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Deep Purple Live In California ‘74
Deep Purple
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Release Date: April 01, 2014
Review Date: March 30, 2014
Were any of you at that gargantuan California Jam Festival back in April, 1074? Can you believe that it took place forty years ago?  Wow!  As you may recall (or not, depending on what “refreshments” you were imbibing), the two headliners of that historic event were Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Deep Purple (on its third incarnation). 

The Deep Purple presence turned out to be quite a memorable event both on and off the stage.  Their appearance before over 200,000 people took place at the end of their 28-date tour promoting their iconic Burn CD.  This incarnation of the band was arguably their most powerful in its history, consisting of Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), David Coverdale (vocals), Glenn Hughes (bass), the late Jon Lord (keyboards), and Ian Paice (drums) blast through an incredible set of songs from Burn, as well as the tunes we all knew and loved up to that point like Space Truckin’ and Smoke On The Water.  It’s especially poignant hearing Lord’s amazing wizardry on the keyboards.  He’ll be sorely missed for many years to come.

The remaining band members have since gone on with their own successful music careers. That all said, we all remember them all too well for their performances such as the one at Cal Jam.

While video of their onstage performance has been available on DVD since 2006, the good folks at Eagle Rock Entertainment are releasing the show for the first time on CD and Digital Audio in honor of the 40th anniversary of that show.  The music is presented unedited in all of its sonic glory.

The album is especially important if you thought that the band’s Made In Japan album defined them.  It doesn’t.  Smoke On The Water has an incredible, bluesy lead-in before the familiar guitar riffs materialize.  Space Truckin’ is performed with an energy not heard up to that point. It’s absolutely amazing.

Whether you’re an avid Deep Purple fan or a musicologist, this CD is a must have for your listening library as well as a great gift for the classic rock fan in your life.