Spoilt for choice

August 4, 2016

“Dear Mr. Brackmore, we understand you will be releasing a CD of the recent Rainbow shows, and would love to pitch some cover designs to you. Please see our ideas attached…”

Rainbow 2016 bootlegs

In fact, this is a selection of bootleg CDs from the three shows churned out in just a month by labels in Japan  (hence my sad stereotyped opening few words.) They all seem to be different too.  Astonishing. Not seen anything quite this frantic since the early Purple reunion era, and even then it took them several months to get up to this sort of level. I think I like the one best second up on the right which uses the lighting to good effect, and also because that’s about the view we got!
Maybe best just to wait for the official one after all?

I don’t know who took the photo, but assume they would wish to remain incognito in any case…

 

 

Slupsk

August 1, 2016

Deep Purple Poland July 26th 2016

I’ve been pointed at a nice gallery of Deep Purple concert images from the recent (July 26th) outdoor amphitheatre style arena show in Slupsk, Poland, hosted on a local news website, GP24. In addition they have slammed up seven minutes or so of reasonably well hand-held footage from the opening few songs (none are complete), including a particularly filthy opening verse to Hard Lovin’ Woman courtesy potty mouth Ian Gillan! They played the final show of the European tour in Germany last night (31st).

Deep Purple Poland July 26th 2016

If you follow the link please be aware it is very advert heavy.  Each new photo brings forth a different commercial.  Thanks to Tim ‘O’Tei’ Summers.

The sites

July 22, 2016

Smoke On The Water

Back in Blighty, and time for the final report on the Montreux trip.
As we mentioned, one of the reasons for the visit was for myself and Stephen to try and nail locations associated with the Machine Head sessions.  We were fortunate in this to have the help of Jean Paul, who worked with Claude Nobs for over a decade, and was a good friend ever since they met at scouts as teenagers.
JP, as everyone knows him, performed any number of duties, and shared an office with Claude from the late 60s and was there during Deep Purple’s stay in late 1971. As such he helped book hotels, and was instrumental in the hunt for alternate recording sites after the Casino fire (having been one of the crew who helped shove the Stones Mobile to relative safety earlier). And if you know the Didi Zill shot of Roger getting his teeth into a tasty looking burger during the recording, then JP (who was a Michelin starred chef) cooked those as well!
We met with any number of interesting people and numerous current residents, even the owner of the building, and got lots of detail about their stay in in 1971.
It is clear that there is a lot of goodwill from all concerned to make sure the building is suitably signed in future, as well as making some kind of trail for the sites associated with the album sessions (and a map for visitors to download).  After I had given everyone a quick history lesson (they sprang this on me just 48 hours in advance), Roger Glover told his side of the story to the assembled guests, before the chap who handles the area’s residents association then explained how he saw this going ahead. It is tricky because they do not want to disturb the privacy of the residents, but they would like to have the history better known. There is a plan for a large plaque or interpretive panel of some sort, but getting permission is complex as it is a listed building.  This visit had to be kept private, but if all goes well it might be possible to arrange future official pre-booked visits open to all.
Originally both Ian Gillan and Ian Paice had wanted to come as well. IP as you might imagine is being very carefully looked after, his wife Jackie travelling with him, and on the day they decided he needed the extra rest after the show the night before. Don Airey did come along though (and was as much taken by JP’s beautiful vintage MG outside the foyer as anything else!).
After the formalities, everyone had a chance to explore the corridor and the Doctor who lives in the far end (which is partitioned off now and forms part of his study) kindly opened his flat so Roger and everyone could work out where the band were all set up.
After an hour or so, when people had begun to leave, we were able to tour the rest of the building (which is listed) and then spend a couple of hours in the company of Yvon, one of the apartment residents who had helped organise the visit, and interviewing JP informally to get his take on the events and answers to many of our questions.  I’ve done a few rock interviews in my time, but sat on benches under the trees on the Lake Geneva shoreline (!) beats them all.
We then spent some time trying to take photographs to match up with those from the time. The above photograph shows the corridor as it is now for example. It was always hard to grasp the size of the blaze, but the photo below gives us an idea; the red awning on the left is the current Casino.  When it went up, the flames at one stage reached to the top of the apartment block on the right, and it was feared it too might catch fire.

