on 8 November 2002
When this was originally released I was only ten, and when a copy appeared in my house, shortly after I was hooked.
And has it stood the test of time? You bet.
This is the definitive live album. No overdubs, just blistering performances all round. Ian Gillan later complained that his own performance was poor but to these ears this is as good as it gets.
Highway Star is a killer set opener featuring brilliant soloing from both Lord and Blackmore. Child In Time follows on, mesmerising, from the subtle keyboard introduction through Gillan's screams and a frantic Madame Butterfly influenced Blackmore guitar fest, right back full circle to the start. Gillan screams even louder second time around leaving the listener exhausted as the track explodes and dies at the end.
Just when you thought the music couldn't get any more involving up pops, probably, the best version of Smoke On The Water captured on album. The band is so tight everything seems perfect. Into the Mule with a typically superb drum solo from Ian Paice. Listening to the Mule lulls the listener in to a relaxed state before the band hit the stratosphere with superb interplay and sonics. Strange Kinda Woman just bounces along and the interplay between vocal and guitar just make you grin, mainly for the sheer tongue-in-cheek attitude. A few screams from Gillan and onwards we go into Lazy, a stunning piece of R'n'B (the real stuff). Lord kicks off with some organ torturing, a bit of jazz and off with the lick. The band is in full flow by now with superb soloing and tightness unsurpassed. Space Truckin' is the set closer complete with more ethereal soling from Lord and Blackmore, incorporating sections from Fools and Mandrake Root. The encores added to this anniversary remaster don't disappoint either. Frenetic versions of Black Night and Speed King just confirm that this was a band at the peak of their powers. A reworking of Lucille finishes it all off and the band are clearly knackered from delivering such a fast paced show. This is still the best live album some 29 years on and I still play it now. There is a triple CD collection with most of the performances from the associated Japanese tour, in some ways to a fanatic that's even better. But this is the original release revamped and timeless. A must.
on 6 August 2007
"Made in Japan" is one of the best live classic rock albums. This boxed set includes the 3 concerts played on the 1972 Japan tour from which the tracks on "Made in Japan" were selected. The set lists for each concert are very similar so there is a lot of triplication here. "Made in Japan" took the best versions of the songs so this collection is only for hard core fans or sad people like me who want to hear different versions of their favourite songs. I particularly enjoyed hearing Ritchie fluffing the intro to "Smoke on the water" on one of the versions. Was it deliberate? The package comes with a very nice booklet so collectors will not be disappointed.
on 21 December 2005
Live albums were not in rerum natura, as they say. DP took their first tour in Japan seriously, and brought the Rolling Stones mobile with them to record it. No stranger to live recordings (or being bootlegged!) the Mk II line-up was taped on all 3 dates at Osaka and Tokyo. The result was a staggering success, and captured the band's stage show at it's electrifying best. Blistering harmony & unison interplay between Blackmore and Lord, a rhythm section containing the world's best rock drummer in Ian Paice and the hugely underrated Roger Glover on bass was capped off by a storming performance of Ian Gillan's silver throated vocal. Having just recorded "Machine Head" the bulk of the set comes from that LP - but "Child in Time" (from In Rock) is an astonishing testament to how good DP were at the time. The best live rock band on the planet, by some considerable margin. I'm sure there will be a few who will argue that Led Zeppelin had that accolade, but some of their live performances were long-winded and unrehearsed. DP's instrumentals were well crafted, and had some huge cues. If you listen to any of their live stuff in any depth you'll see what I mean. The opener, Highway Star, introduces you to the band and is followed by Child in Time. Nuff said. Smoke on the Water is considered to be the band's most memorable riff by the public (check out any music shop on a Saturday afternoon!) and The Mule is a Paice solo spot. Strange kind of Woman is the standout track for me - Blackmore and Gillan (so often at odds with each other)united on stage with the question and answer phrasing and posturing. Lazy is Jon Lord's tour de force. The LP is finished off with a rousing 20 minutes of "Space Truckin' - a bit of everything in this, really, and a very powerful set closer. I listened to this as a 13 year-old when it was released, and my opinion has not diminished over 30 years. Best Live Album - Ever. Bar none. The later releases contain some of the encores "Lucille" "Back Night" and "Speed King" but the core 7 tracks tell you who this band are.
on 3 June 2014
This is not about the music, which is faultless! This review is solely in reference to this newly released vinyl box.
