Osaka-Jo Hall, Osaka, Japan – December 3, 1993
Disc 1 (61:31) Intro, Highway Star, Ramshackle Man, Black Night, Maybe I’m A Leo, A Twist In The Tale, Perfect Strangers, Pictures Of Home, Keyboard Solo, Knocking At Your Back Door, Anyone’s Daughter
Disc 2 (74:37) Child In Time, Anya, The Battles Rages On, When A Blind Man Cries, Guitar Solo, Lazy, Drum Solo, Space Truckin’ / Woman From Tokyo, Paint It Black, Hush, Speed King, Smoke On The Water
After constant infighting between Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan, the Man in Black would make his final exit from Deep Purple after a concert in Helsinki, Finland on November 17, 1993. With no guitar player and dates scheduled in Japan and Europe, the band curiously enlisted their second American guitarist, the brilliant Joe Satriani to fill in. The chemistry was there and the brief period from December 1993 through July 1994 would feature a line up known as Mark VIII; Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, and Joe Satriani!
The concert here is sourced from an excellent audience recording, albeit on the thin side that focuses on the top end and lacking bass frequencies but is extremely clear and detailed, the top end also causes just a very small amount of distortion, once you apply a bit of bass crank this up as it gives the feeling of being there. I must confess that I ordered this title by mistake, just not a big fan of Purple boots from this period and do not have any prior titles featuring Satriani on guitar (the title I wanted was the Osaka 1991 show), but after listening to this title several times over the past few weeks I can say that I thoroughly enjoy it! The playing is superb and the band is bristling with a new found energy. I was more than pleased in how well Satriani’s style meshed with Purple, he does not overplay anything and plays with his own distinct style with a hint of Blackmore thrown in.
The set list is excellent, with Blackmore out of the picture the band slightly revamps the set list, they drop Talk About Love and put a blazing version of Ramshackle Man in its spot and drop the Difficult To Cure portion as well. But its what they add that really adds to this release, Maybe I’m A Leo, Pictures of Home and When A Blind Man Cries feature the band going…Deep. I was happy to see Child In Time in the set, and to hear Ian could wail with great effectiveness, he does get a bit of a back up from Joe’s wailing guitar. And yet with the extremely tightness of the group, it is the late Jon Lord who shines the brightest in this recording, his playing has that comfortable confidence and he just nails every single song, his talent is truly missed.
The packaging is typical for Darker Than Blue, full color inserts beautifully adorned with Battles Rages On style graphics and live shots from the Mark VIII era. Picture CD’s are the norm and some copies come with the highly coveted numbered sticker. A very nice release that I am glad mistakenly came my way.