While it’s not out of print, Amazon has it priced new at the bargain price of $25.98 (it’s mercifully out of stock, but hey — they start at $21.63 used). FUCK THAT.
It is with a modicum of shame that I admit to being a late bloomer in the realm of classic ‘70’s rock. Whether I was merely a victim of hessian circumstance, opting to spin Blessed are the Sick for the 1,348th time rather than explore new/old ground, or “born too late” as the mighty Saint Vitus would say, the fact remains that it took me entirely too fucking long to prostrate myself before the mystical altars of Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore and Michael Schenker. Hell, my Priest repertoire didn’t even extend beyond British Steel.
So it may be with some sense of overcompensation that I have been making up for all this lost time (see Nightbitch). Hardly time misspent, as all those hours of Azagthoth worship have come to pay dividends, but I’m now finding myself on the losing end of the underground obscurity-pissing-contest that I once dominated. Rather than combing the blogspots for a superior rip of the second Master’s Hammer demo or some filthy Ukranian NSBM nugget limited to 14, I’ve been devouring discographies whole (preferably, audiophile vinyl rips) and salivating over era-specific live soundboard recordings.
One of my most cherished discoveries is Deep Purple’s Live in Paris 1975. Recorded April 7th, 1975, it remained unreleased for nearly 26 years before being issued by Purple Records as a double compact disc in April of 2001. Remixed from the master tapes and boasting righteously resplendent sound, this recording bears the distinction of documenting Ritchie Blackmore’s final performance as a member of Deep Purple (at least until the 1984 reunion of the band’s Mark II lineup) and thus the demise of the Mk III lineup.
It is particularly interesting to note that Ritchie had the first Rainbow album in the can for nearly a month by the time of this show, his decision to leave Purple having been made for some time and kept from his bandmates. Whether the guitar pyrotechnics on display here are those of a man who just does not give a fuck or a deliberately-calculated swan song is up for debate. Motherfucker spits hot fire for an hour and forty seven minutes here and his solos frequently deviate from their studio counterparts.
The Mk II lineup featuring vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover may have cemented the band’s status in the pantheon of rock, but I’ve come to develop an unhealthy obsession with the Mk III lineup featuring David Coverdale on vocals and open-nose Glenn Hughes on bass and arrogance. Perhaps this can be traced back to my childhood love of Whitesnake and cocaine.
After a soundcheck that primes us for the white powder ululations of an especially frisky Glenn Hughes, the band launches into a balls-out rendition of “Burn” and the battle of the microphone between Hughes and Coverdale commences. With less capable contenders and subpar blow, such one-upmanship could prove disastrous; here, it yields brilliance. When Hughes’ manic highs and Coverdale’s sultry moan coalesce in harmony… fasten the chastity belt.
The first half of the set relies exclusively on Mk III material, albeit in glorious, extended versions which will render their studio counterparts obsolete and unnecessary once you’ve beheld this motherfucking gem. The band goes on to rip through “Stormbringer,” “Gypsy” and “Lady Double Dealer” before the apex of the set — a nearly thirteen minute “Mistreated” where Coverdale sounds like he’s on the receiving end of a blowjob while smoking opium in a hot tub. Hughes’ between-song banter must be heard to be believed. Made in Japan, this is NOT!
The only non-Mark III material to be found here is gleaned from the blockbuster Machine Head. We get the obligatory “Smoke on the Water” and “Space Truckin” (with a godly intro, courtesy of Jon Lord) in characteristic extended form, where the band taunts the crowd with snatches of “The Mule,” “Lazy” and “Child in Time.” After an especially soulful cover of the blues standard “Going Down,” the set culminates in an eleven-and-a-half minute “Highway Star” where Ritchie just goes apeshit and the lyrics playfully deviate to pay tribute to some lovely lady who “got big fat tits… and everythang.”
Going out with a bang? Fuckin’ A.
If you don’t positively worship this album, you’re an asshole who hates riffs, organs, drugs and titties.
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