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Deep Purple

In Concert 1970 – 1972

Review by Larry Toering

One of several live and studio re-issues to come from Eagle this summer, is this two-disc set that was originally released in 1980, and a couple of times since. After all these years it still sounds as good as the day these shows were played, a decade or so before that year. If you have it on LP, or your CD is worn out, this is a great opportunity to replace that old copy. A better listening experience is hard to find. Whether you're familiar with Deep Purple or not, these historic recordings are simply some of the best hard rock performances ever witnessed by an audience, and they should go down in history as such.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Speed King

Opening with the grand salvo, the mighty Purps blaze into a rollicking version of the first tune this line-up wrote together. It isn't long before Blackmore lets it rip with some just mind blowing guitar work. The chemistry displayed here is second to none in the history of hard rock and heavy metal, the latter of which they never considered themselves to be, but holds the opinion of many who can't tell the difference. Everyone is completely on fire here, as this is a defining moment for their recently unleashed fury.

Child In Time

This is a unique version, although it’s not one of their better performances of the epic track. Gillan has a little trouble, but it had to be included on the release because it wouldn't be a Purple show in those days without it. All in all, back then, any shot they took was worth its weight in gold.

Wring That Neck

This is more like it, and a fantastic version it is, too. With the organ and guitar duels that made this band famous, this has everything an instrumental of the time should have. This is a blue print number for picking up all there is to know musically for a hard rock approach to music.

Mandrake Root

If “Wring That Neck” had lyrics, this is kind of what it would be like. This is a killer version of one of their best mkI numbers, and Gillan makes it all worth while, as he proceeds to scream his proverbial lights out, changing to vocals beyond recognition in terms of style. Also featured are some of the finest moments laid down in concert by Blackmore and Lord, while Paice provides what seems to be one long drum solo throughout, once the instrumental portion starts flying and doesn't let up for quite a while. This really is quite a historic recording, as many believe that Deep Purple would never match this energy again, even on Made In Japan.

Disc 2
Highway Star
Enter 1972, and enter one of the greatest of all Purple tracks to open the show. This version isn't bad at all, and always nice to turn to after so many other versions go through the ears. I like every second of this, and often reach for it when I want to hear this track. There is a certain bite to it, mostly coming from Lord on this version that makes it a favorite. The excitement alone is so intense it often leaves one forgetting what a good version it really is.
Strange Kind of Woman

By now this track was already a huge crowd favorite, as it got played on the Fireball tour, so it had been heard quite a lot on the road the previous tour, and was a single to support that album. This was a highlight in the show and then some, with Gillan matching notes with Blackmore's guitar for a mid-section showcase that blew the doors off the venue by the time the last note was over. There are better live versions of this, of course, but this is at least on par with the Copenhagan '72 DVD version. A particularly favorite moment is when Gillan lets out a mind melting scream at the end, sending the crowd into a frenzy. It’s a top moment in the history of rock for Gillan fans.

Maybe I'm A Leo

Before this was originally released in 1980, this and the following tracks were previously unreleased live, but for bootleg collectors these recordings had been heard. The difference is always in the quality, same show or not, same source tape or not. It was given the proper treatment and rightfully so, and it makes this and the following track all they can be. That difference is certainly like night and day, and even better as an upgrade all these years later. As long as good sound is important to the consumer, it's not a bad thing to upgrade an old item such as this. This was never a favorite of mine in particular, but they pulled it off in style.

Never Before

A much better track than the previous one, in my opinion, this sounds fresh live to this day.

Lazy

This is one of my favorite versions of this track, and once again it's shrouded by other versions, such as the aforementioned Made In Japan. I like it for all of its differences to other versions, which was something Purple were always famous for pulling off. In fact, night after night they seemed to take the same songs and play them so differently.

Space Truckin'

Now, this is actually my very favorite live version of this number. On the organ, Lord burns to the max on his rave up style intro, just magical! This features my favorite live Blackmore guitar solo of all time. He simply displays one of the finest controlled feedback and sustained solos I've ever heard anyone attempt. This is absolutely cosmic!

Smoke On The Water

This didn't make it onto the 1980 release, but was released as a single that year. I think it really belongs here, so it's nice to see it included this re-issue of a re-issue. A decent version it is too, in fact it passes well as an alternate version to the most well known live version. Gillan rubs a little luck Frank Zappa's way.

Lucille

For an encore in those days, this always did the business. It features a very playful Blackmore, doing some fine chugging in the build up, before they blast into it and proceed to tear it up, Purple style.

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