It seems a bit odd to review a recording that was made when I was three years old. Where's the news value one wonders. For hardcore fans of Deep Purple, this isn't really news, since the recording was released ages ago on Purple Records. The recording's been given an overhaul, though, and it comes as the first sequence in 'The Official Deep Purple (Overseas) Live Series', a ten-live-album series which will emerge over the next months.
Thinking back, Deep Purple came into my life at an early age. Sometime during the late 70s, my uncle had moved from his flat and gone through his stuff. He wanted to get rid of some of his
vinyl's, but my mom and dad took them in with open arms. Among these vinyl's were two rock albums that'd draw my attention in particular: 'Master of Reality' by Black Sabbath (the original, embossed sleeve!) and 'Machine Head' by Deep Purple. Needless to say, I grew very fond of these two albums - especially when I reached my teens and drew nearer to becoming a
full-blown metalhead. Admittedly, Sabbath earned the biggest place in my heart and I put my hands on anything by Black Sabbath I could get hold of, whereas only selected pieces by Purple had the same impact and found their way into my collection. Even today when I look at the DP discography on their website, there are still titles I had no idea existed.
Anyway, I always considered 'Machine Head' an enormous contribution to the history of rock music, and the qualities of Deep Purple - no matter which incarnation you pull out of the hat - are amazing. In this particular case, the incarnation that was going to bat was the incarnation where Gillan had been replaced by David Coverdale (who weren't as strong a singer, but certainly didn't lack presence), Glover was replaced by the self-confident Glenn Hughes and Ritchie Blackmore was on the verge of leaving Purple for the first time (this was indeed the last gig of the tour and thus his last evening before bailing out and forming Rainbow). And what a spectacle it must've been for the lucky Frenchies present that evening!
Coverdale is not lip syncing a single note here, that's for sure! He delivers from beginning to end along with Hughes who chips in with vocals whenever he has the opportunity. Paice is a whirlwind behind the drumkit and Blackmore does wonders as if to show the world that this version of Purple will go out with a bang.
Despite the fact that this is a soon-to-be-dead version of Deep Purple, you get the sense that this has been and still is on this evening in Paris a melting pot of rock'n'roll creativity. This is real rock'n'roll music played by real people (some of them with an ego the size of the Eiffel Tower, of course). It has the seventies jam feeling as well: Jon Lord (may the great man rest in peace) launches the 2001 theme in Space Trucking, Child In Time all of a sudden pops up in the middle of another song and Smoke on the Water, that immortal rock anthem, is over ten minutes long here - without getting boring at any point!
As a bonus, a 1975 interview with Coverdale, Huges and Paice has been included on disc 2 of the release - which is good fun to listen to. Coverdale tells us how he came to be part of the band, and Hughes does the same. Also, we're treated with the three band members sharing insider takes on how the songs of 'Burn' and 'Stormbringer' came into being.
Perhaps 'Live in Paris 1975' isn't 'Made in Japan', but it still works as a damned fine piece of documentation of a band who made a difference and wrote a part of the history of rock music. If nothing else, it has made me feel like going out and get hold of those Deep Purple albums I haven't got in my collection, and also, I'm now officially looking a bit more forward to this year's Wacken Festival where Purple will be playing in the umpteenth incarnation. Wonder if they'll play Smoke on the Water?