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Deep Purple In The Absence Of Pink: Knebworth 85 album cover
3.40 | 33 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc One:
1. Highway Star (6:57)
2. Nobody's Home (4:08)
3. Strange Kind Of Woman (8:47)
4. Gypsy's Kiss (6:20)
5. Perfect Strangers (6:54)
6. Lazy (7:03)
7. Knocking At Your Back Door (9:10)

Disc Two:
1. Difficult To Cure (9:23)
2. Space Truckin' (14:49)
3. Speed King (10:12)
4. Black Night (6:43)
5. Smoke On The Water (10:24)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ritchie Blackmore / Guitars
- Ian Gillan / Vocals
- Roger Glover / Bass
- Jon Lord / Keyboards
- Ian Paice / Drums

Releases information

Double Disc release. Recorded during the Knewborth music festival in 1985.
'Difficult to Cure' is an adaptation of Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' from the 9th Symphony and was recorded by Blackmore's Rainbow some years earlier.
The title is taken from the words of Ian Gillan introducing a song. Referring to the rain and the technical problems that delayed the start of the set, he states "What we all need now is a tremendous amount of pink. But, in the absence of pink, here's some blues".

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DEEP PURPLE In The Absence Of Pink: Knebworth 85 ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DEEP PURPLE In The Absence Of Pink: Knebworth 85 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars For obvious reasons, Purple was one of the first bands I reviewed on PA together with Genesis and Yes (Led Zep was not yet available.).

To experience a live set of the band is always quite an experience (and I have seen them quite a few times in the last thirty-five years). As Ian will say after a couple of songs: It has been quite a long time. Indeed. Some twelve years between the end of Mark II and this Knebworth concert.

The band is in excellent shape: Gillan sounds very enthusiastic, Paice is as great as always, Blackmore is inspired, Glover is sustaining as much as he can and Lord is pumping these great sounds out of his organ as he has always done in the past. A keyboards machine, really.

This was the supporting tour of their very good reunion album Perfect Strangers released in 1984. But of course, the core of this live release is made of old songs as Gillan said.

This double CD set is clearly identifiable: the first one holds four new songs (out of seven) while the second one is made up of good old tunes. You might be surprised though about my feeling about the whole set.

Things start awesomely of course with Highway Star (one of my top three fave from Purple as you might know). Most of the new songs played are an excellent choice to keep the audience hot for older things to come.

Still, Gypsy's Kiss and Perfect Strangers belong to the best of this live album. There are of course two giant tracks from earlier times as well: Lazy with no Lord's fantasy to start with. It is more in the vein of the studio track in comparison with most live Purple performances.

The second old song has been made famous with Made In Japan. From a very good hard-rock single, Purple made a live anthem out of it. Strange Kind Of Woman is one of the best live call and response I have ever seen between guitar and vocals. The other one is of course the mighty Led Zep in several exercises of the same type. IMHHO, none have been equalled.

Even if a good chunk of this special passage is dedicated to Jesus-Christ Superstar and some sort of karaoke (at this time of their career, this call & response was better known in the UK than in 1972 by the Japanese audience who discovered the band for what became one of the major live album of the rock history). This is always a great live moment.

Now, when you look at the track list of the second CD, you might think: let's skip the first CD and get concentrated on the second one. Well, I would say that it is the wrong feeling after you have effectively listened to it.

This part of the set is the most self-indulgent one. Over-extended solo (like they used to play in the early seventies) and a very shouting Gillan (too much actually).

Since MIJ, we were used to a long Space Truckin which was not really my cup of tea. This version is only fourteen minutes long, but the jam which takes place after the official part is just noisy IMO. And the same applies to half of the great Speed King from In Rock. There is a rare wink to a non- Gillan song in here: a short riff from Burn which Gillan always refused to sing (unfortunately).

Half of this Black Night could have been skipped and the closing Smoke. is an example of what it is going to be for the next twenty years: a long Karaoke exercise which has never been of my liking. I usually just shut up while attending.

In all, it is pleasant to hear that the band is happy again to be on stage together but I can't be laudatory about it. It remains a good live album, but there are many better Purple ones.

Three stars.

