It's easy to assess Deep Purple as a powerful live band on the basis of Made In Japan, which featured the classic line up of Richie Blackmore, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. By 1974, Gillan and Glover were gone, swiftly replaced by Glenn Hughes and a then-unknown David Coverdale. They released the sensational Burn album and carried on as a lethal live act. After touring behind the follow-up Stormbringer, Blackmore tendered his resignation. But even the last show he did with the group in the 70s, on April 17, 1975 at the Palais des Sports in Paris, was strong enough to be immortalized. Remastered for 2013, Paris 1975 captures the night in all its guts and glory.
With Gillan out front, chances are they would have opened with "Highway Star." With Coverdale and Hughes, there was nothing more appropriate than "Burn" to begin a show with. On this night, they follow "Burn" with the title track of their second album with Purple, the much funkier "Stormbringer." It was this flavor of funkiness that had a lot to do with Blackmore's departure. Nevertheless, the guitarist opens up with an astounding solo on "The Gypsy." It's inconceivable to believe he would never play this and many of the other songs he recorded with the Mach III version of Deep Purple ever again.
Perhaps it was Coverdale and Hughes' inane raps between the songs that drove the guitarist away. "This is a sweaty song. I don't want to see any fat people after this one," Hughes mumbles before the band breaks into "Lady Double Dealer." A few more choice words proceed the dramatic "Mistreated," a track Blackmore would take with him to Rainbow for Ronnie James Dio to soar with. He hands over the spotlight to Lord and Paice for the solo-happy "You Fool No One," and slays through the classics "Smoke On The Water," "Highway Star" and "Space Truckin'," supplemented by a random slice of "Child In Time" and a whole bunch of funky and frivolous filler stretched out for prosperity and apparently necessary to the setlist. Portions of these recordings have appeared on previous releases like Made In Europe and MK III: The Final Concerts. Paris 1975 is simply the complete last show by a lineup often misconstrued in the mire of Purple history. If anything, it's remarkable to think about what's happened since.
~ Shawn Perry