Deep Purple – Live in Paris: 1975 (2013)

Capturing the last concert from Deep Purple’s Mk III lineup, as Ritchie Blackmore subsequently left to form Rainbow, Live in Paris: 1975 also works as another glimpse into the brilliance of the recently deceased Jon Lord.

Live in Paris: 1975, due January 29, 2013 via earMusic/Eagle Rock Entertainment, opens with raucous whoop from frontman David Coverdale, but then he’s quickly subsumed by Lord’s smokey fills. Similarly, the crashing introduction of “Burn,” muscled forward by bassist Glenn Hughes and drummer Ian Paice, sets the stage for Blackmore’s titanic riff — but the track actually chugs along on the power of Lord’s locomotive fills.

Much was made of the way this new grouping — harder-edged, more groove-focused — eventually sent Blackmore elsewhere, but the canny Lord had no trouble adapting.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Former frontman David Coverdale suggests that Jon Lord’s tragic passing could eventually spark a large-scale Deep Purple reunion.]

Listen to the fine interplay between Lord and the rest of the band on 1974’s funk-metal workout “Stormbringer.” Coverdale, long before his 1980s throat problems, is in particularly fine form. “The Gypsy,” meanwhile, finds Coverdale moving back down into the lower register more familiar to fans of his later work with Whitesnake. Deep Purple then roars through the Zeppelin-esque “Lady Double Dealer” and the ruminative blues-rocker “Mistreated,” a era-defining triumph from 1974’s Burn.

I kept coming back to Lord, though, as he found a trippy joy in the 21-minute “Space Truckin,'” the old Ian Gillan vehicle from 1972’s Machine Head, or added just the right atmospherics as Blackmore amplifies Coverdale’s sexualized vocals on Don Nix’s “Going Down.” Lord remains the beating heart of “Highway Star,” too, even as it descends into a stunning cacophony.

But it’s “You Fool No One,” maybe more than “Smoke on the Water” — if only because the latter is so familiar — that becomes the most remarkable showcase here for Lord, as he unleashes sheets of classically inspired figures to the delight of the crowd.

Of course, “Smoke on the Water” will forever be his signature moment in rock history, even if Lord is almost showed up by a remarkable, groove-filled intro on this live date from Blackmore. (Is that a reference to “Lazy” from Machine Head along the way?) There’s no denying that moment, though, as Lord joins in — mirroring the tune’s titanic riff and then, over the course of a grinding 20-minute interpretation, utterly subsuming it.

Coverdale, at one point sounding almost overwhelmed by the thundering sound behind him, welps: “Burn it, Jon!” Indeed.

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This sparkling reissue, originally recorded on April 17, 1975 at Paris’ Palais des Sports and issued in 2001 by the fan-operated label Purple Records, also includes an interview from the period featuring Coverdale, Hughes and Paice. The album remains a collectors item, if for no other reason than the fact that it contains “The Gypsy,” “Lady Double Dealer,” “Mistreated” and “You Fool No One,” which haven’t been part of the Deep Purple live set since.

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.