casino, Montreux, 2016

We did have one reporter and photographer attend, and some of their material has already appeared in the local press.  There is also a report online in the Geneva Tribune (in French), with more professional photographs (the link to Smoke live is not from this year’s show.)
One reason for all this was to push me on to wrap up work on the upcoming Machine Head book, and if you want to keep in touch on this then it would be wise to scoot over to the publisher’s website and sign up for the newsletter if you have not already done so.  They are hoping to get the book out before Christmas.
In the meantime a big thanks to Stephen Clare who made some of the initial contacts for us; to everyone in Montreux who helped get this together, and Roger Glover for agreeing to take part. It was nice also to meet up with Mike Wiklund again (for the first time since Jon’s memorable farewell show in Ipswich), he was in Montreux for his 99th Deep Purple concert!, and photographer Sue Burton, who like us had decided just to make the trip as it was something she felt she ought to try and do at least once as a Deep Purple fan.

Lastly, I like quirks of fate.  While the Casino burnt out and was demolished, apparently some of the fire crew did pull fixtures and fittings out.  Some of the chairs survived.  And are still being used today!  I was quite sceptical, fearing we were being wound up by our hosts, but underneath it still has the Casino address property label…  though quite why anyone would want to risk their lives for something like this is beyond me.

smoke on the water

Meet you in the foyer

July 18, 2016

Hotel foyers are the traditional place to meet up when you’re staying in one.  However, you never really expect to bump into Roger Glover, and if you do it wouldn’t normally be in the foyer of the Grand Hotel in Montreux…  nevertheless here we are.  It’s a long story and as you might expect there was a little more to this than mere chance, and we will file a full report in a couple of days when we’ve had time to take it all in.

Roger Glover and Simon Robinson in the Grand Hotel Montreux

To put the location in context, this room is where Ritchie disappeared to from time to time to record some of his guitar work on the album (the black bag marks the spot).

I notice sandals are clearly back in fashion too. I have been asked by the owner to explain that this building is not accessible at any time except to residents.

flight-case

 

 

