Deep Purple performed on this day in 1975 at the Palais des Sports in Paris, France.
Deep Purple were at this time on a tour supporting their most recent album, Stormbringer. The album saw a greater embrace of the R&B and funk genres than previous Purple albums thanks to the influence of newest members David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, which caused some tension within the band. On the tour, they were supported by up-and-coming band Elf, who had recently recorded a little side project with Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.
The group performed songs from the most recent album, its predecessor Burn, and Machine Head. With Machine Head only being represented by three tracks (“Smoke on the Water”, “Highway Star”, and “Space Truckin'”), the bulk of the concert featured Mark III material, with three songs from both Burn and Stormbringer; both albums’ title tracks were also played as the opening two numbers of the concert. Another song, “Going Down” by Don Nix, also appeared late in the concert.
As it turned out, this concert was not only the last concert of the tour, but the last time Blackmore would play with Deep Purple for more than nine years. He left the band after due to his dissatisfaction with the R&B and funk elements brought forth by newest members David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, as well as generally being tired of his old bandmates. Ironically, newspapers from around this time assured the musically-inclined public that Purple was in no danger of splitting.
Blackmore’s departure spelled the end of the Mark III lineup of the band. With Jon Lord’s death in 2012, a true reunion has become impossible. One member of the Mark III lineup, David Coverdale, reportedly attempted to meet with Blackmore at a Rainbow concert six years after this at a concert in Munich. The meeting apparently went poorly, with Blackmore knocking Coverdale out! However, it seems that over the years the two patched up their differences; Blackmore’s current wife Candice Night has even referred to Coverdale as a friend from time to time.
After Blackmore’s departure, the first of two times he would do so, Purple attempted to work with American guitarist Tommy Bolin. This fourth lineup of the band produced just a single album and one accompanying tour before throwing in the towel entirely. They played their final concert less than a year after this date. Blackmore, meanwhile, would go on to create Rainbow, which had begun as a small side project at around this time when he was dissatisfied with the band’s music. He would tour and release music with Rainbow for the following nine years, before disbanding them and returning to Deep Purple in 1984.
This concert was not only recorded, but officially released by the band.
I talk more about the Palais des Sports, the venue where the group performed, here.
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- Edit on 2020-07-20: Added information
- Edit on 2021-04-07: Optimized for new site. Added information about the concert. Added information about Blackmore and Coverdale’s later meeting.