“The End” (Darker Than Blue 031/032)
Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – June 29th, 1973
Disc 1: Opening, Highway Star, Smoke On The Water, Strange Kind Of Woman, Child In Time
Disc 2: Lazy, Drum Solo/The Mule, Space Truckin’, applause, Gillan speaks
Deep Purple’s Osaka show is rightly famous for being the finale for the classic MK II line up. After Ian Gillan announced his departure from the band at the end of 1972 it all comes down to this show. It would be more than a decade before he (and bassist Roger Glover) would play with the band again. Thankfully someone was on hand to record the event and produced this tape. It is very good and clear but distant recording on par with other tapes produced at the Festival Hall in Osaka. This tape source was first released on vinyl on the rare Japanese 2LP set Gillan/Glover’s Last Stand (JASRAC DG14) which contains the entire show. On compact disc it was used for Last Live 1973 (MN35-1091, 1092), The End Good-bye (TNT 930130-1) and Final Truckin’.
“The End” has been slowed down to the correct speed and includes the audience applause between the final song and Gillan’s speech which gives a more realistic view of the event. Review:The band delivers a very strange show. Nothing is played from the latest LP Who Do We Think We Are (“Mary Long” was in the set list several months before but was dropped) with all the weight of the show on the lengthy improvisations. Gillan is very distracted and mumbles several rambling and incoherent monologues before tunes such as: “We never knew you existed before we came here… we thought it was all animals in the desert…I don’t care at all…It’s still bloody useless…’Strange Kind Of Woman'”. Blackmore also loses enthusiasm through the show and is all but absent from the latter half. The rhythm section and keyboardist Jon Lord carry the entire show and deliver some interesting performances.
The intro to “Space Truckin'” begins with Lord playing Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra before Blackmore responds with the riff to “Sunshine Of Your Love”. Lord plays “Happy Birthday” at the beginning of the keyboard solo to celebrate drummer Ian Paice’s birthday. Roger Glover also plays an intense bass solo during the jam but the song ultimately whimpers out with Gillan saying simply “the end”. After five minutes of the audience cheering and clapping for an encore the vocalist comes out and says: “Thank you for everything you’ve given us in Japan, you’re representatives of the whole world as far as we’re concerned. This is the last night, the end, God bless you, thanks a lot.” The house announcer comes over the public address system and the lights go up and that’s the end of the short, strange and intense final concert. The historical importance of this recording for the Deep Purple fan is without question and this release by Darker Than Blue is very much recommended.