1984 and all that

sept84aThe news that a DVD release of one of the Australian shows from the early days of the reunion is being worked on has got people chatting. It all seems a very long time ago now, but DTB readers may recall the excitement of those first reports (written on paper and posted airmail!) from the very start of the Perfect Strangers World Tour in late 1984.  The feeling remains that the band decided to kick off down-under so if it all went horribly wrong, they would have plenty of opportunity to sort things out before moving over to the critical North American markets.  Despite a few mis-cues and the like (plus Ian Gillan losing his clothes and some riots outside a show – the two events not connected!) it all panned out pretty well. The shows began there in late November, moved across to New Zealand in December, and then back to Australia. It was all fairly quickly arranged, and (amazing in this day and age) tickets only went on sale about a month before the shows.  The biggest deal were probably the three nights back to back at Sydney’s Entertainment Centre from the 12-14th.  It was one of these which was filmed, and footage later popped up on some promo videos. Two of the shows did appear on audio on deluxe vinyl bootlegs not long after (one of which even went with the title Warm Up In Australia!). Video exists from all three shows, at least two of which look official, and may have been part of the MTV plan to document the reunion, which we assume provides the raw material for this upcoming DVD. UPDATE : The DVD is actually from a show at Melbourne according to the label. The band did three shows there as well (16, 17 and 18th Dec) but we don’t yet know which this is. Full details and track list on the site now at Perfect Strangers Live.
Contemporary reviews suggest that the first night was the best, with Lord on fine form and Gillan getting into his stride after a few teething troubles. What can you expect set wise? Well the show majored on Machine Head (with a couple of oldies) and over half the new album and went something like Highway Star / Nobody’s Home / Strange Kind Of Woman / Gypsy’s Kiss / Perfect Strangers / Under The Gun / Lazy / Child In Time / Knocking At Your Back Door / Difficult To Cure / Space Truckin’  / encores Black Night / Smoke On The Water.
Obviously in the intervening thirty years there has been a lot of water under the bridge and the reunion did sort of stutter once the initial album and world tour had happened but hopefully this release will remind us all of just what an exciting time 1984/5 was to be a Deep Purple fan. Images from deep-purple.net

Deep Purple Warm Up In Australia

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30 Responses to “1984 and all that”

  1. Tony B Says:

    I remember the Tommy Vance announcement and bugging Simon about joining the DPAS in 1984. I got a handwritten reply! (as above it’s amazing given what we do nowadays). It’s a good job DP reformed in 1984 – I needed something to cheer me up that year!

  2. eu ming lim Says:

    And on the third night in Melbourne, as I was reluctantly leaving, a magazine journalist came up to me and asked to ‘borrow’ my batteries from my camera, as is he had run out of batteries for his camera. He was going back stage for an interview with the band. He promised to send me some pics. I forgot all about this and when the photos arrived in the mail a few weeks later, it really was pleasant surprise. I still have the photos to this day!

  3. eu ming lim Says:

    As an overseas uni student, I went to all 3 Melbourne shows. As one of just three Asians in the audience, the doorman recognized me on the 3rd night, and said ‘you’re back again!’

  4. Russ Says:

    All 3 nights in Sydney were filmed. Also Providence in March ’85 and Alpine Valley summer ’85

  5. Marcello D'AgostinoMarcello Says:

    Some websites are saying that the DVD will be released in NTSC format (region free). Can anyone confirm that? Why not Pal format?

    • simon robinson Says:

      Most European DVD players now handle both, so it’s cheaper and easier to just do one master (several DP related DVDs have been issued like this before). I’ve never been sure what the quality implications are as NTSC used to be a poorer quality broadcasting standard, but I assume there is no difference from a DVD source.

    • Timothy Says:

      Simon is right regarding NTSC vs PAL format (the latter is a higher frame rate, so technically is higher resolution), it only becomes a problem when one standard is directly copied to another, you end up with juddering or smeary looking video – the early box sets of the ‘Avengers’ (with Emma Peel, of course) looked dreadful because of this. As long as the process boffins have optimised for the format, the quality SHOULD be identical… I think!

      • simon robinson Says:

        I think this explains the poor quality of the first California Jam DVD. Still looking for an affordable and good quality Avengers box myself as well. Well, the Emma Peel series would do. OK, the Touch Of Brimstone episode would probably suffice (Series 4, Ep 21).

