For sound and picture quality the Total Abandon DVD probably stands as the pinnacle of Deep Purple live releases. It's a superb document of the Mk7 Lord-Morse-Gillan-Glover-Paice line-up in action. The flaw, if it could be counted as such, is that it was recorded at least one year too late, at a time when the band's live act had begun swinging towards a greatest hits package.

The DVD is packed with entertaining material, combining a full show from Melbourne Australia on 20th April 1999, with the now-deleted 'A Band Down Under' video release (minus 'Smoke On The Water', which has since thankfully been added to the New Live & Rare collection). Over 200 minutes in total. Thames Thompson may not have been able to spell 'Black Night' correctly on any of their releases ('Black Knight' indeed....), but they always give great value for money.

The set list for Melbourne caught Deep Purple's live set in mid transition. From the opening shows of the Abandon world tour in mid 1998 the set had been hemorrhaging new tracks at a steady rate.... 'Evil Louie', 'Any Fule Kno That', 'Fingers To The Bone' and 'Seventh Heaven' had all been dropped before the band reached Australia in April 1999; leaving just 'Almost Human' and 'Watching The Sky' left awaiting the chop. Those two are the key tracks for me, although there is plenty to interest and excite... the re-arranged 1998 version of 'Strange Kind Of Woman' is intriguing, and 'Pictures Of Home' is beginning to stretch out towards the lengthy improvised versions which kicked off the European shows in the summer of 1999. Which again brings up the question of unfortunate timing... by the time of those European shows a beautifully elongated '69' had been added to the set for the first time.

What was performed in Melbourne sounds superb, if over- familiar towards the conclusion of the show. Good to have Steve's pre 'Smoke..' riff juke-box routine, and so superbly filmed. The picture throughout is A1, though after all the talk concerning the cutting edge technology used in recording the show, I was surprised to see that it is only presented in regular 4:3 TV format. After all the hard work to make the DVD simply the greatest, surely a 16:9 widesreen picture should have been prerequisite...

'A Band Down Under' makes for a perfect companion to the concert film, a neat 70 minute look at Deep Purple's history from an Australian perspective, culminating with their 1999 visit and the accompanying glut of previews, interviews, tv appearances, and gigs. It's split into eleven tracks for the DVD, which bear closer scrutiny...

'Intro' is not listed on the dvd box, but can be accessed from the menu. It's the opening 3 minutes of the collection, a look back at previous Deep Purple visits to Australia. This includes a frustrating scene where Ian Paice talks about the Sunbury 1975 show, while TV footage of the show is visible on a monitor behind him. The 1975 video looks atmospheric but rough quality wise, and is apparently minus a soundtrack...

1/ The Evolution Of The Band
   A three minute interview with Ian Gillan, talking through a vague history of the Deep Purple reunion.

2/ DP Live - Bulgaria 1998, Sth America 1997
   One minute each of 'Woman From Tokyo' from Sofia, and 'Black Night' from Sao Paulo, along with a rough looking clip from the Abandon press kit. More from the shows can be found on the 'New Live & Rare' collection.

3/ Seventh Heaven (live)
  The track played live at the LA House Of Blues in January 1998. A very welcome inclusion.

4/ DP Commercial (Australian TV)
The Australian TV ad for the tour.
5/ MTV Australian Special + tour dates
Continuing to focus on the build up to the tour, we have two more tracks from the House Of Blues: 'Into The Fire' and 'When A Blind Man Cries'.
6/ Ian Gillan's Walkabout / Int at Fraser Is, including rehearsal for Hey Hey It's Saturday, Live On Tour Brisbane & Adelaide 1999
   The walkabout looks like Ian Gillan promoting Coolum as a neat place for a holiday. The TV rehearsals are very short, and usually have narration over them, but we do glimpse the band jamming the riff of 'Evil Louie'. The live footage is all recorded on a single camera. We get a minute each of 'Ted The Mechanic' and 'Bloodsucker', followed by a full 'Strange Kind Of Woman'.

7/ John Laws Intv.
  8 minutes from Gillan and Glover's appearance on the 'Laws' Australian TV chat show.
8/ Ted The Mechanic (Live, Adelaide April '99)
A two minute, one camera clip.

9/ Roger Glover Intv. (Andrew Jarman Channel 7)
  A daft 2 minutes from the 'Today Tonight' TV show, of Roger chatting with the resident Aussie rules footie pundit.

10/ Hey Hey It's Saturday Rehearsals
 Some of the nicest footage on the entire dvd, showing the band stood chatting around the Hammond. Jon's easy listening version of 'Smoke..' sounds ab fab!

11/ Triple MMM Radio Intv
   Ten minutes of the band chatting live at the Triple M radio studios. Not essential..

The feature is rounded off with the credits rolling, and the band's manager lost in the corridors of a TV studio. On the video version there was also the mass 'Smoke On The Water' from 'Hey Hey It's Saturday', which has been added to New Live & Rare.

review: David Browne

The Deep Purple 'Total Abandon' DVD is available to buy from the
dpas online store

The disc is Region 0 (all regions), and is available as both

The sound is Dolby 2.0, plus 5.1 surround sound for
the Melbourne show.
Image ratio is 4:3 throughout.


deep purple dvd reviews