live in Birmingham 1993

RCA BMG 74321 22443 9 : EU : April 2001 DVD

The original video release did get somewhat overlooked in all the recriminations of Blackmore jumping ship mid-tour, but BMG have taken the controversial 1993 Birmingham NEC footage issued originally on VHS and reauthored it for DVD.

There's no additional footage, so we're missing:

90 seconds of 'Highway Star' including a full verse and the organ solo (at the tail of which Blackmore finally arrived on stage, greeted with huge relief from an audience who were starting to believe that he wasn't going to show up at all!)

All of the first encore, 'Hush'.

BMG claim bonus interviews but these are the same as on the original VHS. I thought at least here you'll be able to skip past them as they didn't half break up the continuity but dpas member Steve Richards (who confirms that the sound in awesome) tells me they've not indexed them separately. An inessentail onscreen biography, lyrics and a discography are thus the only 'extras'.

However on the audio side of things they do reckon to have beefed up the sound properly to take advantage of the 5.1 multi speaker systems DVD can power. The picture quality is also superb. The disc comes in a standard DVD plastic case and inlay, with the artwork as per the video release.

The NEC water throwing incident perpetrated by Blackmore during his 'Highway Star' guitar solo is still one of the most talked about happenings of the reunion era, and recently Blackmore's roadie Rob Fodder (who if I remember rightly used to be a DPAS member!) decided to put his side of events:

"I went to tell Ritchie that the intro tape was playing and that he had a couple of minutes, and he told me to get the cameras offstage. I went back onstage and told a cameraman who was between Roger and Jon that he'd better move offstage. He then proceeded to break down his camera and move off. I went back to get Ritchie and we walked to the stage. When we got there, we saw that the cameraman is hadn't left at all. Ritchie calmly turned around and walked back to the dressing room. I ran back onstage and told the cameraman again that if he didn't get off, he'd be risking the show (in not very friendly terms). Again I went to the dressing room to let Ritchie know that there weren't any cameras on stage.

By this time the band were well into "Highway Star". Ritchie walked out on stage and joined the band. Then he noticed that the cameraman had just moved in into the shadows behind Jon, he picked up the water by the keyboard and threw it at the camera, not Gillan, not Jon, or even the band members wives, but definitely at the camera. Not many people know that in between "Highway Star" and "Black Night", Ritchie ran behind the amps with a beer and soaked the cameraman again as he was wiping his equipment.

Ritchie blames Colin Hart for the whole thing, as he had stipulated that there weren't to be any cameras onstage and it had been agreed by management. In fact Ritchie had requested an earlier European show be videoed as Gillan's voice would be fresher."

The show still comes across as good, but certainly not great. The editing cuts more of Blackmore's absences from stage, which does lend the show more of a semblance of normality. However, anyone who witnessed his fabulous display in Brixton the previous night for instance (especially the incredible solo in 'Anya' ) would be fully aware of the abruptly shortened solos in the Birmingham recording. It is a shame that it is the only filmed recording released from what was a generally a scorching tour.

(based on a review by Simon Robinson in Darker Than Blue 54)

Postscript: A camera crew also had a run-in with Deep Purple at the 2002 Birmingham show. Luckily, as in 1993 the performance was still fully filmed despite earlier news to the contrary. More details in Darker Than Blue 55.

The Deep Purple 'Come Hell Or High Water' DVD is available to buy from the dpas online store

The disc is Region 0 (all regions)

The sound has an option between Dolby Digital stereo, and
Dolby 5.1 surround sound.
Image ratio is wider than 4:3 throughout.

Live in Birmingham, 9th November 1993

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