As the title suggests, this double CD (which is also available as a three vinyl gatefold) documents a live show performed by the band on the 27th February 1976 in LA. Included as a bonus are three tracks recorded in Springfield, Massachusetts on the 26th January 1976. This release features what is known as the 'Mark IV' line-up and features David Coverdale on vocals, Glenn Hughes on bass/vocals, Tommy Bolin on guitar and Purple stalwarts Jon Lord on keys and drummer Ian Paice. Coverdale, Hughes and Bolin replaced, respectively, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and the great Ritchie Blackmore.
Tracks from the band's then current album, ‘Come Taste The Band’, which has divided Purple fans ever since its release, feature heavily as would be expected. 'Lady Luck', 'Getting Tighter', 'Love Child', 'This Time Around' (dedicated to Stevie Wonder by Glenn Hughes, an indication, perhaps, of the funkier style adopted by the band with Hughes and Bolin in its ranks) and 'Owed to G' which is followed by a Bolin guitar solo that showcases his considerable talent and shows why he was chosen as Blackmore's successor, all get an airing. Of these, 'Getting Tighter' is definitely the highlight, morphing into a fine 14 minute jam session around the central structure of the song.
Other tracks performed at this gig are 'Burn', a good rendition which is the set opener; 'Lazy' which features solos from Lord and Paice; an excellent, funk, version of 'Stormbringer' which, again, turns into an extended jam; 'Highway Star' and, it goes without saying, 'Smoke on the Water' which segues, rather neatly, into a decent version of 'Georgia on my Mind'. The Springfield tracks repeat 'Highway Star' and 'Smoke...' and also 'Going Down', a cover of the Freddie King track and a well-known Purple encore. Also featuring is 'Homeward Strut' which was taken from Bolin's solo album, ‘Teaser’, released around the same time as ‘Come Taste The Band’.
Overall, this release is pretty good. The sound is decent and the performances of individual band members are as should be expected. There are a couple of gripes; firstly, although the dual vocals of Coverdale and Hughes generally work well, sometimes the yelps, squeals and vocal histrionics can be too much and, secondly, this release doesn't flow from track to track as you normally find with a live release but, instead, there is a two to three second pause between tracks which interrupts the enjoyment of the 'live experience'.
In my opinion, this release is definitely for the Deep Purple completist or hardcore fan, rather than someone who is getting into the band for the first time. I say this not because the disc is bad in any way but rather because there is such a plethora of material out there, both live and recorded, that there are probably better places to start your initiation into this pivotal band in rock history.
LONG BEACH 1976
Review by Dave Uphill
61:41 & 59:00
29th April 2016
DISC ONE: 1) Intro; 2) Burn; 3) Lady Luck; 4) Getting Tighter; 5) Love Child; 6) Smoke on the Water/Georgia On My Mind; 7) Lazy; 8) Homeward Strut
DISC TWO: 1) This Time Around; 2) Owed to G; 3) Tommy Bolin Guitar Solo; 4) Stormbringer; 5) Highway Star; 6) Smoke on the Water/ Georgia on My Mind (Live in Springfield 1976); 7) Going Down (Live in Springfield 1976); 8) Highway Star (Live in Springfield 1976)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...definitely for the Deep Purple completist or hardcore fan..."