Deep Purple – Heidelberg University 1970 1st Gen Reel Master (Darker Than Blue 130)

Heidelberg University 1970
1st Gen Reel Master
(Darker Than Blue 130)

Heidelberg University, Heidelberg Germany November 28, 1970

(71:59) Intro, Speed King, Into The fire, Child In Time, Mandrake Root, Black Night, Lucille, Good Golly Miss Molly

This new release from Darker Than Blue features the Heidelberg Germany show from November 1970 and the source is from a first Gen master. The audience recording is distant but clear and has slight hiss during the quiet section with the vocals, guitar, and keyboards being up front and the drums do get a little buried at times but overall has a nice sound I found very enjoyable. At times there are some comments made by either the taper or people next to him, and surprisingly enough they sound American. I did some online research but have not seen a previous release of this show and to my knowledge this could be its first silver pressing.

The intro features some brief tune up’s and a guys comments about a Fender Stratocaster lead guitar……followed by beautiful man, sounds like they are in a stoner mood. “Okay lets go with a bit of rock n roll to start things” is Gillan’s intro and the band plow intro Speed King, the sound fluctuates slightly as one would expect but soon settles down a couple minutes in. During the quiet jam portion as Blackmore and Lord begin their call and response improvisation, the guy in the audience says “It doesn’t seem like he’s human man”. Indeed at time Blackmore is more than human as he leads Lord through the paces, he is in great shape tonight and the notes flow effortlessly as the band goes band back into the song his solo’s gather intensity as Gillan mimics the notes with his voice and throws snippets of Who Do You Love in the mix.

A powerful Into The Fire follows, the song has such a powerful and bludgeoning riff but it is Ian Gillan who makes the song, his laughs during the chorus give a very maniacal feel to the song and the band play it a little safe at just over four minutes long although Blackmore rips a nice solo at the end.

The band take a little time at the songs conclusion to tune up before Blackmore goes into a little hoe down ditty before Gillan introduced Child In Time. After a brief round of applause the audience listens intently as the band plays the quiet introduction, Gillan’s voice has the excellent haunting effect and the recording sounds very powerful during the heavy part. The are some sound fluctuations during the song but nothing that is intrusive or interferes with the music. Lord plays a lengthy solo that leads into a nice duel between him and Blackmore that has the rest of the band racing to keep up and leads into a nice Blackmore solo section.

He literally flies during the spot before the entire band rips into the fast section that garners applause from the audience, the stoner guy in the crowd says something like ” God dang dude dig that !” The is a tape cut at the songs conclusion and no music is lost, assumably a tape flip. A nice 26 minute Mandrake Root is next and is the main epic of the set, Blackmore is playing some really heavy sounding notes ala Jimi Hendrix.

The 26 minute version features plenty of soloing from Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore as the band keeps a steady rhythmic base going and it is the latter’s spot that is the most chaotic, at times it is difficult to discern what is happening as he works his magic. It is amazing to here him conjuring up the gates of hell one minute then ripping into a coherent solo the next and somehow the rhythm section of Glover / Paice follows at his every turn, the stunned crowd hesitates at the songs conclusion for a minute then roars their approval.

There is another small cut at the very beginning of Black Night, sounds like the taper hit pause to conserve tape and just the first couple bars of the song is missing, the sound fluctuates slightly during the song, like to taper was re positioning himself. Ian goes into a call and response section during Blackmore’s solo that is very effective that continues the improvisational feel of the 1970 Purple shows. The band waste little time and rip into a rollicking version of Little Richard’s Lucille, again the sound becomes slightly muffled for a good 30 sections but soon recovers. The band finish amid shouts of more but the band waste no time and go into “another Little Richard song” and a real fast paced version of Good Golly Miss Molly is played, Jon Lord plays a cool 50’s style solo that had me smiling. The song finishes with some feedback from Ritchie and the cheers of the crowd, over all a very satisfying performance.

The packaging is standard for Darker Than Blue, inserts featuring live and posed photos of the band with a slight tinge of Purple on them, I particularly like the one on the back cover has the band looking mean, serious, and ready to rock. While the average sound quality would not really appeal to the general collector,  any Purple fan will enjoy this concert, the band was in great form during the Fall of 1970 and this is once to enjoy.

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