Purple plays Zappa

July 17, 2016

Ian Gillan montreux

Chatting – in broken French and English – with the owner of a small Italian restaurant, who was asking if we were in town for Santana, we had to reply that it was Deep Purple which had brought us here. He suddenly and unexpectedly went all misty eyed, and quietly proclaimed that Montreux was their spiritual home.
He might just have a point.  And last night there was something more than a little special about Smoke On The Water roaring off the stage of the Stravinsky auditorium, literally a stone’s throw from the small roller skating rink it was first laid down in 45 years ago.
And with Frank Zappa’s lad on guitar as well.
We haven’t travelled abroad for a Deep Purple show in almost twenty years, but a combination of circumstances made us push the boat out to do this one. I’d missed the last two UK visits, so it had been a while in any case, and as another fan (hello Sue) said backstage “it’s something you just feel you should do once.”
The set is more or less as the rest of this European tour, and the first third really steamed along for me, with a particularly down and dirty version of Hard Lovin’ Man which I properly enjoyed, and an edgy Bloodsucker too. After this blitz of opening songs, Ian apologised to the sold out crowd. “I’m sorry, that’s all the jazz we know!”
The show lost focus and pace for me a little around Uncommon Man, not a track I felt worked properly live (I’d much rather have the album opener myself), and Hell To Pay still sounds somewhat forced as a song. Which just left Vincent Price as the third of the current album cuts to save the day, which it did.
Ian Gillan coped well and was back to his rambling and often lengthy song introductions which always amaze and amuse in equal measure, while the band overall were a lot looser than when I last saw them, with plenty of little moments of them having fun musically and doodling around which always mark the group out and make life interesting. Perhaps they were not worrying about curfews for once (they didn’t come on until around 10pm) so could please themselves.
Nice version of Lazy and after Don’s keyboard break the group took the set to a conclusion starting with Perfect Strangers, which was good to hear after the rather under-rehearsed version we got from Blackmore just a few weeks back, a tight and powerful Space Truckin’ and – a Frank Zappa instrumental, which took them a little while to get started (Dweezil and Steve sort of taught each other the riff for a couple of minutes, while a roadie wheeled the music on a stand for Don to follow). “A poignant moment for us” was all Ian Gillan had to say, and it was.  In my head was the recollection too that it was the fourth anniversary of Jon Lord’s death.
The encores of Hush and Black Night seemed to go on forever, with Ian Paice and Roger Glover slogging it out for ages, and while some of the trendier members of the audience had long since called it a day, the rest of the Montreux faithful would have been happy for it to go on even longer.
I think this is the first time I’ve been to a rock show with the whole thing relayed via two screens at the side of the stage, a slightly unsettling experience, and I assume the gig will be issued on DVD at some stage as part of what seems to be a full blwon industry which has grown up around the Jazz Festival judging from the large shop in the venue.
But overall it was just great to be back in front of that unique and mostly wonderful racket which is Deep Purple on stage, and we’re glad we made the effort. What our bank manager will say next week is less clear!
It’s 7.00am in the morning as I type this, and I’m not the only one who couldn’t sleep much – a bunch of lads are strolling down the lake front yelling the Smoke lyrics out at the top of their voices…  Looks like that restaurant owner was absolutely right, so we’re off up to the Grand Hote-e-el after breakfast.

Montreux Deep Purple early doors

July 16, 2016

Deep-Purple-door-notice

Tonight…

Montreux 50th anniversary

July 16, 2016

Deep Purple Montreux 2016

Gas Tank

July 11, 2016

Gas Tank, an often forgotten rock TV show from the early Eighties was hosted by Rick Wakeman and Tony Ashton (who if memory serves me replaced an early front-runner for the slot, Jon Lord!). It was aired by Channel 4 in the UK and at the time reception for this new channel round our way was terrible, so we didn’t see much of it, but there are lots of clips out on the web. It was probably the most grown-up rock TV show ever, as it was musicians talking to musicians. Hardly a difficult concept, yet there has been nothing like in in the 30 years since! I mention it because Peter Cross tells me it is getting DVD release officially for the first time via Gonzo Media. What we do not know is if Ian Paice’s spot is part of the release; he was interviewed and then jammed with Rick and the house band, but maybe more details will emerge soon. It’s out in September on 2DVD and 3CD.  There is also a limited box edition signed by Rick Wakeman, with an exclusive t-shirt, show pass and interview book, available via Rick’s own website.

Paice-Wakeman-GasTank

Ian and Rick on Gastank

Make do and mend

July 4, 2016

… the brain cells must still be functioning a bit then, here’s the same jacket Ritchie was wearing at the Loreley show the other week.

Ritchie+Blackmore+Rock+Profile+-+Volume+Two

Up close

July 4, 2016

Given the size of the crowds, few people got clear shots of the Rainbow gigs, and I didn’t even bother trying at the NEC. But Simon Bower has sent a couple of great photos from the first German show (and permission to post) which are really nice and clear, enabling those who like to do so a chance to study the gear set up.  It is so sharp that on the original you can even read the set-list, which included Lazy by the way, not played.  I’m sure I recognise Ritchie’s leather jacket from back in Purple reunion days…

Ritchie Blackmore Rainbow German 2016 Simon Bower

Ritchie Blackmore Rainbow German 2016 Simon Bower

 


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