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DEEP PURPLE Live In London2-CD, EMI (2007)

Deep Purple

Recorded in 1974 on Deep Purple’s only Mk III UK tour, at the enormous Gaumont State, Kilburn (they also played the Hammersmith Odeon and the Lewisham Odeon), the band were capitalising on American and European success of the new album and new line up. In fact the transition so far had gone well, the changes seamless. It was only later that things went down hill, the band doing their best to destroy all their good work and Blackmore forming Rainbow. The guitarist may have been pissed off then (so what’s new, I hear you say) but he was on fire here.

This is the first time the album has been released on CD, and it is also the full show; the original LP omitted 'Space Truckin’ and many of the other tracks were edited.

Fresh back from California, reports of pyrotechnics and large crowds may have heightened expectations, but the crowd were simply blown away here.

With Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale in the fold, the Burn LP on the racks, the band’s emphasis shifted to new material, the set opening with a lengthy and very solid 'Burn’ (a track both Coverdale and Hughes have opened with on recent tours). Jon Lord’s organ grinding is superb, as essential to the Purple sound as Blackmore’s guitar, which is also electric.

'Might Just Take Your Life’ and 'Lay Down’ follow, before we get the 15 minute rendition of the classic 'Mistreated’. Great though it is, showing the band at their best, it is a little overblown. Like 'Burn’ it too would become an anthem and played on even more, not just by Coverdale but even more so by Blackmore, who would have Dio singing equally drawn out versions only 2 years later.

Disc 1 closes with 'Smoke On The Water’, probably the least successful arrangement of a Mk II song by Mk III, but it’s a classic all the same. The song opens with a few bars of 'Lazy’; the medley effect something the band would often do, with a few bars of 'Child In Time’ and I think 'When A Blind Man Cries’ also cropping up elsewhere in the set.

Disc 2 opens with a Jon Lord solo led 'You Fool No One’. The band in full Jam mode, it explores many angles, with an Ian Paice solo that leads on to 'The Mule’. At only 20 minutes it seems short compared to the revamped 'Space Truckin’, which runs at over 30.

This has always been a favourite, and such arrangements are something I really wish the current band would do. David Coverdale’s strong vocals are strong, solid and punchy, basically he’s at his best here, the guitar riffs working well, both he and Blackmore firing off each other. This is in contrast to Hughes soulful whines of 'Space Rider’ in true Stevie Wonder fashion later in the song.

When the band start jamming, you’ll recognise some of the Made In Japan era arrangements, Lord organ grinding as if his life depended on it, Hughes’ bass playing a funk edged hard rock line. Elsewhere there is a little meandering (at one point I think Blackmore meandered off to the bar), while Paice keeps the pace going well.

For those of you familiar with Nice/Rondo era Keith Emerson, you’ll appreciate that kind of organ work goes down well, it’s what Lord does best. But when he veers off into ELP era squeaky sonic experimentation, it doesn’t fit the sound. Now I’m a huge Keith Emerson fan, but there’s a time and a place.

Overall infinitely more good points than bad, making the complete show unedited well worth it. Performance spot on, arrangements running at 90 percent plus.

For Deep Purple fans and a whole lot more.


Review by Joe Geesin

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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