The Bronx (Darker Than Blue 091/092)
Gaelic Park, Bronx, New York – August 30, 1972
Disc 1: (49:11) Intro, Highway Star, Smoke On The Water, Strange Kind Of Woman, The Mule inc. Drum Solo, Lazy
Disc 2: (38:48) Space Truckin’, Speed King, Lucille
Deep Purple was scheduled to play at Gaelic Park in The Bronx on August 30, 1972 with support from Fleetwood Mac and Elf but the show had to be postponed until the following day. Gillan starts by apologizing, “Sorry about last night but our equipment didn’t make it and it would seem pointless to do a gig without any equipment, alright, so we thought we’d make it tonight” he says as the band tunes.
The tape used for The Bronx features a very good audience source with some top end distortion. While everyone can be heard, the vocals and lead instruments are the most prominent in the mix. Deep Purple’s performance tonight is amazing and is on par with the recent shows recorded for the Made In Japan LP a few weeks earlier.
This show was previously documented on several bootlegs including Bronx 1972, Ladies and Gentlemen, Here They Are…, Smokin’ New York, and Smoke On The N.Y. City, a 2CD set on the Neptune label. It’s hard for me to say if this comes from the same source as I’ve not heard any of the previous titles.
By the time “Highway Star” kicks in it becomes evident that the band is locked in and ready. Blackmore sounds very focused here and even his noodling between tracks is above average. Ritchie has some fun with Ian Paice to start “Smoke On The Water”. It is always interesting to hear how playful Blackmore would get from night to night as he extends the intro longer than usual tonight.
This continues into “Strange Kind Of Woman” where the duel between guitar and vocal is outstanding with the two pushing each other to the limits. “The Mule” contains a six minute Ian Paice drum solo and is “a thing about Lucifer” according to Gillan. At 6:24 in “Lazy” there is a tiny glitch repeating a second of music that appears to be the only flaw in the source.
“Space Truckin” closes the main set and is joined with the “Mandrake Root” jam totaling a 22 minute arrangement and is a vehicle for Jon Lord’s cosmic trickery. As if “Speed King” wasn’t enough to finish them off, they are called back for a cover of “Lucille”, a common second encore during this era. All tracks appear to be uncut with no loss of music.
Darker Than Blue produced another very nice Purple title and while the sound quality rates only very good it is the band’s aggressive performance that is the seller here, being one of the best I’ve heard from the Mark II lineup. It is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with some very dark photos used for the artwork.