First off...it's actually 7.5 LP's, due to the fact 3 sides are rather uninspiring etched.
Secondly the atrocious Somoke On the Water misprint is unforgivable. Someone either decided, after realizing their mistake; that no-one would be bothered. It's pretty safe to say anyone buying this is not going to be just a casual Purple fan and like me are going to be p##sed off. Especially after laying out the hefty sum required to acquire this in the first place!
The second option is they noticed their mistake and just couldn't care less.
The final option is no-one noticed at all, which says a lot about the quality of the whole pressing....
Incidentally a number of pressings have Osaka misspelt "Oaska" on the labels (but not the one I received)
I also noticed that the "outer box/" states this was made in the Czech Republic, but the individual album covers state "Made in the EU". But these were actually pressed by GZ Media in the Czech Republic as well.
The third thing I discovered was the appalling quality of the vinyl. Full of blemishes, streaks. You've heard the phrase "Virgin Vinyl"? Well that doesn't apply here. This is poor, low quality wax! Considering the main selling angle here is "Audiophile", this is also unforgivable. Not even poly-lined inners.
Quite a few noticeable clicks and other unwanted audible defects, but strangely no actual visible scratches, so beware.
Even the booklet is as dull as dishwater, nothing informative or interesting, one flick through it's bland pages was enough.
I sent it back without hesitation, and will avoid "Back To Black" releases in the future. Just another greedy company on the 180gram Super-Duper Audiophile Vinyl band wagon.
The remastering is also disappointing and no better than earlier pressings, perhaps even inferior.
The only point of merit is the sturdy good quality outer box...but given the contents, it's small consolation.
So in conclusion....Don't waste your money, this is just a lazy, poorly produced box set, which I so wanted, and now feel is just another missed opportunity.
Sorry, but this is an insult to Jon Lords' memory...Don't buy it...you'll try and be happy with it, and see past the errors/issues, but you'll never cherish it as you should!
on 3 June 2014
The compressed sound of this '1972' mix has sucked all the life out of one of the great recorded live rock performances. Nuances such as the 'helicopter gunship' sound of Ritchie Blackmore's guitar during the intro of 'Highway Star' and the climatic howl of feedback at the conclusion of 'Smoke on the Water' have all but disappeared. What is left is a neutered performance tailored for the ears of the iTunes generation. Shallow Purple sounds like a shade of Farrow & Ball paint which is just as well as listening to this CD is about as exciting as watching paint dry.
on 2 October 2005
A friend showed me this album a while ago and I was very impressed then, though we were playing it so loud I didn't get to hear it properly. So I bought and every time I listen to it I am simply stunned. There is not one bad track on this album, it's as simple as that. The rendition of "Lazy" is nothing short of incredible, though you may want to turn the cacophonous intro down a little to save your eardrums.
One of the great things about this album is the sound quality. Often when you listen to a live track, it can sound gritty or distant. Every song on this sounds brilliant, with an incredible energy to match. The musicianship is nothing short of outstanding - every member sounds on top form (though according to the inside cover, which contains the story of made in Japan and some good photos of the band, Ian Gillan wasn't happy with some of his performances after having just got over bronchitis). Deep Purple show how well they can rock while mucking about like noone else can (see "Lazy" for prime examples of this).
There's two problems with this album, however. Firstly, when you next listen to one of Deep Purple's studio albums, it will sound dull. That's just how good this album is. Secondly, you shouldn't play either disc in your car because you WILL speed.
on 16 July 2008
It's official the Devil does have the best music. Because Deep Purple must have sold their souls to sound this good, you don't believe me? Then just listen to Made in Japan. No five human beings ever sounded like this and remember this is live, no overdubs, no dropping in of solos, no sampling, backing tapes or additional musicians. Just five guys playing the best Hard Rock you will ever hear, live, no retakes it's as it happened.
Plenty of bands have come and gone and plenty have tried to take the title but no one ever will. Not because they are less talented nor because they are not trying, but simply because you cannot surpass perfection.
There are some negative comments about the encores, but they are exactly that, encores, after giving everything they could give the band give just a little more. What is even more remarkable is that Deep Purple often
performed for going on two hours. None of this 45mins and then 'thank you and goodnight', like an awful lot of bands get away with now. They had also just arrived in Japan, so were jet lagged and Ian Gillan was still
recovering from a sore throat! But all of that just makes the performance on this album all the more incredible.
