Posts Tagged ‘smoke on the water’

In Concert 2017

November 17, 2017

deeppurple

Well that was a fairly good, grownup, “elder statesmen of rock” type performance. [Update – a couple of lucky folk who were there have posted stories in the comments section below]. I do wonder if people tuning in who didn’t know the band thought they’d found a new prog rock outfit at times, and the BBC audio (as least on the red button) was pretty flat and unbalanced which dulled the edge, but the filming was more complex than I expected; the last In Concert I watched (Blondie) was a few years back and most of the cameras were static. This was much more professional. Very strange to actually be watching live as it happens Deep Purple on a UK TV too, I struggle to recall the last time, possibly 1968 when they did the David Frost Show? Lovely looking venue too, all art deco, really worked well with the lighting.
That parpy ELP sound in Uncommon Man still drives me to distraction and All I Got Is You off the new album  is no substitute for Hip Boots, but other than that it was good to have an hour set with so much reunion material (and kicking off with Time For Bedlam from Infinite), and a small but dedicated audience which understood and appreciated it all. The two strongest tracks off Infinite sounded good and it’ll be great to hear these in a concert venue (I guess this show acts as a sort of amuse bouche for the UK tour.) A few bum notes here and there, but mostly they came across pretty well. I liked the way Steve got grungier as the set wore on too. Indeed it was all zipping along and I was quite surprised when they suddenly kicked in to Smoke and realised it was coming to an end! [Update, I checked and it was scheduled for two hours, even the band were confused.] The encore of Hush probably over-ran the radio slot, but otherwise the timing was spot on.  Ian Gillan looked a bit nervy at times – hardly surprising if so –  but his new lyric stand was a smart addition and kept him up to speed. Other rock singers have been doing this lately and wonder if it might become a permanent option?
As far as we can work these things out the show will be viewable now via the BBC iPlayer app for 30 days. Quite why the BBC don’t show these on BBC4 TV in HD is beyond me, seeing as how most nights it’s all repeats!

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Warning, contains Georgia!

September 22, 2017

Here’s the Glenn Hughes Purple tribute set from one of the Australian shows on the current your there (Sydney). We’ve nicked it from one of those set list sites but it does tally with other reports. A taster for the shows was aired on local TV and can be seen online here:

Not a bad set either; he’s done a few of these during various tours over the years but a couple I don’t recall. Digital audio of some shows also doing the rounds if you know where to go. Thanks to Mike Richards and Tim Summers.
Can’t help wishing Ritchie could take a pay cut and join in but Jeff Kollman has worked with Glenn on these songs before and does a good job. And with the fuzzy picture quality and long hair, it could almost be the 70s again at times!

GlennDownUnder17

office cock up 45 years ago?

February 13, 2017

I know it’s Monday morning, but can we try and solve a conundrum?  Put simply, has anyone out there got a genuine U.S. Warner Brothers white label promotional copy of Machine Head?  Working on the discography for the upcoming book on the album and talking to collectors like Pericle in Italy, nobody seems to have seen one.  We know W.Bros did white labels for all the other Deep Purple albums in the Seventies up to Burn (for the last two they used regular Burbank Tree labels and overprinted the promo text.). These have a white label with the regular text details in black and the wording “Promotional use Only”.

MHead-US-promo-sticker.jpg

Often the front sleeve also has a large rectangular sticker across with the track information and times (to make life easier for DJs). So unless someone has a copy like this for Machine Head, then it does raise the possibility that somebody just forgot to order up a run in time, which is what Pericle, who has been on the lookout for a copy for ages, thinks might explain the mystery. As he says, the only U.S. promo copies of Machine Head which turn up are the regular U.S. green label pressing but with a largish pink and black circular promo sticker on the back sleeve.  We do run a risk that by mentioning it here, if a few copies do exist they will suddenly climb in value, but Pericle reckons it’s a risk worth taking to get to the bottom of the mystery!

Below is a white label Warners did for Concerto when they took the release over. The Machine Head one would be similar. And possibly ever rarer!

Concerto white label.jpg

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.

Nouvelle Review

December 4, 2015

Deep Purple Montreux fire Smoke On The Water

There is something fascinating about old newspaper archives and seeing how people got the news about important events. One of the avenues of research for the upcoming Machine Head book has been to see how they covered to story in the country, and this front page is from the Nouvelle Review. As this did not have a Sunday edition, the story is from the Monday after the fire (which happened 44 years ago today) and clearly it is still big news.  But not too big to squeeze some of the weekend sports stories off the front page! (And a reminder too of issues closer to home, with a brief report of an explosion in a Belfast restaurant as events there began to worsen.)  Coverage of the fire and the aftermath continued across page two and as late as May the following year the debate was still going on, and journalists were trying to get to the truth behind many of the rumours about the causes of the fire.  Read more about the book on the publisher’s sitehe

which one’s Deep?

July 22, 2015

Deep Purple Today programme NBCDeep Purple are scheduled to appear on NBC’s big morning TV programme The Today Show tomorrow (23rd) in America, providing they can make the 5.30 am deadline for soundcheck and rehearsal!  Quite a rare showcase for the band.  We’ll let you know if it is available on the web after, word is they’ll at least be doing Smoke On The Water.

Smoke On The Radio

June 15, 2015

Smoke On The Water American promotion label 1973As most fans know, the studio / live edits of Smoke On The Water were issued as a (more or less) contemporary single almost everywhere but Britain. It first appeared in North America in the spring of 1973, and it was the success of the single there (top five in US and Canada) which inspired most other countries to follow suit.
A lot of the success in North America has been put down to it being taken up by radio stations there and heavily played. However 40 plus years on there is little documentary evidence to back this up. Researching for the upcoming Machine Head book, we are hoping fans in the U.S. and Canada (or anywhere else) who might have any knowledge of the song’s presentation on the radio stations there might be able to shed some light on it. Perhaps you have recollections of hearing the song played a lot on certain stations; maybe you worked in a radio station and can shed light on how it was programmed, or know someone who did, and can give us a bit of an insight into Smoke On The Water on U.S radio back in the spring of 1973. Do get in touch.

Tories turn Purple?

May 15, 2015

John Whittingdale culture secretaryIt turns out the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale, likes Deep Purple and went to see them on their 2011 UK tour (he’s also into Judas Priest and Motörhead.)  Fellow MPs reckon he’s been known to do karaoke versions of Smoke On The Water after hours too.
Mind you Tony Blair was also a fan, and that didn’t stop him letting all us lefties down big time. So before getting too excited I checked up and found John was a merchant banker and worked as Margaret Thatcher’s political secretary before becoming an MP  (and I don’t recall reopening all the closed libraries being high on their manifesto list either…).

Thanks to Richard Whitehead for the info.