CD Review: Deep Purple – Live in Paris 1975

CD Review: Deep Purple – Live in Paris 1975
earMusic/Eagle Rock Entertainment
All Access Review: A-

Deep Purple - Live in Paris 1975 2013
The balance of power had already shifted within Deep Purple, and Ritchie Blackmore could read the writing on the wall. With the arrival of singer David Coverdale and bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, Deep Purple was entering a new phase, one that would see the band incorporating more of the northern English soul and R&B sensibilities of its newest members, while veering away from the cyclonic mix of nitro-burning hard rock and swirling classical music that Blackmore and others within Purple favored.

He didn't want to stick around to watch the transformation take hold. On April 17, 1975, the guitar icon, and one of the true architects of Deep Purple’s progressive sound, would play his last note for Deep Purple – that is until the Mark II lineup reunited for 1984’s Perfect Strangers album. He went out in a blaze of glory, as Blackmore’s high-voltage fretwork sends electricity shooting through the digitally remixed – and re-mastered from the original multi-track recordings – two-disc Live in Paris 1975, which documents that final Blackmore performance, prior to forming Rainbow, with amazing clarity and expansive volume. Recorded for optimum impact, Live in Paris 1975 actually benefits from the tension between Deep Purple’s warring camps, as that artistic push and pull fuels what is a dynamic, thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime performance from a band on the verge of big, sweeping changes. 

Sparks fly from the start as Deep Purple, absolutely on fire this particular night at the Palais des Sports in Paris, launches into hot-wired, frenzied versions of “Burn” and “Lady Double Dealer” that leave their witnesses gasping for air – the vigorous riffing and scorching, yet tricky, leads of Blackmore’s playing off Jon Lord’s dizzying organ maneuvers and the precision of Ian Paice’s stampeding drums. Just as feverish, “Stormbringer” is a power surge of insistent, hammering riffs and wailing vocals, loaded with Coverdale’s hairy-chested machismo and illuminated by Hughes’s starry croon. Blending so perfectly, the two give a smoldering, smoky rendering of “The Gypsy” here that offers a vision of what Deep Purple, Mark IV, had in store melodically for the world.

Having dispensed with some of their tighter, more compact material early on, Deep Purple embarked on long, extended jams the rest of the way, including the 20:09 “You Fool No One,” with its Cream-like, bluesy combustibility, a spellbinding organ intro from Lord and stunning drum and guitar soloing from Paice and Blackmore, respectively. Even longer and more abstract, with a playful nod to the theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the classic “Space Truckin’” clocks in at 22:12, and after going into overdrive around the four-minute mark and flying around its familiar routes with reckless abandon and exuberance, Deep Purple goes off in various directions, expanding the possibilities of a song that’s never been bound by limits or borders – the sinewy funk of Hughes’s bass and his improvised singing, so clear and commanding, compelling the band to drive harder and soar higher, even if his lovelorn scatting seems somewhat out of place.

But this is Blackmore’s stage, and his playing is not just technically sound on this auspicious occasion, but it’s also fiery and impassioned. Along with painting the anguished, bluesy expression of “Mistreated,” Blackmore propels “Smoke on the Water” and the closer “Highway Star” – Coverdale lending that track a little more sexual heat than it had previously – ahead with searing six-string savagery and the occasional crazed arpeggio as Purple, its improvisational instincts as keen as ever, plows ahead, gathering momentum and driving both songs straight off the cliff without any fear of what awaits them below. Perhaps the most interesting facet of Live in Paris 1975, however, is the 24 minutes of in-depth interview recordings tacked on as a bonus feature. Set against a backdrop of the music directly piped in from Live in Paris 1975, it’s utterly fascinating to hear members of Deep Purple offer their perspectives on what was happening within the band at the time, while also hashing over studio sessions that birthed some of Mark IIIs best work and offering great insight into their creative process. 

The transition was not an easy one for Deep Purple, and substance abuse would eventually tear the Mark IV edition apart, but not before Tommy Bolin arrived to let everyone get a glimpse of his prodigious talent on the vastly underrated Come Taste the Band. On the vital Live in Paris 1975, however, Blackmore made damn sure nobody forgot who made Deep Purple a household name. (

– Peter Lindblad

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