      • Lee Says:

        Basically, NTSC is 525 lines/29.7 frames per second and PAL is 625 lines/25 frames per second, this means PAL has a higher resolution than NTSC and NTSC has smoother motion due to the higher frame rate. The way the colour is delivered in PAL is a modification of NTSC to stop colour Phase errors i.e. the smearing and bleeding referred to by Timothy. Most modern European DVD players transcode (convert) the NTSC encoded disc to PAL within the player so it plays at 625 lines/29.7 frames. The original Australian master tape should have been 625/25 PAL if it was filmed by a National broadcaster. However, if it was filmed by American MTV, they might have used 525/29.7 NTSC equipment. It’ll be interesting to see if the new Rainbow DVD will be NTSC, as the original Rockpalast recording would have definitely been PAL. But hey, as long as they both ROCK, who cares!

    • purpledaniel Says:

      Can you confirm if this is a Melbourne or Sydney gig? there is a lot of confusion regarding this.

  6. max Says:

    I still wonder why it usually takes a whole generation at least to release stuff like this, just lucky I’m still alive to purchase it.

  7. colin hadden Says:

    I was at Sydney the night “George from Liverpool” guested for a short time. My memory is it was a typical DP show – full on, lots of energy, great playing.

  8. Michael Says:

    I was at this show, it is the one where George Harrison joined them on stage right? Happened to be in Sydney at the right time I guess, since I live in Sweden. Awesome memories of both down-under and DP!

    • simon robinson Says:

      That was good timing. Mind you, we do know people in the UK who just “have” to check up on business in Europe when DP ‘happen’ to be on the road there!

  9. overthehill Says:

    Finally, (along with the Rainbow “Black Masquarade DVD) something to get excited about!

  10. Helmut Says:

    Only one of the three Sydeny shows was filmed professionally as far as I’m aware. Amateur videos were filmed from the audience for all three nights and in only one of them professional cameras can be seen (from December 14th). And yes from my point of view, too, the first one was the best show musically speaking, the second one was interesting because of George Harrison guesting and the third one … is still so good that I can’t wait to get that DVD. In the Australian shows you can feel an excitement in the band about the reunion that was quickly lost during the North American tour in early 1985. Ian Gillan said during the first show in Perth how they had been “planning to wear brown trousers” that night. Good times, very good times indeed! The show from Melbourne that was bootlegged on “Warm up in Australia” is my favourite “Perfect Strangers” show. Unbelievable solo from Ritchie during “Knocking at Your Backdoor” and the whole band absolutely on fire.

    • simon robinson Says:

      It does look according to experts as if there may have been a (perhaps static) video camera at the other shows, maybe just to capture some alternate angles to splice in. These might not have been visible from the stadium.
      The novelty did start to wear off in America and of course the crass decision not to play a couple of proper Uk shows was (and remains) one of the worst they ever made.

      • Paul Orchard Says:

        I sometimes think that I am the only person who was happy that they only played one UK show on the reunion tour. Imagine if you lived in Glasgow and the 1st show was in London. I was desperate to be at the first show so was really happy that it would be a festival date that we could all be at. I asked Jon Lord about this when I met him in Lichfield in 2009 as it is something that has always bugged me. He said exactly the same thing. It was a band decision so that all the UK fans could be there. Now what if it had been a beautiful summers day. Perhaps we wouldn’t be moaning about it so much. I got home at 7am caked in mud but gloriously happy. My 1st DP concert and I was at the 1st UK gig of the reunion.

  11. Dave Binnie Says:

    Sometimes seems like yesterday. My soon to be wife and I and a few Buds went to the Toronto show, and it was hard to hold back the lump in my throat. I never dreamed the MkII band would ever be together again. What a great time!

  12. killer Says:

    I saw the first and last night of the Sydney run (including George) and the Canberra gig. Some of them were blinding, some not so. The Canberra gig found Blackmore disinterested to the extent of playing any old rubbish with a Heinekin bottle “slide” for the Smoke On The Water lead break.
    Hopefully the show being issued on DVD finds Ritchie engaged with what he was doing….

    • simon robinson Says:

      which pretty much summed up that first reunion tour really, some blinding stuff, some I’d rather be somewhere else really follow-ons.

  13. Mike Says:


  14. Christophe COLUSSA Says:

    Cool. But I’m still sad because I hoped a DVD release from Live in Paris 1985 German TV

    • simon robinson Says:

      This Paris show has also been heavily bootlegged and it might have made sense to round them up along with Sydney and other stuff into a set of some sort (both nights at Paris were filmed).

  15. clive robey Says:

    The build up also included Tommy Vance on his Friday Rock Show making THE announcement. Astonishing tension in that program.

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