Deep Purple

Mk III: The Final Concerts

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If you were to declare "Deep Purple is my favorite band," then a fitting immediate question would be "What era/lineup?" Unlike some bands that stick to the same lineup from the beginning to end of their careers, Purple are one of the few rock bands to retain their following despite numerous lineup shuffles over the years. One of the most drastic moves was jettisoning Ian Gillan and Roger Glover in favor of David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes -- a move (supposedly at the behest of Ritchie Blackmore) that was supposed to help expand the group musically. While Purple did incorporate more soul/R&B sounds on such subsequent releases as Burn and Stormbringer, it did not help elongate the shelf life of the lineup, as Blackmore himself was gone with the wind by early 1975. As the title of Mk III: The Final Concerts attests, this 11-track live set features selected performances from the final moments of Purple's Mk III lineup -- and as heard on such standouts as the title tracks from both Burn and Stormbringer, the lineup was still strong enough to blow the roof off any arena. But as with the majority of arena rock acts of the early to mid-'70s, Purple could turn into a woefully self-indulgent beast in concert: case in point, painfully long versions of such classics as "Smoke on the Water" and "Space Truckin'" (the latter of which almost reaches 20 minutes), which feature way too much mind-numbingly meandering jams/solos that manage to sap the power of the succinct original versions. To their credit, though, Purple were certainly not the only notable rock band at the time indulging in overboard live improv (just give Led Zeppelin's How the West Was Won a listen).

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