The Roundhouse, Dagenham, UK – February 19, 1972
(79:19) Intro, Highway Star, Strange Kind Of Woman, No No No, Child In Time, The Mule. Live at Royal Albert Hall, London UK October 4, 1972: Lazy, Fireball
Earlier this year I began hearing of a newly discovered recording of a Deep Purple concert from early in 1972, what piqued my interest was that the concert had not circulated in any form and from what I read the quality was supposed to be decent. The recording came from a short tour in early 1972, a tour that was sandwiched between dates in America and consisted of shows in Germany and the UK. Thankfully the folks at Darker Than Blue were also reading about this recording and now we have what I am listening to now, the first part of Deep Purple’s concert at the Dagenham Roundhouse in 1972. The recording is very good, very clear and well defined with a nice balance of all instruments and vocals, what is nice about this recording is the bass and drums are easily heard in the mix, there is very little disturbance near the taper and the recording is easily one of the best from 1972. Frankly what sucks about this recording is it is only the first 55 minutes of the concert, it is unknown if this is all that exists or if the remainder remains in the hand of the taper.
The recording begins with a bit of tuning as Ian tells the audience “We got a new thing now….it’s on the next album…it’s a thing called Highway Star”. Like the recording from Wolverhampton a few days after this concert (take a listen to Electric Ghost DTB 071/072), Ritchie’s solo is a bit different and features some Hendrix style “bombs”, the audience is quite pleased with the song and it receives a nice ovation. There is a pause while Blackmore gets the Stratocaster under control, Ian remarks “every guitar he buys is out of tune” and proceeds to introduce the next song as being a true story, really it is. Strange Kind Of Woman is laid back, it sounds like Ritchie is still struggling a bit with the tuning and while the note trading improv with Gillan is good, the energy is not there. The real highlight of this tape for me is a great version of No No No from Fireball. Not a lot of live versions out there and this one is in great quality. You can hear Ian Paice’s drum reverb this is so clear, the band do a bit of noodling as Ritchie again can’t keep his guitar in tune. Ian gets into an almost political rap during the middle funky section that is quite interesting.
Child In Time is introduced to much fanfare, it sounds like someone, probably the taper, is whistling to Jon Lord’s organ intro, the song is pure drama at its best. As usual Lord takes his solo first, Blackmore seems to have his Strat under control and delivers a furious solo. The final part of the Dagenham recording is an excellent version of Ian Paice’s tour de force, The Mule. The band’s part prior to his solo is very heavy and mysterious sounding, as if the hellish demon has taken the band over. Paice hits his solo running and as I listen to this I am thankful he is getting into the RRHOF, a truly world class and most underrated drummer.
The final two tracks come from the band’s performance at London’s famed Royal Albert Hall in October 1971, just a month or so after the release of Fireball, the quality is very similar to the Dagenham recording, if anything just very slightly more distant. It is clear and wonderfully atmospheric and despite it being a scant two songs, there is certainly much to enjoy. The recording begins with a bit of tuning as Ian introduces the next number as being a “sort of rhythm and blues” before Lord takes center stage with his organ. The build up is slow yet methodical, eventually the audience starts clapping along and Blackmore enters the fray. The early version is not as structured as latter versions but contains the essential element of the song, lots of improvisation. A “fast one” is next, again Ian Paice gets double bass drum duties on a blistering Fireball. The interplay of Blackmore and Lord while Paice keeps this thundering beat is excellent and a highlight of the Royal Albert Hall recording. AARRGGG where’s the rest?
The packaging is typical Darker Than Blue, the inserts feature some great live shots of the band, the Cd has a picture on it as well and gets the usual numbered sticker. Despite the frustratingly fragmented nature of these two recordings, this is an excellent release and I can only hope that the rest of these performances see the light of day.