December 10, 2009 – 2:12 pm

A look at Deep Purple, through the pages of Live! Music Review, edited by Bill Glahn… from Richie Blackmore’s beautiful, quiet, Hendrix-like intro to Smoke on the Water to Into the Fire which Ian Gillan introduces as “Rock ‘n’ roll with its trousers down…”

No MAFIAA Needed: Independent Artist Download of the Week

If you want The Motet’s new album, Dig Deep, all you need to do is go to their My Space page and download it. No charge. You won’t find a more fan-friendly deal than that.

But it gets better. Their taping policy?  “The Motet strongly encourages taping of our live shows and trading of these recordings.”

What more could a fan ask for? But the band takes it even a step further. They regularly upload fully mixed band-recorded shows on The Internet Archive, available to all fans, even those not tuned into tape-trading circles.

The Motet is a Denver-based group formed in 1998 by drummer/percussionist Dave Watts. If you think their performance-based approach to a career is the only thing that’s 21st century about them, then you really need to check out their music as well.

Imagine a jam band with a horn section that draws heavily on afro-beat and electronica. Not to mention funk and the ability to rock. If that sounds like where Sly Stone might have taken things had he continued to be a productive musician, you’re on the right track.

So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to find the band doing an entire set of Sly & the Family Stone tunes this past Halloween - a day when many bands choose to step out of their normal routine to cover tunes by their influences. But how many bands actually have one of their idols show up to take part in the celebration? In this case, Family Stone guitarist Gail Muldrow joined the band for the entire set, which includes this issue’s download of the week, If You Want Me To Stay.

And now… To the archives.

The Deep Purple Files Pt. 2
(more reviews by Steve Wunrow, from the April 1995 and November 1996 issues of Live! Music Review)

Munchen 9.20.74
Tracks: Burn, Might Just Take Your Life, Lay Down Stay Down, Mistreated, Smoke on the Water, Space Truckin’
Here’s one from the Coverdale/Hughes Mk. III Deep Purple recorded near the end of their Burn tour. It’s a good show and worth hunting down just to listen to Blackmore’s beautiful, quiet, Hendrix-like intro to Smoke on the Water, which later evolved and is an early version of Rainbow’s Catch the Rainbow. They also do the Lazy jam during SOTW as well.

Copenhagen 3.20.75
Tracks: Burn, Stormbringer, Gypsy, Lady Double Dealer, Mistreated, Smoke on the Water, You Fool No One, Space Truckin’, Going Down, Highway Star
This show has already been released in Japan by another company under the title Wonderful Copenhagen. This version is slightly better sound quality. Still - it’s one for the more serious collector only.

Sunbury 1.25.75
Tracks: Burn, Stormringer, Gypsy, Lady Double Dealer, Mistreated, Smoke on the Water
This is an interesting show from a one-off outdoor festival. The attendance was only around 20,000 of an expected 60,000 or more due to rain and crummy weather. As a result, Blackmore is in a feisty and aggressive mood which he channels into an inspired, at times, performance. It’s a decent audience recording with Richie’s guitar drowning out Coverdale’s vocals at times.

Oldenburg ‘71
Tracks: Speed King, Strange Kind of Woman, Child In Time, Into the Fire, Mandrake Root
Venue: Oldenburg, Germany 4/7/71
Sound: very good audience recording, vocals on the thin side but guitar is nice and loud

Here’s a show of a previously uncirculated tape from the halcyon days of the Purps. Deep Purple’s live show was reaching a peak that would shortly be eroded by constant touring and increasing internal fighting within the group.

Oldenburg was a part of a quick four-day German tour that the band undertook in the middle of the recording of the Fireball album. Strange Kind of Woman had just been released as a single and they had already incorporated it into their stage act.

The band takes a while to tune up and then start with a furiously paced Speed King that has Jon Lord and Richie Blackmore playing off each other beautifully. Strange Kind of Woman maintains the energy, with three melodically blistering solos from Blackmore, before settling things down for the opening verses of Child in Time. Into the Fire is pure heavy blues, which Ian Gillan introduces as “Rock ‘n’ roll with its trousers down…” Precisely.

Mandrake Root, as usual, showcases the instrumental prowess of Lord, Blackmore, and Paice while also injecting an occasional sense of humor along with the musical anarchy. The tune never ceases to amaze me and is, to me, what Purple is (was) all about.

Not only is this a great document of the band, but a great show as well from a period of the band where not much of good sound quality survives.

White Nights
Tracks: Burn, Might Just Take Your Life, Lay Down, Stay Down, Mistreated, Smoke on the Water, You Fool No One, Space Truckin’, What’s Gong On Here
Venue: Gothenburg, Sweden 12/11/73
Sound: Not a bad audience tape, taken from a vinyl boot release, Truckin’

This is a fun one. It showcases the newly revamped Mk. III version of the band as they were breaking in two new guys - Glenn Hughes from Trapeze, and a nervous nobody, David Coverdale, on vocals.

DP did a few warm-up dates in Scandanavia, and this performance is perhaps the second or third time that the new band had played together. What the band loses in the way of tight performance is more than made up for by the sheer terror the guys must have felt to “make good,” the adrenaline is almost palpable and makes for an interesting show.

