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NEC 1993

Deep Purple


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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Turning the screw

This is the live set which was released by Sony BMG in 2007, then subsequently withdrawn at the request of Ian Gillan. The story behind this can be found in various places on the internet, including here: . Gillan reportedly feels that the gig was "sub-standard" but popular opinion is that his dislike of the album comes more from the circumstances surrounding it and in particular the relationship between Ritchie Blackmore and the rest of the band.

Deep Purple, especially the classic line up, are such consummate professionals that no matter what internal issues were around at the time, and there were of course always many of them, the live performance would remain of the highest calibre. Indeed, the tensions within the band often led to them playing even better! This album may not capture them at their absolute pinnacle, but do not be misled by the album's short official life-span. For Deep Purple fans, this is still an excellent live album.

The set is essentially that which appeared on the "Come hell or high water" DVD and album, with an encore of "Hush" added. The balance of the tracks leans heavily towards later albums such as "The battle rages on" but there are still plenty of the old classics. The version of "Child in time" here is particularly energetic, Blackmore dispelling any suggestions of disinterest with a fine lead guitar run. The two favourites from "Perfect strangers", "Knocking at your back door" and the title track, sound refreshingly vibrant too.

There are thousands of myths and legends surrounding this period in the band's life, and indeed this particular gig. Blackmore's famous water throwing incident, which was aimed at an over intrusive cameraman, has developed into him throwing it at just about anyone on or off stage depending who tells the tale. All this though simply serves to turn the screw another notch, and drive the band on to deliver another fine live album.

At time of writing, copes of this album seem to be reappearing in the bargain bins. I got mine in Fopp Record Store for Ł3. Deep Purple fans would be well advised to grab a copy while they can.

Report this review (#165105)
Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars The cashing machine is on its way...But this time it is more the record company than the band who is to be criticized for this. Ian Gillan even told the fans NOT to buy this work. He declared in 2006: it is an unfortunate reminder of one of their worst ever concerts, himself and Ritchie were barely on speaking terms at the time of the concert, and admitted: It was one of the lowest points of my life - all of our lives, actually.

Gillan continued: In fact, it lasted five or six shows after that Birmingham show. Then Ritchie left the band. And we've had 13 years of stability ever since then.

This double CD set is actually the first leg of four CD set called "Live In Europe" which was the recording of two concerts (one in Birmingham recorded on November 9th, 1993) while the second one was recorded in Stuttgart (October 16th, 1993) It was during the supporting tour for the album The Battle Rages On. In 1994, the Purple released already Come Hell or High Water Live which was comprising tracks from both concerts.

Globally, these two shows were very similar. In terms of track list: only a few ones vary (three additional songs are available from the Stuttgart concert: a short version of The Mule (just over two minutes) !, a cover for the ELO track In The Hall Of The Mountain King (under two minutes) ! and Speed King. All the other numbers are similar (the running order as well). The main difference resides in the length of the songs (longer in Stuttgart for almost all of them). In all, I would say that it would have been more interesting to release the Stuttgart one instead.

Anyway, there are a lot of classic included here and a few rare moments. Highway Star intro has a pretty bad sound (for about two minutes, but then is fixed) and it is almost the last occasion (but not the last one) to listen to the great "Child In Time", which is heavily rendered here.

What else do you need to know?

Oh yes. A miracle happened during this tour: Space Truckin' tune is cut down to less than three minutes: at last a normal (even shorter than the studio version !) rendition for this song. Purple used to extend it to anything between fifteen to thirty-five minutes!

IMO, the most interesting song, is their cover for Paint It, Black. While in the beginning of their Mark II era this song was played as a pure instrumental featuring a long drum solo (you can hear this on Live In Aachen and on Scandinavian Nights), the band is playing it more in accordance with the original here (leaving their hard rock blue print of course).

It seems though that the cutting affair was a habit during this tour: Woman From Tokyo is shortened down to just over two minutes, which is a pain.

The version for Hush is quite good (as always under the Mark II) but I would not say so about Smoke: we get a loooong karaoke session which is quite dispensable.

In all, this live recording only slightly differs from "Come Hell or High Water" and should therefore only be of interest to die-hard fans. Two stars.

Report this review (#182106)
Posted Tuesday, September 9, 2008 | Review Permalink

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