(Image retrieved from here)
Date/Location: Recorded live at Paradiso, Amsterdam, 1969-08-24
- Kneel and Pray (8:43)
- Child in Time (13:17),
- Mandrake Root (5:00; incomplete)
- Ritchie’s Blues (3:40)
- Paint it Black (11:25)
Note: The original concert featured “Wring that Neck” between “Mandrake Root” and “Ritchie’s Blues”. However, as it’s been officially released, I did not include it here.
The takeaway from this is the strength and hope in Mark II early in their career. The whole band was lively, rejuvenated and in full creative control. After certain events in the first lineup led to its dissolution, the recruitment of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover allowed the band to continue on and take on a new artistic direction.
Regarding the tracks, only “Kneel and Pray” did not regularly appear on the Purple circuit. This is probably for the best, as it’s not only quite dirty, but boring in it’s lyrics. Frankly, I for one am glad it ended up removed from the set as they continued writing new material. Also of note is the fact that the band is already consciously moving away from Mark I material, proving implicitly that the band has entered a new phase of their musical lives.
The two new players get their chances to shine. The sound favors Ian Gillan, who proves from the outset his magnetic personality and silver voice. Giggles during “Mandrake Root” are infectious, and his admiration for his bandmates already is apparent. For instance, soon after Jon Lord’s solo (unfortunately cut off because it is on the released track), he cries “nice one, Jon!” It is these small, personal touches which make him so delightful even these days with his long and sometimes nonsensical, but always affectionate band introductions.
Meanwhile, his performance is nothing short of glorious. The best track is “Child in Time”. He leaves nothing vocally to the imagination. Feeling, pitch, variation…minus a few missed lyrics at the start, this was literal perfection. Mild melodic differences suggest that this might be an early version of this classic song. There are no notes out of tune for the rest of the concert either. He hit the ground running, proving his worth and versatility well and quickly.
Roger Glover unfortunately is not the most noticeable in this mix, so there is significantly less to say about him. However, he is already hard at work navigating the space between band veterans Jon Lord and Ian Paice, a role he plays even now with Don Airey at the keys, and the ease with which he falls into this place says enough about his talent and fit for the band.
What, might you ask, about the leftover trio from the first lineup? Jon Lord, as I have mentioned, has his solo on the officially released material, so I cannot comment on it. However, he provides an energetic and powerful showing, backing up Ian but not hesitating to run back to the spotlight when he has a moment. Ritchie Blackmore, meanwhile, is credited as the creator and the single most important member of Deep Purple even though he played at its helm for less than half its life, and was instrumental in the first and many of the subsequent lineup changes.
This concert comes near the beginning of his attempts to assert greater control of the band, and thus is worth taking a look at. He is unusually well in tune for most of his work on this, often at this time preferring a more atonal, grating sound. However, that is not to say that he does not retain many of these hallmarks, and he takes an extended solo on a track entitled “Ritchie’s Blues” beginning with the riff from “Wring that Neck”. It felt rather long while listening, with his typical unfocused style and seat-of-his pants harmonies. Eventually he segues, bizarrely enough, into “Jingle Bells”, which is quickly cut off by a very adrenaline-driven Ian Paice.
It is Ian Paice who gives the best instrumental solo, in my opinion. He plays fairly continuously from the point at which “Jingle Bells” was cut off, even rattling on while Ian Gillan is attempting to introduce “Paint it Black”, and then on afterwards when Gillan is attempting to segue off the song. There’s an unrestrained eagerness to his playing, featuring a solo with tons of varied tempos, rhythms and even levels of volume. It felt less like a solo and more like an experiment with the instrument. While admittedly quite long, clocking in to about eight minutes (or around twice the length of his usual solos as he went on), the clear eagerness and continuously shifting narrative makes for a fun listen.
Historically, this holds the significance of being the second-oldest Deep Purple Mark II boot in my collection, and is one of the oldest tapes of the band overall. I would highly recommend trying to find a copy and step back to the days when Deep Purple was just beginning to lay out the glorious future they would some day follow.
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- Edit on 2020-08-20: Optimized for new site
- Edit on 2020-08-24: Information about boot’s history corrected