Another bonus is the inclusion of What’s Going On Here from the Burn album (which was release the following month). It didn’t really work too well as a live number and was soon replaced by the old rock standard, Going Down.

More Tastes
Tracks: Burn, Getting Tighter, Smoke on the Water, Wild Dogs, I Need Love (Soldier of Fortune), Owed to G, Drifter, Keep On Moving, Stormbringer, Highway Star
Venue: Tokyo, Japan 12/15/75
Bonus tracks: Fireball (Sheffield ‘71), You Fool No One (Spring 1975, probably Paris), Hush (Playboy After Dark TV show)
Sound: varies, generally good audience tape

Here is an important document that is probably only of interest to Tommy Bolin or Deep Purple fanatics, as it shows just how far the band had fallen. Deep Purple was not operating on all cylinders here with Bolin’s drug habit increasingly getting in the way of his brilliance. This is one of the four Japanese shows the band performed.

Locked In a Paper Cage
Tracks: Highway Star, Strange Kind of Woman, Unwritten Law, Dead or Alive, Perfect Strangers, Hard Loving Woman, Bad Attitude, Child In Time, Difficult To Cure, Knocking at Your Back Door, Space Truckin’, Black Night, Folk Songs, Smoke on the Water
Venue: Irvine, CA 5/23/87
Sound: soundboard

Not much on CD has been released from this era of the band. This is the whole show and of generally good soundboard quality. In fact, it’s probably a better overall performance than their official live release of this tour called Nobody’s Perfect. It’s certainly more honest!

Live in Tel Aviv 1991
Tracks: Black Night, Truth Hurts, Cut Runs Deep, Perfect Strangers, Fire In the Basement, Hey Joe, Love Conquers All, Ritchie’s Blues, Knocking at Your Back Door, Lazy, Space Truckin’, Highway Star, Smoke on the Water
Venue: Tel Aviv, Israel 9/28/91
Sound: excellent, from radio broadcast. DJ introduces and talks over each song

This is the “alternative” version of DP (with ex-Rainbow vocalist, Joe Lynn Turner, usurping Ian Gillan’s role) doing an “alternative” world tour. The band performed in countries that they had never been to before (Israel, Greece, South America, Eastern Europe) to make up for the relative lack of interest in America and Europe!

This is one of two dates they played in Israel that were set up on relatively short notice. The band was playing very well, though Turner’s vocals and between-song schlepping borders on cabaret. Recommended for those into the more commercial sounding era of the band. Blackmore does deliver the stuff, however, especially during Ritchie’s Blues. It’s five minutes of pure magic as he jams doing his middle eastern scales and tones.

Ritchie Last Gig
Tracks: Highway Star, Black Night, Talk About Love, A Twist In The Tale, Perfect Strangers, Difficult To Cure, Knocking at Your Back Door, Anyone’s Daughter, Child In Time, Anya, The Battle Rages On, Lazy, Space Truckin’ (w/Woman From Tokyo and Paint It Black), Hush, Speed King, Smoke on the Water
Bonus tracks (Helsinki 11/17/93): Anya, Hush, Speed King, Smoke on the Water
Vene: Oslo 11/15/93
Sound: good sounding audience tape, bonus tracks not so good

This comes from the second to last performance that Blackmore (to date) performed with the band. The four bonus tracks are, in fact, from Ritchie’s last gig, in Helsinki two days later.

It’s a great show and the band really takes off during Child in Time, with Gillan’s voice in fine form. Ritchie then gets even more inspired as they charge into Anya and treats us to a long, beautiful guitar passage. Another long, quiet solo starts “Smoke.” In fact, he can’t stop soloing throughout and after the song. Ritch knows the end is near and chooses to go out in style.

Blackmore and the band were playing at a higher level here than during any of the previous reunion tours, a bitter sweet end to a band at the height of its powers.

Fireball Over Madrid
Tracks: Highway Star, Ramshackle Man (listed as “Real Gentlemen”), Maybe I’m a Leo, Fireball, Perfect Strangers, Pictures of Home, Knocking on Your Back Door, Anyone’s Daughter, Anya (listed as “Gipsy Heart”), The Battle Rages On, When A Blind Man Cries, Lazy, Space Truckin’, Speed King, Smoke on the Water
Bonus tracks (BBC sessions): Speed King, Bird Has Flown
Venue: Madrid, Spain 6/30/94

The band gets a good reception partly because of Joe Satriani being such a star in Spain. However, the overall performance is flat. Gillan sings well but there weren’t many sparks flying from Satriani’s guitar.

Part of the problem Satriani had in DP is that he never quite got the hang of playing with them and did quite a bit of over-the-top soloing. Satch jams in the notes with very fast licks and tries to say something that it would only take Blackmore three or four notes to do.

On the other hand, no one can be expected to have instant rapport on stage with guys who’ve been playing together for 25 years or more.

To their credit, they do perform some never-played-before classics but Satriani still can’t muster up enough emotion to make me care very much. The battle had more or less stopped raging with Deep Purple.

Currently, however, all is not lost. Purple have a new album and guitarist, Steve Morse, who seems to be a much better fit with the band. [Editor’s note: Steve Morse did, indeed, prove to be a better fit and is the guitarist in DP 13 years after this review was originally published.]

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