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Deep Purple with The Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Bushnell Center For The Performing Arts, Hartford, CT – 6/8

Back in 1969 the Mk II line up cut their teeth with the Royal Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, releasing an album of their performance the following year. So the band are quite comfortable working with guys in tuxedoes and didn’t look out of place amid the Bushnell’s pomp. The orchestra remained unobtrusive throughout the concert, though the loudest band in the world was never in danger of being drowned out. The early seventies material benefited the most from the orchestral filigree, but even newer songs like “Rapture of the Deep” worked quite nicely.

The Machine Head album was well represented with six songs, but the band also touched on post-reformation songs like” Contact Lost” and Perfect Strangers. Ian Gillen still sounds great but struggled mightily with the higher notes on Lazy and “Space Truckin’”, songs that put him on the map.

As things wrapped up Steve Morse hit the most famous riff in rock and roll, heralding “Smoke On The Water” (with Morse it’s Ritchie Blackmore’s licks without the scowl). They encored with “Black Night” and first single “Hush” from ’68, a repertoire any band would kill for, leaving 2,000 people feeling progstatic.

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