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Deep Purple - This Time Around: Live in Tokyo '75 CD (album) cover

THIS TIME AROUND: LIVE IN TOKYO '75

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

2.31 | 16 ratings

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tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Ok, now this is just waaaaaaay too Spinal Tap-ish for comfort. If you're not familiar with the circumstances that led to the release of this particular album, allow me to fill you in. After Bolin died in 1976, effectively forcing the breakup of Deep Purple (they'd broken up well beforehand, but his death made them changing their mind pretty unlikely), somebody decided that a good posthumous cash-in would be a live album featuring this particular lineup. Since Made in Japan had been such a huge critical and commercial smash just a few years earlier, it was also decided that the title of such an album should include the word "Japan" in it. Thus Last Concert in Japan came into existence, and it would have been a reasonable inclusion into the Purple discography were it not for a few factors that have caused many hardcore Purple fans to consider it the band's all-time low point. As legend has it, Tommy Bolin took a fairly bad hit of heroin a little while before this concert, and as a result temporarily lost all feeling in his left (fretting) arm. He had regained some feeling by the time the concert began, but not all feeling. Needless to say, this had a bit of a negative effect on his guitar playing, and in turn brought down the quality of the whole band's performance. Add in the fact that the sound quality on the final release was regarded as absolutely terrible, and that those portions of the performance that made the final release were edited and arranged in a way that allowed for almost no decent flow, and you can see why this was (and is) considered a total disaster.

So naturally somebody decided that what the world needed was for one of the most poorly regarded live albums ever to be remastered and expanded. This Time Around is that 2-CD expansion, and while the sound quality is decent enough, it also shows quite clearly that the main problems weren't cosmetic, but rather the fact that the gig was mediocre at best. There are actually a few relatively high points, but there are so many embarrassing moments that I can't listen to most of this without fidgeting. In terms of Spinal Tap-level absurdity, I would be hardpressed to think of anything more absurd than the band's segue out of the funky "I Need Love" (from CTTB) into "Soldier of Fortune," which makes the latter just seem even more ridiculous than before. That said, a very close second would be the band following its (absolutely wretched) rendition of "Smoke on the Water" with Glenn singing "Georgia on my Mind."

And sheesh, if you thought there was a lot of wanking on Japan (where it was awesome), you'll be amazed at the amount here. Lessee, we have a 9:43 John Lord solo (in which he includes an instrumental version of "Woman from Tokyo," which is actually kinda cool). We have "Lazy" culminating in ANOTHER seven minute drum solo. We have seven minutes of a Tommy Bolin guitar solo, and given that he couldn't really feel his fretting hand, I'm sure you can imagine just how tedious that is.

And then there's David. Lessee, he tries to get the crowd going in the beginning with screams that show him trying to do an imitation of Gillan - a noble effort, and the crowd buys it, but I sure don't. He repeatedly says "Domo Arigato" to the crowd, which I know is probably some sort of Japanese greeting, but you'd better believe that my brain instantly thinks, "Mr. Roboto." He doesn't bother to sing the third verse of "Smoke." In "Highway Star," instead of, "She's got a moving mouth, body control and everything," he sings, "She's got big fat knockers, big fat knockers and everything." And, of course, there's the aforementioned "I Need Love"/"Soldier of Fortune" segue.

Still, for all of that, there are some positives to be found. "Burn" is a great opener as usual, despite Lord's organ being the loudest instrument when playing the glorious riff. "Stormbringer" also kicks as much ass as ever (just like on Made in Europe, it's helped by the keyboard tones not sucking like on the original), even though ten minutes is a bit excessive. Also, a lot of the "CTTB" band material is extremely likable here - "Love Child"'s opening phased riff is much more impressive here than before, and this 16:52 version of "Gettin' Tighter" is massively entertaining for at least 10 or so minutes of its running time. And hey, there's a Bolin solo composition, a guitar- heavy ballad called "Wild Dogs," with Bolin's vocals showing more real passion than Glenn or Dave ever showed in their time in Purple.

Overall, though, this is hardly an essential pickup for a Purple fan. I've seen more used copies of this than any other Purple album, and it's not hard for me to tell why. If you find it reeeeeeally cheap, get it for some of the highlights, but be prepared for some massive lows as well. Especially when David and Tommy end up butchering "Highway Star" at the end, arrgh.

tarkus1980 | 2/5 |

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