Made In Japan • 2014 reviews
I’ve opened a separate page for comments and I’m sure people will have a lot to say. It looks at if the remastered 2 CD blunders; the encores are reversed stereo from the rest of the show, but otherwise nothing major beyond a dull booklet and pictures from the wrong period altogether. Mind you we are all wondering what this rare track Somoke On The Water is all about! In all it seems to be getting a mixed reaction from the hard core:
I finally received my Made in Japan 2014 box (the 4xCD + 1x DVD set). I was pleasantly surprised to see the box is actually LP size – in the press photos it looked a lot smaller (yes, it was! Ed). As mentioned by some other people before, it looks like the track list on the back had mistakes as a sticker has been put over it (and the one on my box is wonky as well). Apart from this, the box looks well made.
More important, what’s inside? A large size hardback book with the familiar looking cover photo set against a black background; a replica 45 single that’s so thick it could have been 2 copies; a replica 72 Japan tour programme and a family tree. And – of course – 4 CDs and 1 DV held in the front and back covers of the book. Right, let’s get the (many) moans out of the way first.
1- price. Regardless of the content, these box sets are getting more and more expensive all the time. Why? Remember, in 1972 this particular LP cost $3000 to produce, which was even cheap at that time. Most fans have already bought this recording a few times before so why milk so much more cash out of us again? Sure, some money has been spent on remixing and production but I doubt that most of the profits will go to the actual artists we hear playing on these recordings so whose pockets are being filled here??
2 – the book. In short, it’s dire. What should have been the ‘added value’ to this box set is a huge disappointment – 60 pages of wasted space! Apart from the general design, it’s the lack of relevant content that’s the big let-down. Loads of great photos exist. Where are they? Where are the contemporary reviews and adverts? The tickets? A decent historical essay? No idea how much money Malcolm Dome got for his ‘sleeve notes’ but it’s been a waste of money. The written text could have fitted on a couple of pages, instead it’s spread out over 60?
What about the actual photo content then? We get a random section, some from the Rainbow 1973 (used twice!), some from Mk 3 days , some very average quality indeed. Has any thought gone into this? Again, what a wasted opportunity. If you charge this sort of money for a box set at least license some decent – and relevant – photos!
This line-up has always been referred to as Blackmore/ Gillan/ Glover /Lord /Paice. It looks like history is being re-written by giving Gillan top position now! The discography in the back looks far from complete as well. So, how is this all possible? A quick look at the ‘credits’ reveals all; none of the familiar names of those who used to have input in previous reissues are mentioned, and who know and care about the past of this band.
3 – the ‘bonus’ content. The Family tree is irrelevant to this release and out of date. Where is a replica tour poster or the tour tickets?
4 – the DVD. How often can you keep recycling the same old clips in yet another documentary? The documentary is called ‘the rise of..’ but it deals more with ‘the demise of..’ Of course what fans were eagerly looking forward to was the Tokyo 8mm film footage. There’s about 16 minutes of this in the documentary but with people talking over much of it, not exactly the format we would have liked. Couldn’t the footage have been included on the DVD separately?
5 – The music. Right, anything positive left to say you might ask? Well, yes! Guess what? The audio content spread out over 4 CDs is absolutely fantastic! We all know about the actual performances thanks to the 1993 3-CD set which gave us most of the shows for the very first time (I’m ignoring the audience bootleg tapes from all the 3 shows here). At the time I was one of those who didn’t think the actual mix was as convincing as the original 1972 mix done by Glover and Paice, but was pleased to at least have the full shows (and a decent informative booklet). The Martin Pullan mixes are very good indeed and will make the 1993 set audio-wise pretty much redundant. Mind you, when comparing Highway Star from various mixes I noticed the new mix gaining but also losing some pre song talk – I’ve not compared the rest yet.
Are Pullan’s mixes better than the 1972 ones? I dare to say ‘no’ but they come very close. I compared all 3 mixes and somehow the 1972 mix sounds a bit more compact and warmer to these ears – but maybe it’s just because I’ve heard that mix for 40+ years now. Apparently a Kevin Shirley remix of the original LP is on the ‘Deluxe’ 2 CD set. I’ve not heard it yet and given how he butchered ‘Come Taste The Band’ a few years ago I’m in no great rush to hear it either.
So, on balance, was this box set worth the money? There was a real opportunity here to produce the ultimate ’72 Japan Tour Box’ and that opportunity has been blown. Some people say ‘it’s all about the music’. Well, given today’s digital age, if that were the case I could have settled for a simple digi-download instead. On reflection, maybe that the way to go for those of you who are still thinking about parting with your hard earned money. Tonny Steenhagen (Tonny runs his own online DP ticket gallery, if you haven’t been before it’s worth a visit).
