Ian Gillan With The Don Airey Band and Orchestra – Contractual Obligation #2


In 2016 Ian Gillan did a mini tour in Eastern Europe accompanied by the Don Airey Band and an orchestra. The audiovisual result falls on our hands after three long years under the self-explanatory title “Contractual Obligation”. For starters, let me just point down that I was never a fan of the presence of an orchestra in rock & metal music. The sole exception to that rule was the monumental “Concerto For Group and Orchestra” (Deep Purple) which was really something completely different and groundbreaking. And since we got this out of our system, let’s dive into this live offering…

Gillan selects an exceptional set list which is indicative of how seriously he took the whole thing as he didn’t go with the obvious option to rely exclusively on the well-known hits. Naturally, there are some good old Purple classics in there but the vast majority of the songs have never or rarely been performed in the past. Thus when you listen to such tracks as “No Lotion For That”, “Razzle Dazzle”, “Anya” (!), “Demon’s Eye”, “Hang Me Out To Dry” you can only be positively surprised. Gillan’s voice is satisfactory, Don Airey is absolutely superb (with an extraordinary take on “Difficult To Cure”), the backing band is overall OK while from a technical standpoint I wouldn’t say that there are many studio interference in the final mix.
Personally, I was quite pleased with “Contractual Obligation” although I would love to be treated with some Gillan gems from the 1978-1982 era. But I guess that “Live in Anaheim” (2008) did a fine job from that aspect.

I don’t know for sure if there is a potential buying audience out there for a live album by Ian Gillan in 2019. But trust me when I say that whoever choose to buy it, he/she won’t be disappointed. Quite the contrary, really…unless you expect Gillan to scream like he did in the 70s or the early 90s.

Highlight: You can find also in the market “Contractual Obligation” (part 1 & 3) on Blue-Ray and vinyl respectively. The cool thing is that there different concerts in there. Marketing tool or what?