Deep Purple – London 1974

London 1974

1. Introduction; 2. Burn (complete); 3. JL, IP, GH, DC interview Pt.1;  4. Dressing Room after the show; 5. Richie Blackmore interview Pt.1;  6. JL, IP, GH, DC interview Pt.2; 7. JL, IP, GH, DC interview Pt.3; 8.  Richie Blackmore interview Pt.2; 9. JL, IP, GH, DC interview Pt.4; 10. Jon Lord Solo incl. Sprach Zarathustra; 11. Space Truckin fragment; 12. Jon Lord interview; 13. Ritchie Blackmore solo fragment; 14. Outroduction

1972 saw Deep Purple at the height of their power having finally broken through with the classic “Machine Head” album. But things were not well with the band and lead singer Ian Gillan, tired the constant touring and fighting with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, finally gave his notice that he was leaving the band in December of that year. He agreed to finish out the tour obligations and the last show of the MKII version of the band was played on June 29th of 1973 in Osaka, Japan.

Blackmore and organist Jon Lord were ready to pursue other projects when the bands management convinced them to try to replace Gillan and continue as Deep Purple. Blackmore agreed but insisted that bassist Roger Glover also be replaced as a condition to carry on.  They recruited then Trapeze bassist, Glen Hughes, and an unknown singer, David Coverdale, and Deep Purple MKIII was born in August 1973.

The new band started touring in December 1973 while their first album, titled “Burn”, would not be released until February 1974, to great success, reaching #3 on the UK and #9 on the US charts.

London 1974 is an interesting DVD release, 40:34 minutes in length by a no label company, as it is reported to be the result of a media project by students from Leeds University. The back cover of the DVD claims the footage is a first generation copy of the original U-Matic Master and based on my viewing I would agree that this is either true or it is a very low generation copy.

The DVD has a very simple main menu with a submenu which allows direct access to each of the 14 chapters. The video starts out with a still image of the outside of the Hammersmith Odeon venue showing the marquee listing Deep Purple.  It jumps into one of the few live songs on the disc with a complete multi camera shot version of the opening number of the show “Burn”. This is the only complete song on the disc as the other live content is only snippets of songs for a total of about 10 minutes of live action. It is a shame there is not more live footage from this show as the band is very tight and energized and really seem to be enjoying themselves. Even Ritchie Blackmore can be seen smiling and seems to be on that night which always makes for an excellent show.

The video is very clear, but shows its age with continuous scratches and white spots throughout the 40 minutes. These seem to lessen as time progresses but never completely disappear and are not overly distracting. While very close to the master the video is grainy and there is a loss of some facial definition especially in medium distance shots. The color is very solid with no blooming but is slightly washed out as can be expected from a 34 year old video.

The Audio is clear, and especially good on the live material, but some of the interviews are very slightly muffled which requires you to listen a little more intently to understand what is being said. This is not a major problem as the authors of this release provide a compete transcript of all the interviews in the package which is a nice touch and came in handy at times.

The main meat of this release is the interviews which account for approximately 30 out of the total 40 minutes on the DVD. What you see and hear is a band which is very relaxed and seems to be getting along well with some interesting insight into how they view their on stage image, touring, the pressure of producing new records and other topics. What I found to be interesting was all the band interviews were with all the members except Ritchie Blackmore. He has two very short interview segments which he does alone. His interviews are even more revealing as he comments on some of his personality traits and also his feelings on the pressures exerted by record companies to produce product.

All in all I found this to be a very enjoyable release, of  vg/ex quality, as there is very little video of the Deep Purple MkIII incarnation. I would recommend this title to hardcore Purple fans but I think, due to the lack of live content, that casual fans would probably do better to get a copy of the official Deep Purple California Jam 74 concert video which is not only excellent quality but a decent performance by the Mk III band.

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