Oh and lest we forget it contains the best adlib ever: 'Can we have everything louder than everything else!' How fitting for a band that once held the record for being the loudest in the world.
But it is not just shear volume without shade, colour or subtlety, like an awful lot of the bands that followed. Here you have technically proficient, highly talented individuals who learned their craft the hard way and came together to create something far greater than its already significant parts.
This really is as good as it gets, so sit back, enjoy and marvel at what members of the human race are capable of in occasional, brief and yet exceptionally sublime moments in time.
There's a word that jumps to mind as you are assaulted by the first minute of "Highway Star" on Disc 1 - and that word is 'awesome'. It's a corny statement I know when it comes to hairy-assed reprobate Rock bands at the best of times. But like Little Feat, Thin Lizzy and The Allman Brothers - Deep Purple were always a muted thing in the studio. But come the live event - the Purps Mark II were a truly astounding thing to behold - a beast unleashed. And this fabulous 2014 Deluxe Edition 2CD sonic upgrade of one the great live albums of all time is only going to make matters worse for our aged and acing head-banging necks. I swear - this thing comes at you like a High Sea's Pirate who hasn't had rum or a woman for a month and has just landed at Portsmouth with a day pass from Black Beard - it's ready to rock and you'd better step aside pal...
UK released May 2014 - this new version of "Made In Japan" comes in a VINYL variant, a 2CD issue and a DELUXE 4-disc Box Set. This review is for the 2CD issue on Universal/Purple 3769640 (Barcode 0602537696406) and it breaks down as follows:
Disc 1 (Purple 3769641) - 76:08 minutes:
1. Highway Star
2. Child In Time
3. Smoke On The Water [Side 2]
4. The Mule
5. Strange Kind Of Woman [Side 3]
7. Space Truckin' [Side 4]
Tracks 1 to 7 are the double-live album "Made In Japan" - released December 1972 in the UK on Purple Records TPSP 351 and April 1973 in the USA on Warner Brothers 2WS 2701. Tracks 1, 2, 5 and 7 were recorded in Osaka on 16 August 1972, 3 was on 15 August 1972 with 4 and 6 done on 17 August 1972.
Disc 2 (Purple 3769642) - 46:50 minutes:
1. Black Night
2. Speed King (both 15 August 1972)
3. Black Night
4. Lucille (both 16 August 1972)
5. Black Night
6. Speed King (both 17 August 1972)
I can remember buying my copy at Christmas in December 1972 enticed by that great sleeve and the 'specially priced at £3.10 for a double' sticker (single albums were this price at the time). They even claimed in trade press adverts that it was 'the best live recording ever made' - and when I got it home and plopped into on trusty Garrard SP25 - they weren't joking. So what's different?
The 1998 EMI 2CD reissue featured a PETER MEW remaster from original tapes (done at Abbey Road) with CD2 giving us only 3 of the "Encore" tracks (4, 5 and 6 on Disc 2 above). It had different artwork and a pretty good 16-page booklet with excellent liner notes from SIMON ROBINSON. MALCOLM DOME takes over the reign for the liner notes on this new version, the original gold artwork of the LP is reinstated on the fold-out card digipak and the inner gatefold of the digipak apes the original vinyl issue from all those years ago (all much to the delight of fans). There's even 3 new tracks added onto CD2 completing the Encores and the new 16-page booklet has contributions from Slash of Guns 'N Roses, photos from the shows and even tape boxes pictured. But the big news is a double-whammy of new remasters- KEVIN SHIRLEY has handled the album on CD1 while MARTIN PULLAN has done the Encores on CD 2 - and the wallop off these is unbelievable.
What gets you straight away is the separation of the instruments - especially JON LORD on Organ and the Rhythm Section of ROGER GLOVER and IAN PAICE on Bass and Drums respectively. The incendiary guitar pyrotechnics of RITCHIE BLACKMORE and the sheer Classic Rock vocal power of IAN GILLAN remain intact - but it's the others you now hear when for years they were at the back of the mix. The opener "Highway Star" (from "Machine Head") is a stunner. Before you only heard Blackmore's riffage and slides - now the bass, drums and organ are 'there' suddenly too - and man was this band tight - and that organ solo is still a thing of wonder. The lengthy "Child In Time" is hissy in places but it still packs a punch that shows the band at the height of their powers. What can you say about the opening riffs of "Smoke On The Water" - probably the most famous power chords ever played. As the crowd claps and Ian Paice's high-hats and bass drum starts to kick in - now you can really `hear' it.
