Osaka-Jo Hall, Osaka, Japan – June 26, 1991
Disc 1 (48:20) Intro, Burn, Black Night, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll, Child In Time, Black Night (reprise), Truth Hurts, The Cut Runs Deep, Hush, The Cut Runs Deep (reprise), Perfect Strangers, Fire In The Basement
Disc 2 (48:36) MC, Love Conquers All, Difficult To Cure, Keyboard Solo, Knocking At Your Back Door, Lazy, Highway Star, Smoke On The Water, Drum Solo, King Of Dreams, Woman From Tokyo, Smoke On The Water (reprise)
After the incredible success of Deep Purple’s reunion album Perfect Strangers and subsequent tour, the band was as popular as ever. The follow up, House Of Blue Light was a bit lackluster when compared to its predecessor, it seems like old tensions were again, rising to the surface and soon Ian Gillan would be fired from the band. In a curious move they bring in former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner and proceed to record what would become Slaves And Masters, and while not a critical success in the eyes of critics, it certainly would be a better record that the previous one and the following one, the ill fated The Battle Rages On. In fact the record has become somewhat of a dark horse of the band’s catalog.
With the record failing to set the charts afire, the tour to support it was a scaled down affair and consisted of a scant 53 dates for the entire tour, the Japanese tour would consist of three shows in Tokyo and one in Osaka, the subject of this title. The recording is an excellent audience source, fully three dimensional sound that is crystal clear, it does favor the mid and upper frequencies as the lower end is a bit lacking. This is one that sounds like a soundboard with just a bit of ambience…turn this up for maximum effect. New singer, new record would provide the freedom to freshen up the set list a bit, something that will make a Purple purist cringe.
The concert is well played, Burn is resurrected having not been played since 1976, and with the re reunion with Gillan the following year would never again be performed by Deep Purple. Black Night is played with the inclusion of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll and a snippet of Child In Time as well. The strength of the first disc is certainly the new material, The Truth Hurts, Cut Runs Deep and the superb Fire In The Basement, the latter has a great Glover bass solo, translate very well to the live setting and allows Joe Lynn Turner to get in a comfort zone and really shine. The one thing that is easy to criticize JLT on is his between song banter, he seems to think that he is Gods gift to the opposite sex.
Love Conquers All is certainly the antithesis of the Purple Rainbow moniker, while the ballad is not the most Purplish song, its nice nonetheless. The song leads into Difficult To Cure (aka Beethoven’s Ninth) from the Rainbow catalog. The song leads into Jon Lord’s solo, far from their days of deep improvisation, one would only dream of Blackmore and Lord sparring with this piece in 1970. Knocking At Your Back Door never really gets off the ground for me, thankfully the band regroup with a brilliant Lazy that features Lord and Blackmore trading off a bit in an exciting duel. The energy continues through the end of the gig, Highway Star brings the house down and Smoke On The Water has the band hitting a stride that loses a bit of momentum with a sing along that evolves into Ian Paice’s drum solo. King Of Dreams and Woman From Tokyo are played medley style, with Turner changing the lyric of the latter to “Woman from Osaka” before heading back to Smoke On The Water to finish the concert proper.
The packaging is typical for Darker Than Blue, great full color inserts with Slaves and Masters graphics, we get a cool numbered sticker and pictures on the CD’s, all housed in a slim lined jewel case. With some of these latter day Purple tours, a single title is all I really need, this title was an easy choice, I listened to both samples of this title and the Tokyo show that was released at the same time. Excellent recording and great performance made for an easy choice.