Getting Tighter In Miami (Godfather Records GR 620/621)
Jai Alai Sports Auditorium, Miami, FL – February 8th, 1976
Disc 1 (61:10) Burn, Lady Luck, Gettin’ Tighter / You Gotta Dance To The Rock’n’Roll, Love Child, Smoke On The Water / Georgia On My Mind, Jon Lord Solo / Lazy / Ian Paice Solo, Homeward Strut
Disc 2 (43:32) This Time Around, Ode To G, Tommy Bolin Solo, Dealer, Stormbringer, I’m Going Down, Highway Star
The latest Deep Purple Godfather release is a fine document of a Mark IV era recording. The source tape is a very good sounding mono audience recording with very little disturbance around the recorder. Being mono it suffers from lack of highs and lows but is an easy listen and the performance is excellent with all instruments being clear enough to be heard and sounds good at louder volumes.
The tour itself was plagued by inconsistent performances mainly from new guitarist Tommy Bolin and bassist / singer Glenn Hughes, but after a couple of repeated listenings it can be determined that this was an “on” night. The band stuck with a fairly consistent set list, the only thing changed was the new tracks from the Come Taste The Band album most all of which were played live at one time or another.
The band hits the stage and tunes / jams into the set opening song Burn, Tommy plays a nice but not killer solo and the harmonies of Coverdale / Hughes sound tight. The song about a lady who sell herself is next, Lady Luck was a song from Bolin’s past repertoire and used to be played by Energy with slightly different arraignments and lyrics the song.
The next song is one that really gets the blood pumping, the Glenn Hughes led Getting Tighter. Bolin’s playing is superb, the songs has a funky edge and his solos are spot on and the song has the nice slow “I know that you want me” interlude that has some nice echo plex in the back ground.
Jon Lord gets to play some synthesizer during Love Child, again the playing is tight and the song has a heavy feel to it, Ian Paice’s drumming is great on this night and he is having some great interaction with the rhythm section while Lord plays a solo. The first of the older material is next, Smoke on the Water is not bad, Bolin play is pretty straight but without the passion that he used for the CTTB material. Jon Lord plays a great solo that leads directly to the Georgia on my Mind interlude, cannot say it is a favorite and upon its conclusion the band hammers the ending of Smoke.
The audience around the recording shouts their approval. Another old track is next complete with a Jon Lord organ intro, almost sounding church like in nature it soon evolves into familiar themes played by Lord. His playing eventually leads into Lazy, if there is one song you would really want to hear Bolin rip into this is the one. He pretty much takes a back seat and lets Lord solo while he plays some rhythm structure, it would have been great to hear him “battle” back and forth with Lord. TB does play a great solo and just as you get to the point where he would just kill you the band stops and Ian Paice takes over for his solo spot that leads directly into the solo Bolin tune from Teaser, Homeward Strut.
Kind of a cousin to Getting Tighter without vocals, the rest of Purple play well, especially Jon Lord who again plays a nice synth solo. The second disc kicks off with the Lord / Hughes solo spot dedicated to Stevie Wonder, This Time Around starts off almost sounding dream like before its companion comes in dramatically in this recording. Bolin’s playing is superb, very fluent but not over playing the song.
The song concludes with some trippy echoplex that’s leads into Bolin’s solo spot. The audience cheers at the stops, the solo itself is a pretty low key affair, instead on ripping he just noodles around for some time before getting into some effects that sound like a cross between the open of Rush’s Xanadu and the middle section of By Tor and the Snow Dog.
The whole thing comes to close and the band leads into Dealer, the last of the Come taste The Band songs it is impressive live and a personal favorite. Again Bolin shines on the track and plays a fiery solo, it is a joy to have a good sounding version of the song live. The main ends with a heavy Stormbringer complete with a snippet of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition thrown in for good measure. The encores are I’m Going Down that has the whole band interacting with each other to great effect and finally Highway Star finishes off the audience (and listener) is fine fashion.
Over all a well played concert with some significance as this is the venue where Tommy Bolin would play his last show just 10 months later as an opening act for Jeff Beck before he ultimately succumbed to a drug overdose. The packaging is typical Godfathers, beautiful color photographs and relevant liner notes, when I saw this title first announced I was very excited. Mark IV releases are pretty few and far between and clearly Godfather should be congratulated for taking chances with their releases. Highly recommended.