Always an underappreciate "Fireball" gem - "The Mule" allows both Lord and the boys in the back full reign once the guitars die down - great stuff. Classic Rock doesn't get more butt swaggering than the brilliant "Strange Kind Of Woman" (a single only release in the UK) - and even at nearly ten-minutes it doesn't overstay its welcome. I love the amps buzzing at the beginning of "Lazy" and that ear-splitting Organ solo where you think he's going to beat that instrument into submission no matter what ("Louie Louie") - followed by his brilliant clap-along intro to the song (it sounds so good too). You have to say something at this stage about Blackmore's guitar playing - utterly brilliant - and like Beck - he seemed able to take on any style. At nearly twenty minutes the Side 4 finisher can be a bit much to take but audio-wise - it's much more powerful - the drums and vocals especially (Gillan whipping the crowd into a "come on!" frenzy).
Brilliant - definitive - rocking like Gibraltar - "Made In Japan" has always had a special place in my heart and it's back to stay...
PS: this review is dedicated with affection to MICK KEATING - a Dublin friend of mine who adored this record. He passed away in the Eighties and is buried in the same graveyard as another hero of ours - Phil Lynott.
on 23 May 2014
Just to be clear, this is a review of the 9 LP deluxe box set. One aspect of it at least...
I’ve been posting this around various places but no-one seems interested (least of all the Universal Music Group…). I ordered the 9LP deluxe box set of this - All three gigs plus encores for each gig, each pressed on vinyl as three LP/ five-sided (the sixth side contains no music) sets, each packaged in a gatefold sleeve and contained within an outer box plus book.
It arrived on Monday (thank you Amazon!) and to my astonishment the track listing on the back of each of the three gatefold sleeves, in big, bold type states track two, side one as ‘Somoke On The Water’…
Now, if that were me responsible for the packaging/printing of this expensive item I would have checked and double checked and then checked again that the spelling of this, possibly the most famous rock song on the planet, was correct before sending this for production and again before releasing it to the public…
‘Somoke’ isn’t even a word (at least not one in the English language) so they can’t even blame it on a spell-check error.
Needess to say Universal have declined to comment... This really does taint what is an expensive, 'luxury' item. I would have expected better than this.
What a blunder…!
This review is purely for warning purposes. The album is, of course, one of the greatest live rock records ever.
This edition has been advertised in a number of places -inlcuding amazon - as being a 5.1 surround mix. Like the majority of the the Pure Audio Blu RayAudio series, it is NOT in 5.1, just stereo.
This is highly disappointing. Pure Audio have stated that they will issue albums in 5.1 mix where possible, yet they seem to consistently fail to do so. As two other Purple albums have been released on DVD in 4.0 (original quad) mixes, one of them with 3 bonus 5.1 tracks ('Machine Head'), there is no reason why this couldn't have been mixed for 5.1.
Interestingly, the Pure Audio edition of 'Never Mind the Bollocks, here's the Sex Pistols' recorded in 1976/77 is also not in 5.1.
This is simply not good enough. From the inception of hi def audio formats (some 12 years ago at least) - DVDA, DVD, Dualdisc and SACD, 5.1 mixes have been pretty much standard. Given that BRA is supposedly the highest definition audio format yet, it seems incumbent upon this label that they issue albums in 5.1. A stereo layer could be included, since disc space is not an issue here.
But what I really object to is these discs being advertised before release as 5.1. When I've played the stereo mixes in full, I'll review them here - I'm sure they'll sound great and will satisfy stero purists - but when you're buying an album for the third, fourth, fifth time, it would be nice to get a totally new hi-def take on the music.
It's little wonder hi-def formats 'fail' according to the music press - when you're buying an album for the third, fourth, fifth time, a fresh take on the music (best provided by a surround mix) is a big draw for fans. Remember Warner DVD-Audio discs from 12-14 years ago? Even if your player could only access the dolby digital layer, you often got alternative takes with different lyrics -such as on the Alice Cooper discs - or even different takes on the music, as on The Doors album issued in that format.
Going forward, I'm not going to buy any BRA of albums recorded after the late sixties that don't render the music in surround.