by John Kindred
Many bands that were formed in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s brought a mystical vibe, which is seldom captured in the modern age of music. Musicians from that time became real rock stars and were very untouchable, elusive; each was put upon pedestal and vied to be a God of sorts to legions of fans. Album sales and touring dictated success – not FM radio or MTV. The modern media-driven age of TV and the Internet killed the rock star and changed the landscape to a flavor-of-the-month scenario that made record companies rich and turned bands into tax write offs. So when we revisit the ‘60s or ‘70s, we are recapturing a time period in which bands were held in awe. The groups made careers out of releasing some the best and most inspired music ever.
Deep Purple have gone deep into the vaults and delivered up a documentary, which is loaded with vintage concert footage, interviews and the never-before-seen 30-minute concert in Japan from ’76, aptly titled Phoenix Rising.
The documentary follows the group after the departure of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, beginning when they released the album Burn with new additions bassist/vocalist Glen Hughes (Trapeze) and vocalist David Coverdale (Whitesnake) and moves into the Stormbringer sessions and album release. And finalizes the discussion with the Come Taste the Band era of Deep Purple, which is a time period that is highlighted by Ritchie Blackmore leaving for greener pastures and Tommy Bolin taking over as the primary guitarist. In detail, we get the inside track from band members who made up the mark III and IV lineup of Deep Purple as the band moved toward its eventual collapse. Hughes and Coverdale’s influence on the band’s writing style changed the dynamic of the band and foreshadowed the band’s eventual demise. Following Bolin’s death in ’76, it would be an additional nine years before Deep Purple would reunite.
The Japan concert footage of ’76 features the lineup of Glen Hughes, David Coverdale, Tommy Bolin, John Lord and Ian Pace. The band performs eight songs: “Burn,” “Getting Tighter,” “Love Child,” “Smoke On The Water,” “Lazy,” “Homeward Strut,” “You Keep On Moving” and “Stormbringer.” Touching old Purple material and their new music of that time period, the music is driven by the John Lord’s organ, while Hughes and Coverdale split time on vocals. In the mix, Tommy Bolin’s guitar is too low, so the rhythmic pulse of the band is prominent and certainly takes away from the experience of seeing the only video footage that showcases Bolin in Deep Purple.
Released as a DVD, Blu-ray and in a special two-disc DVD + CD package, Phoenix Rising is must-have for Deep Purple fans. The unreleased footage from Japan is underwhelming and disappointing as the changes in the lineup and musical direction are apparent and affect the performance. The documentary is very informative and enlightening. Overall, this is cool release that documents a band in transition. The interviews help fans understand what was happening internally with Deep Purple during this time of change and eventual hiatus.
Genre: Classic Hard Rock
David Coverdale (v)
Glenn Hughes (b)(v)
Jon Lord (organ)
Ian Paice (d)
Tommy Bolin (g)
• Deep Purple Rises Over Japan Concert Footage
• Gettin’ Tighter 80 Minute Music Documentary
• Bonus Jakarta 1975 Interview.
• Phoenix Rising Soundtrack
• 16 page Booklet.
Concert Track Listing:
2. Getting Tighter
3. Love Child
4. Smoke On The Water
6. Homeward Strut
7. You Keep On Moving
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment