  • Ian Gillan
  • Ian Paice
  • Roger Glover
  • Steve Morse
  • Don Airey

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Only the most enthusiastic Deep Purple fans will want to pick this one up. Otherwise, this release is marred by poor sound and unfortunate orchestral arrangements that bring down the energy level and pleasure of the show.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005OZ4GXS[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Deep Purple with Orchestra: Live at Montreux 2011 - Dolby Dts

Purchase Deep Purple with Orchestra: Live at Montreux 2011 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Performance
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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