City Hall, Sheffield, UK – May 6, 1974
Disc 1 (61:48) Intro, Burn, Might Just Take Your Life, Lay Down Stay Down, Mistreated, Smoke On The Water, You Fool No One inc. Drum Solo
Disc 2 (38:55) MC, Space Truckin’, Wombling Song, Going Down
Curiously Deep Purple would save dates in the UK for the latter part of the touring cycle in support of the Burn record, the group’s first with singer David Coverdale and bassist / singer Glenn Hughes. Whatever the reason, the band was in fine shape for the tour as one can attest to after a listen to this recording from Sheffield. The audience recording is good to very good, all instruments can be clearly heard and there is very little audience interference near the taper, overall this has a really nice sound and is a great capture. There is a minor level of hiss, but to have tried to remove it would have made it for the worse, thankfully there is only a minor cut in You Fool No One so we have a near complete concert. There has been a previous release of this concert, Made In Sheffield (Demons Eye DE-023/24) and I could not find much information on this release other than art work but judging from that they used an incomplete version of the tape as the encore is missing.
David comes onstage and asks for a minute so they can tune up to start the recording, the audience is respectfully waiting and they will be rewarded as an opening jam turns into a storming version of Burn. The sound clears up nicely during the first few minutes of the song and the quality will stay stable through till the tape flip. Blackmore’s playing is devastating as he goes from riff to leads and back again effortlessly, the song is certainly a highlight of the group’s illustrious catalog. Straight forward versions of Might Just Take Your Life and Lay Down Stay Down get the band and audience sweating a bit, the interplay between David and Glenn works well, they take turns with the between song banter and their harmonizing brings a new dimension to the group. Props must be given to Ian Paice for his drum work on the latter, his powerful drumming drives Lay Down and is a joy to listen too.
The slow blues of Mistreated follows, introduced by Glenn as having been written for two years, this would lead one to believe that its origins date back to the Mark II era and one can only ponder the thoughts of former singer Ian Gillan’s interpretation of this song. Blackmore plays a somber solo that has the audience tense and clapping along before he heads headlong in a vicious coda that makes for a dramatic feel. Jon Lord does the MC as he introduces the two new guys, and tells the crowd that they nicked the bass player from Trapeze before saying “Something from Machine Head” that gets a loud ovation. Blackmore plays a light little intro and brings the house down when he breaks into the riff from Smoke On The Water. David and Glenn take turns on the vocals and harmonize on the chorus that does get a little over the top at times.
You Fool No One begins with a tease on Lazy that features a nice jam from Jon Lord that is well received from the audience, but it’s just a snippet as Blackmore plays the machine gun riff of the song and we settle down for a nice long jam as You Fool No One is an excuse for improvisation, something that the Mark III line up excels in. About seven minutes in Blackmore goes into a variation of Third Stone From The Sun into a bit of the riff to Still I’m Sad, the song he would ultimately use for Rainbow. His first solo is a work of art as he goes through a variety of themes from renaissance themes to blues to a bit of Christmas music. The song also features a great drum solo from Ian Paice, a man who certainly does not get enough credit from being one of the best in rock. There is a cut in the recording at the 16:29 mark due to a tape flip, it is brief and cuts the tail end of the drum solo and starts back up with Ritchie reentering and brings the group back to the main theme. The cut is well handled and smooth but there is a dip in the quality as the taper never quite gets the equipment positioned as well as it was before, I even detect another cut 17:42 mark, again very minor and little is missing.
The second disc starts with Glenn admonishing the audience for throwing something and hitting him in the face, he is not too angry and tells them the next song features the entire band. Space Truckin’ starts with another Lord jam featuring most notable the 2001 theme that was typical for his solos around this period. As I was listening to this concert there was another notable Purple release, the Graz 1975 concert featured on the Mark III The Final Concerts set. When listening to that show’s Space Truckin’ and this one it is night and day, Blackmore is not existent on the Graz version and the Sheffield show he is everywhere and leads the trajectory of the group. Blackmore’s solo has him playing something that sounds a bit like Hendrix’ Gypsy Eyes. Glenn gets his spot next with the “I Know That You Love Me” into Dance to the Rock And Roll boogie with a bit of soul. Blackmore is absent for Glenn’s part but enters back for a reprise of Truckin’ that leads to a duel with Lord as they play the middle section of Mandrake Root. The group gets a nice ovation for their efforts and leaves the audience clambering for more. The band come back onstage for a single encore, while tuning Lord plays the Womble theme music from the TV show in hilarious fashion, it leads the band into a rendition of the Don Nix classic Going Down ala Jeff Beck. The band do get into a bit of Sly Stone’s Thank You as a way to get the audience to clap along and it works well, sadly this is the portion of the tape with the worse sound as it becomes quite muffled yet even with the low sound the concert ends on a very high note.
The packaging is simple, beautiful Burn inspired graphics and photos of the group in posed and live settings as well as the melting candles all housed in a slim lined jewel case. A really nice release from the Darker Than Blue folks, the premier label for Purple fans, this is easily recommended to fans of the Mark III line up as it showcases them in a very powerful stage of their existence.