Quick review: Ian Gillan: Contractual Obligation #2 Live in Warsaw

Contractual Obligation #2: Live in Warsaw by Ian Gillan, Don Airey and the Don Airey Band is an album I am enjoying a lot more than I’d have expected to. Gillan/Airey and band play some Deep Purple classics, some deep cuts and some Gillan solo tracks with the Beethoven Academy Orchestra. The orchestral arrangements are the same Purple used on their orchestral tour in 2011: mostly not imaginative but very road-ready to play with local orchestras without too much fuss; the orchestra can pick their parts right up and the band can play what they always play. It’s a little lower-intensity than a Deep Purple show and that really helps Gillan’s vocal performance. It’s not like 1972 but it’s a step up from the last decade or so. Airey is his wonderful self, and the guitarist and bassist are the shit. There’s a rumor that the guitarist, Simon McBride, is being considered as Steve Morse’s understudy for when he’s unable to play with Purple due to the osteoarthritis that has been giving him trouble. He’d be an interesting choice; his tone and his take on the solos is different enough, even when he plays ‘like the record’, are different enough to stand out from how Morse plays things

Not-often-played Deep Purple cuts include Anya from 1993 and Demon’s Eye from 1971. The Gillan tracks are focused on his poppier works. There are two other albums with the “Contractual Obligations” title: the Blu-Ray edition (#1) and the vinyl edition (#3) were recorded at different dates on the same short tour. I’ve seen clips of the Blu-Ray and it doesn’t look like the visuals add much in this case, and the vinyl, by definition, is not available as a legal download, so I’m sticking with this one.

If you buy one album this year… it shouldn’t be this one as it’s pretty inessential. But it’s fun!