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars A much better live album than surrounding circumstances would have suggested this should have been. There are four tracks from PS, but at least two of them are "Knocking at Your Back Door" and the title track (here called "Perfect Street Rangers"), which are done extremely well (the other two are "Nobody's Home" and "Gypsy's Kiss," neither of which are done extremely well, though at least the latter has a bluesy intro). As for the older stuff, there are some of the expected problems, but they're much less prominent than you'd think (in other words, Nobody's Perfect this is not). Gillan, for instance, sounds surprisingly decent; he sounds a bit like a yelping dog in "Strange Kind of Woman," but he manages the high notes in "Highway Star" alright, and his vocals overall manage to sound way, way less creaky than they did on PS.

It's not just a competent Gillan that makes me give this a very good grade. The band is extremely tight, and furthermore shows that it hadn't lost the spirit of its peak 70's performances. In other words, whereas in a few years, "Space Truckin'" would be reduced to a five-minute "greatest hits" runthrough, here it's a good fifteen minutes, with a snippet of Ravel's "Bolero" thrown into the extended coda for good measure. "Speed King" also gets a surprising extension, with Ritchie pulling out the riffs to "Burn" and "Land of a Thousand Dances" (!) while Ian sings "Not Fade Away." Heck, they even do an instrumental version of an old Rainbow number ("Difficult to Cure"), and while I'm largely unfamiliar with Rainbow and thus am not completely sure which parts are faithful to the number and which parts are the band goofing around, I'm moderately amused at the way it's based around "Ode to Joy."

Sheesh, and did I mention yet that Ritchie is on fire in this concert? I don't mean it in the technically great but sterile way of Nobody's Perfect either, I mean on a level that's at least, I dunno, 80% of the intensity level found on Japan, which is sufficient to make this one hell of a Ritchie performance. And heck, this is the second best "Lazy" I've ever heard (first is from the In Concert double CD), not in the least because of Ritchie (it also helps that the obligatory Paice solo is short, heh).

Basically, this is just a fun, spirited performance. Ian can't keep a straight face, for instance, when he tries to introduce "Speed King" as a ballad and as the slowest, most agonizingly depressing song they'd ever done; that feeling of goofy levity, staring in the face of non-stop rain and gloomy weather, is something I can feel throughout the concert, and that's a positive. What it kinda reminds me of, actually, is a bootleg I have of the first Yes concert of the Rabin era; the band is mildly uncertain and on edge, but this translates into the band working its collective tail off, and that ever-present sense of effort makes the album a very fun listen. Undoubtedly, this is my favorite post-70's release of the Mk 2.x lineup, and I happily recommend it.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It has always been my habit whenever I had so many things to listen with prog music, I sometimes swithced to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath for a change. This time I pick this live album by Deep Purple for one simple reason: I want to experience what it's like to have Difficult to Cure being played here with Made In Japan line-up - for most people this line-up is the best for the band. As usual, whenever I listen to the vintage rock music my mind always return back to the glory days of rock music in the seventies especially when I spin the first three tracks of Disc 1. The first track is quite different with any live setup the band made i.e the inclusion of Beethoven's The Fifth at the opening of Highway Star. Well, it sounds funny but it gives new experience to me, it's like listening to Deep Purple with Yes nuance because it connects me to having an experience listening to Yessongs where it has Firebird Suite at the opening of the show.

At the third track Strange Kind of Woman I find something really similar with the one the band performed in Made In Japan on the beginning part of the song. But when the music flows, it has portion of Jesus Christ Superstar with Gillan singing on it combined with legendary solo guitar by Ritchie and Paice drumming. Then it came the duo of vocal and guitar with Gillan's scream and Ritchie's guitar work. It creates great listening experience as the live vibes sound like around us while listening to this record.

'Difficult to Cure' is an adaptation of Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' from the 9th Symphony and was recorded by Blackmore's Rainbow some years earlier. It makes this record special as it was more on Rainbow stuff than Deep Purple. But I am not surprised as Ritchie also brought together with him the blues rock guitar solo he performed in Rainbow On Stage record here under Gypsy's Kiss on Disc One as well.

Well, it's a very good live record and it reminds me back to the glory days of rock in the seventies even though the audio quality is not that good It's OK as I only need the live vibes and excellent performance by the band. There are many improvisations demonstrated by the band members especially Ritchie, Jon and Ian. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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