Deep Purple

It’s not exactly a novel idea for a veteran rock band to go on tour accompanied by an orchestra. But Deep Purple executed the idea first—and long ago—playing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969. The band revisited the concept at its June 23 show at the Pearl, part of a three-week North American tour, but despite the 30-piece symphony sitting behind them, Purple kept the volume cranked up to 11. For most songs, the orchestra was dispensable, and on others, such as classics “Maybe I’m a Leo” and “Space Truckin’,” the symphony simply sat back while the rockers delivered. Singer Ian Gillian can’t quite reach the heights he used to, but he still possesses one of rock’s most enduring voices. Longtime bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice continue to produce a heavy bottom, while Don Airey infused each song with Purple’s trademark Hammond organ. Steve Morse, who replaced guitar god Ritchie Blackmore in the mid-‘90s, cleverly eased into the iconic riff for “Smoke on the Water” by first playing other timeless guitar bits from “Purple Haze,” Sweet Child O Mine” and “Day Tripper.” While the orchestra did have a few moments in which it noticeably augmented the band, such as during Morse’s solo on “Highway Star” and bolstering the driving rhythm of “Perfect Strangers,” mostly it was drowned out by Purple’s wall of sound.

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