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The headline in Austrian newspaper Neue Zeit said it all: ‘Deep Purple in Graz: Ein lauter Abschied [a loud farewell].’
On April 3, 1975 the Mk III line-up of Purple – guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, frontman David Coverdale, bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, keyboard player Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice – played a concert at the Liebenauer ice rink, located on the outskirts of mountaincradled Graz, Austria’s second largest city after Vienna. Enthused by Purple’s arrival in town, the local press dubbed the concert ‘das Rockereignis des Jahres [the rock event of the year]’. And it was – in more ways than one.
After Graz, Purple would play just two more shows – in Saarbrücken, Germany and Paris, France – before a disenchanted and disgruntled Blackmore left to form his new band, Rainbow. The remaining Purple members would regroup quickly with American guitarist Tommy Bolin in tow, in place of Blackmore. But that’s another story...
In order to preserve Blackmore’s final run of Mk III concerts for posterity, Purple’s managers had brought the Rolling Stones mobile recording studio over to mainland Europe It was a difficult time for the band which would seem to indicate that Purple’s Graz performance was a duffer. A dull, flaccid affair with the band going through the motions and a sense of total disconnect between the five members. Wrong of all counts. Graz 1975 is absolutely electrifying. Indeed, it has long been regarded as the holy grail of concert recordings among Mk III connoisseurs. A performance that has never been available in its entirety until now.
As soon as you feast your ears on opening track “Burn” (surely the best version of this song, ever) you know you’re in for a wild ride. And so it proves. Blackmore plays with controlled brutality – if he’s pissed off, it doesn’t show; if he’s angry, it most certainly does. The vocal interplay between Coverdale and Hughes has never sounded so good. And, of course, stalwarts Lord and Paice give it a good kicking – and then some. The tracklisting, naturally, is weighted heavily in favour of Mk III recordings, with just two songs from Purple’s previous incarnation with Ian Gillan on vocals and Roger Glover on bass: the iconic “Smoke On The Water” and the almost-as-iconic “Space Truckin’”. Still, it’s true to say that, from beginning to end, Graz 1975 showcases Purple Mk III at the absolute top – and also, ironically, at the end – of their game.
As Neue Zeit quite rightly reported in April ’75: ‘Deep Purple gaben sich wirklich Mühe ihr „Abschiedskonzert“ zu einem grandiosen Erlebnis zu steigern [Deep Purple really did make an effort to increase their “farewell concert” to a terrific experience]’.
Top Customer Reviews
The say the least, the music on this cd is brilliant, with the powerhouse MKIII absolutely on fire playing their classic 75 playlist including songs from both MKIII albums and some older tracks.
You Fool No One and Space Truckin are playgrounds for Blackmore, Lord & Paice showcasing their absolute brilliance (although, hell, they cut the drum solo so that the show would fit on 1 cd...Shame!), while Mistreated is where Coverdale shines as a (still) very young rock/blues singer.
Not to forget the stunning bass performance of Hughes (while his vocals and "whooping" might not be to the everybody's taste...).
The classic songs are accompagned by the then newer tracks from Stormbringer (Stormbringer, The Gypsy, Lady Double Dealer) which didn't get played that often by MKIII or any MK at all for that matter.
This recording is a testimony of a band on the verge of breaking up, but not giving up. It's very angry and as most 70's dP live releases, very dangerous. It's a fearless band playing as there was no tomorrow (which...).
The other reason why this is an absolute must have, is that-as I stated before-it is the first time that that show appears officialy ( as oppose to the other releases in that same serie).
Now the question is: do you have to be a dP die-hard fan to buy this one?Read more ›
It should be noted that only 3 tracks are previously unreleased ('Gypsy','Lady Double Dealer' and 'Smoke....',the others were released on the 1996 release Mark III the final concerts,indeed 'Burn & Stormbringer are mentioned historically as being on 'Made In Europe way back' in '76
The sound quality is as good as your going to get for a release from this time period almost 40 years old and it comes with a average booklet nothing more.The release states its the complete concert,many fans believe its not as there's no 'Highway star' which was alledgedely performed as an encore(it certainly was at the PARIS gig).
Still its the music we're here for, the shorter tracks such as 'lady Double Dealer/Gypsy/Stormbringer etc are superb,the rendition of 'Burn' is,for me.the best ever recorded version,of course 'Smoke on the Water always brings a smile.The lengthier tracks obviously contain moments of class (and the occasional self indulgence) if your a purple fanatic,then you know what your getting,its not a release for the casual fan.
4 stars and worth everyone.
What I do not like is the fact this is a SINGLE CD (so the show is NOT complete...) & surely enough cutting Paice's drum solo out from "You Fool no One" was a deed not to be done ... Then, the sound is very good and the feeling of an untouched live performance (as it came out ... with lights and shades) is something to be appreciated ...
This album is very much a curates egg. Whilst it has more complete versions of the songs- and in the right order- it is marred by several things.
Firstly it is not the complete concert- no encores are included at all.
Secondly, "You Fool No-one" is edited. Admittedly it is a drum solo that has gone- sorry Mr Paice, but "The Mule" is enough for this particular Ian Paice fan.
Thirdly- Glenn Hughes. Sweet mother of pearl! Whilst I ordinary love his voice, here his ungodly caterwauling at every opportunity is unlistenable. He even can't shut the f%^k up when Messrs Paice and Lord are getting the intro to "Space Truckin'" vibing.
Lastly, the between song chat by DC and GH is woeful, and a great surprise.
In all, it is a better album than "Europe" but I do feel that the good people at Purple are selling us very short on this one. Must try harder chaps- you fool no-one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gillan is the voice of DP. Coverdale is a good singer... when he sings with Whitesnake. The only reason why I bought this CD is that it would be missing in the live collection. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Harry
Great concert. Blackmore on fire in his last gigs with Mark 3.Published 8 months ago by Mr. C. Jones
The sound is better, the performance fantastic, but the set is not complete!!!!!!Published 8 months ago by disGuido
A real treat, great to hear tracks like Gypsy which didn't make it first time round.Published 10 months ago by Ludwig B