Got given the remastered six LP Deep Purple Made In Japan boxset – something you just have to have! My mother bought me the original when it came out, cut price in Woolworths. The only disappointing thing is the booklet – bad photos. Why didn’t they get a load of the Fin Costello photos from the day? And do you really want to know what Joey Tempest, David Fricke, Alex Skolnick, Phil Demmel and Adrian Vandenberg think ? Let me help you, “NO!” It also has boring sleeve notes by Malcolm Dome who never even saw them with the original Mark II line up, why Peter Makowski wasn’t asked to do them is beyond me. But otherwise it is still a fantastic set of vinyl… Ross Halfin (via his website)
For starters, it looks great, with the front and back of the CD packaging closely copying the original LP artwork. It’s damn near “strokeable”. It would seem the mystery of Mr Kevin Shirley’s involvement is finally solved. On this 2CD version the original album tracks have been mixed and mastered by Kevin Shirley with the “encores” CD, all six tracks, having been handled by Martin Pullan. Or so it is stated in the credits. In the booklet however it says Martin Pullan “was given the task of mixing each of these three performances for this edition of the album”. If you can’t convince the fans, confuse them?
The booklet is a bit of a let-down, with at least one picture of Blackmore that I suspect is from the Mark III days. The penultimate 2 pages of the booklet show a great shot of the band on stage, sadly with what looks like photoshopped lightrays coming out of Gillan’s microphone. Pretty awful.
The sleeve notes by Malcolm Dome could be worse but are nowhere near as interesting of well-written as Simon Robinson’s for a whole string of Deep Purple reissues. There’s a bit about the (British) origins of the stageshots used on the original album which is okay. All the more mind-boggling that there’s no information about the sources of the photos now used in the booklet. Might that be because these have even less to do with Deep Purple in Japan in 1972?
Starting the first disc we are immediately on familiar ground with Lord’s opening chords and Paice setting things in motion. As with the 1998 remaster, the tracks are mixed so as to give the impression of a continuous gig which actually works as a hindrance, applause for Highway Star drowning out the delicate opening chords of Child in Time. In fact the first notes of CiT sound at the end of track 1. Very sloppy indeed. The wonderfully hesitant, spoken introduction to Smoke on the Water is put at the end of track 2 rather than at the beginning of track 3. Same goes for the “everything louder than everything else” dialogue at the start of The Mule; this is tacked onto the end of track 3. Worse is to come; as with the 1998 remaster that ecstatic shout “Ian Paice, on the drums, yes!!!” appears to have hit the mixing room floor once again. Luckily I’ve held on to the mid ‘80s CD transfer which does retain this. Of course Lazy is introduced at the end of track 5 rather than at the beginning of track 6. At least it’s done wrong consistently this time around. During Lord’s organ solo on Space Truckin’ I became aware of a slight, tapping noise that took me a few moments to indentify as Gillan playing the congas. Nice to be able to hear this at last.
Having the 6 encores lumped together on one CD is less of a nuisance than I expected. At least it makes it easy to compare. The Tokyo Black Night is still the best by far.
After purchasing the vinyl, the orginal CD transfer, the Live in Japan 3CD set and the double CD remaster this is the 5th time I’ve forked out for MIJ, which is all very well because the music presented on it is so terrific that nothing can really spoil it. However, the lack of quality control and attention to detail is astounding. I find it incomprehensibe that record companies do not make better use of the knowledge of and love for all things Purple that resides in websites like the DPAS’s.
All in all I cannot help feeling disappointed. Bernard Maasdijk
Got the Wheelbarrow Edition last Friday, May 16 and yes, it is rather disappointing. It’s nice to have a replica of the tour book and press release but, well that’s it. The book is not what one would expect. Lay-out and design are not in line with the album to say the least and it is not informative at all. Personally I am not interested in reading quotes from other musicians giving their thoughts on the album. What I am looking for is Wait for the Ricochet-like info. There is some info on the remastering process but it lacks detail. Pictures are few and in some places not from the Made in Japan days.
Having said that what really counts is the music of course. And I must say it sounds great! Drums jump from the speakers and there’s overall very much detail and clarity. Listening is from the audience position by the way. All the in between song chatter is there which adds to the atmosphere. It’s a great listen, 40 years after hearing it for the first time I now hear things I never heard before. One important thing to add is that the HD download consists of 4 files. The first file is approx. 680Mb with all nights in MP3 format. The other files are ZIP files of approx. 1.5Gb. Each file contains the full concert of that night including the encores in WAV format. This of course is what we all have been hoping for and at least they got it right with this download option.
So is this box worth ones money? No, I don’t think so. Did I buy it? Yes, I couldn’t resist. If you can get your hands on the download version and DVD in any other way the box has almost no added value. The DVD (great to see the 8mm footage) should be relatively easy to get as it was broadcast on public television, at least here in The Netherlands. Guess this may be the case in other countries as well. That’s it for first impressions, now it’s back to the shop for the Pure Audio version and later on for the Led Zeppelin remasters which look stunning…. Rob Wolleswinkel
The vinyl box set arrived yesterday and, based on a limited spin, sounds fantastic. The article in the book about the remxing was very interesting. However, I do wonder if the double spread picture of Jon Lord near the end of the book is from a later incarnation of DP (or even Whitesnake) given the stacks of keyboards visible. Should I be as grumpy as I am about this? Bill Hicks.
Thanks also to John Tucker.