Definitive Nagoya 1975 (Calm & Storm 052)
Nagoya-shi Kokaido, Nagoya, Japan – December 8, 1975
Disc 1: (39:54) Opening, Burn, Lady Luck, Love Child, Getting’ Tighter, Smoke On The Water, Georgia On My Mind
Disc 2: (65:31) I Need Love, Soldier Of Fortune, Jon Lord Solo, Lazy, Drum Solo, Lazy (reprise), This Time Around, Owed To G, Tommy Bolin Guitar Solo, Drifter, You Keep On Moving, Stormbringer, Highway Star
Definitive Nagoya 1975 from Calm & Storm brings us the Miracle Man recording from the Mark IV tour of Japan. They played a total of four dates during their short visit with the first being December 8th in Nagoya. Audience tapes exist for all the Japanese shows and all have been released on silver disc in the past. They follow this show with Osaka on December 11th and Fukuoka on December 12th while the final show on the 15th at the Budokan in Tokyo was recorded and filmed for a future live record/film.
Deep Purple hit the road with their newest lineup of Lord/Paice/Hughes/Coverdale and new guitarist Tommy Bolin in November 1975. A one off date in Hawaii preceded their trip to New Zealand, Australia, and Indonesia before the short Japanese tour. This was a rough time for Purple after an incident in Indonesia led to the death of roadie/bodyguard Patsy Collins. Tommy Bolin also sustained an arm injury after taking liquid methadone and falling asleep on his arm which further plagued the Japanese dates.
Bolin’s sound is wet with effects to compensate and is causing him some feedback problems at the start. Most of his solos seem to go nowhere and the effort often times sounds pathetic. Jon Lord, however, steps up to fill some of the void and the rest of the guys give a solid performance.
The recording starts off slightly distant and muddy with some distortion in the upper frequencies. During “Burn” the mix is somewhat cluttered but all instruments can be heard and the sound clears up by “Lady Luck”. From here, I would say it could be categorized as a very good audience source. The Tommy Bolin penned “Love Child” follows and features the funkier side of Purple with a great synth solo from Jon Lord in the middle.
“Getting’ Tighter” features Glenn Hughes on lead vocal who knocks it out of the park as usual. His vocals were cleaner sounding than Coverdale’s and in my opinion was overall a better singer. This also has a nice funky section in the middle and the jam at the end extends the song to almost 14 minutes featuring spots from Jon Lord and Glenn Hughes who also contributes some vocal acrobatics.
“Smoke On The Water” is the first of anything from the Mark II era and has the audience excited and clapping along. This new arrangement doesn’t hold a candle to the original where they omit the third verse in place of the first again. However, Jon Lord does play some great stuff at the end before Hughes leads him into a soulful “Georgia On My Mind”. Hughes sings over the Hammond with a few guitar licks thrown in.
Disc two opens with the Bolin/Coverdale collaboration “I Need Love” from the new record Come Taste The Band. Throughout the track you can faintly hear what sounds like a microphone about to feedback. This transitions smoothly into a two minute version of “Soldier Of Fortune” from Stormbringer. Jon Lord’s solo precedes “Lazy” which is also used for Ian Paice’s drum solo. Hughes and Coverdale split the lead vocal and Bolin falls short with a lackluster slide solo but Ian Paice redeems the track with some impressive drumming.
“This Time Around/Owed To G”, one of the best cuts from Come Taste The Band, leads into Tommy’s guitar solo. Again, this isn’t a very inspired solo and is a bit of a disappointment. “You Keep On Moving” has great dynamics that again features the vocal talents of Coverdale and Hughes and is certainly a high point in the show. A strong version of “Stormbringer” closes the main set. They return for an encore of “Highway Star” that again doesn’t quite compare to the Mark II versions.
Definitive Nagoya 1975 is good enough to be enjoyed and might just be one of the better audience recordings from the short tour and is a historically important document despite the compromised performance. Sadly, after the dissolution of Deep Purple, Tommy Bolin would die of an overdose of heroin and other drugs the following December just as he was embarking on a solo tour opening for Jeff Beck. A truly great talent that unfortunately came to an abrupt end at the young age of 25.