Deep Purple – Red Sky Kansas (Darker Than Blue 079)

Red Sky Kansas (Darker Than Blue 079) 

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri – August 28, 1974 

(65:42) Intro, Burn, Might Just Take Your Life, Lay Down Stay Down, Mistreated, Smoke On The Water, Space Truckin’, Going Down, Highway Star 

Deep Purple visited the US three times during 1974 with both a new line up and new LP, Burn. David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes had replaced Ian Gillan and Roger Glover by August of 1973 and wasted no time getting to work on new music. The first string of dates in the US came in the spring of 1974 starting in Detroit on March 3rd lasting a little over a month. They returned for a four date stadium tour in August and finished the year with the longest of the three in Nov/Dec.  

The tape used for Red Sky Kansas is a good but distorted audience source. Although the mix can get cluttered in places, the recording is certainly tolerable and once your ears adjust is even enjoyable. There is a two and a half minute intro on the disc with some crowd noise and tune ups but just as they start the show the tape cuts into the second verse of “Burn”. Glenn Hughes does the introduction for “Lay Down Stay Down” and acts as a better front man for the group than the lesser experienced Coverdale. Jon Lord opens the track with some funky electric piano before the rest of the band come steamrolling in. Hughes describes “Mistreated” as “a song about being pushed around and pissed off” and dedicates the track to the J. Geils Band and Elf, who were also on the bill, calling them “two great fucking bands”. Blackmore proceeds with a long guitar intro to start the song and also has a very nice extended solo in the middle. 

Jon Lord builds a rapport with the audience before introducing the next track, “this is a song from Machine Head“. Ritchie teases with “Lazy” before starting “Smoke On The Water” to great applause. The new arrangement has Coverdale singing the first verse while Hughes takes the second. After Blackmore’s solo they return to the first verse again with the two in harmony. “You Fool No One” usually came after but is missing along with most of “Space Truckin”. Only the final six minutes remains where the band gets into the “Mandrake Root” jam. For the first encore, David and Glenn share the vocal again on a cover of “Going Down” which slowly transitions into the short Mark III version of “Highway Star”. All and all, a very effective performance from the new line up promoting much of the new material, something the band failed to do with Who Do We Think We Are

Red Sky Kansas is packaged decently in a single jewel case with photos from the appropriate era. Overall, this is an average recording of a very good show, but not quite essential.

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