Well, obviously, they all came down to Montreux, and on this occasion, the fire on stage was metaphoric rather than literal, as the quintet led by wailing Ian Gillan closed the 40th Montreux festival in 2006.
The 16-song set pitches recent Rapture Of The Deep material amid classics such as opener Pictures Of Home, with Don Airey’s bombastic keys complementing Steve Morse’s precise guitar and a grinding rhythm engine. Highlights include a roaring Strange Kind Of Woman, an impassioned When A Blind Man Cries and the hurtling misnomer of Lazy. Airey’s eclectic and amusing solo spot leads into the colossus that is Space Truckin’, followed closely by a blazing Highway Star and signature Smoke On The Water. Their cover of Hush sounds as fresh as ever, before rolling into the closing climax of Black Night.
A companion disc adds another 10 numbers, some repeated, but also including other standards, such as the opening Fireball, and Perfect Strangers, recorded that same year at London’s refurbished Hard Rock Cafe. Filmed in front of a small, invited industry crowd, the band’s late-night set generated feverish acclaim, and it rounds out 186 minutes of scintillating live action, bolstered with band interviews.