Released in 2017, here is Deep Purple’s “Infinite Gold Edition”, the band’s 20th studio album and fourth since new boy Don Airey joined on keyboards in 2002. We were lucky enough to see one of Don’s first gigs with his new band-mates at the Impact Arena in Bangkok on May 7th of that year.
The album starts off in fine style with “Time for Bedlam”, an eerie spoken entrance and then the band come rocking in. This is a splendid song which has rightly taken its place as the ‘live’ opener for the band, replacing the over used “Highway Star” (opening song since 1972.)
Ian Gillan’s voice is still in fine fettle – gone are the days of a screaming banshee but his voice is still melodic and pumped full of feeling. Don Airey has to be the number one keyboard player currently on the circuit, pulling off some wondrous solos and Steve Morse plays some amazing guitar and his solos are also staggering. This is made even more worthy as Morse suffers from osteoarthritis in his right hand, a condition that makes it painful for him to play and is also degenerative so he constantly has to adapt his technique. The inter-play between Morse and Airey is one of Deep Purple’s trademarks while the band’s rhythm section of Roger Glover and Ian Paice is the best in the world.
This album produced by Bob Ezrin is both progressive and heavy, but with Deep Purple stamped all the way through it. The songs in the first half are all full of wit and wisdom, while the musicianship is never worth less than 5 stars. From the amusing “Hip Boots”, to the riotous rock of “One Night in Vegas”, and “Get Me Outta Here” is as heavy as Purple get. “Johnny’s Song” is a continuation on the theme of Johnny B. Goode and “Bird of Prey” is a 24-carat Purple classic and will be a highlight of the live set for many years to come.
So nine staggeringly good songs to get the ball rolling, then it’s not that the album goes downhill, it totally collapses. The main disc one of this “Gold Edition” ends with a simply lame version of the Doors classic “Roadhouse Blues”. Any lounge act in the world could put more oomph into this song than is heard in this pathetic run through. What were they collectively thinking?
The second CD, called “From Here To Infinite”, should have been called “From Here To The Dustbin”. With the exception of the Steve Morse instrumental studio version of “Uncommon Man”, it is a collection of demos, out-takes (there is a good reason they are called out-takes), a collection of live Purple classics (which if you did not have already then why are you buying this album?), plus most amazingly a patchy (in a bad way) ten minute guitar solo from Tommy Bolin, who left Deep Purple forty years ago!
Play and enjoy the first nine tracks, worthy of 5 stars, the rest should be confined to the deleted bin.
Time For Bedlam
All I Got Is You
One Night In Vegas
Get Me Outta Here
On Top Of The World
Bird of Prey
Road House Blues
Paradise Bar (Non Album Track)
Above and Beyond
All The Time in The World
Guitar Solo –Tommy Bolin
Uncommon Man (Previously unreleased Studio Version)
First Sign Of Madness
Hip Boots (Ian Paice’s Rehearsal Tape)
Time For Bedlam (First Take)
Highway Star (Live)
No One Came (Live)
Strange Kinda Woman (Live)
Perfect Strangers (Live)
Black Night (Live)
Written by Mott The Dog and Hells Bells, photos by Carlos Delgado. Mott The Dog can often be found resting in his kennel at Jameson’s Irish Pub, Soi AR, North Pattaya.