Deep Purple is one of the most well-known and respected names in the rock community. The veteran British blues-rock band has been making music together for some forty-seven years. Given there was a nearly ten-year period in which the band took some time off from 1976 – 1984. But since it reformed in 1984, Deep Purple has been busy churning out new studio and live recordings and touring seemingly nonstop. Over the course of the past two years alone, the band’s deals with Eagle Rock Entertainment and earMusic has resulted in no fewer than six live recordings and one new studio album with at least two more on the way this summer. The most recent of those newly released live recordings, Long Beach 1971, was released late this past May. The recording only consists of four songs–‘Speed King,’ ‘Strange Kind of Woman,’ ‘Child in Time,’ and ‘Mandrake Root,’ While that doesn’t seem like much, those four songs bring the recording’s total run time to over an hour. More specifically, it brings the recording’s total run time to an hour and nineteen minutes, just shy of the ninety minute mark. That extensive run time is just one aspect of what makes Long Beach 1971 another hit for Deep Purple and for the band’s fans. The band’s performance itself makes for even more enjoyment, as audiences will note. That will be discussed at more length later. Last but hardly least worth noting of Long Beach 1971 is its audio mix. The audio mix of this concert is surprisingly impressive for its time. It sounds completely unlike anything from this era of concert recordings. But it still sounds impressive nonetheless. That is a tribute to those charged with re-mastering the recording for its release on CD. If not for the work of those individuals, neither the show’s set list nor the band’s performance would be of any matter. Thankfully for fans that isn’t the case. Instead, audiences have in this recording a piece that is yet another impressive live recording from Deep Purple and a recording that is one of the year’s best new live recordings on CD.
Long Beach 1971 is yet another impressive in a long line of live recordings released by Deep Purple in recent year. It is also one of the year’s best new live recordings on CD. The central way in which it proves this is through its set list. The set list consists of only four songs. On the surface that might not seem like very much. But it is in reality quite a bit. The songs–‘Speed King,’ ‘Strange Kind of Woman,’ ‘Child in Time,’ and ‘Mandrake Root’–in total bring the concert’s total run time to an hour and nineteen minutes with the show’s opener, ‘Speed King,’ being the shortest at eleven minutes and five seconds long. Keeping on that track, audiences will be interested to note that the songs only get longer from there. ‘Strange Kind of Woman’ clocks in at eleven minutes and twelve seconds. ‘Child in Time’ comes in at twenty minutes and twenty-five seconds. ‘Mandrake Root’ closes the show with a total run time in itself at twenty-seven minutes and eighteen seconds. Maybe it is mere coincidence that each of the songs presented here is longer than the last. It could have been wholly intentional, too. Regardless, such a long set with only four songs is impressive in itself especially for that era. The songs are so long because the band doesn’t just perform the songs. Rather the band’s members–Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore, and Roger Glover–let the performances grow naturally. The result is the extensive yet enjoyable performances that audiences get within the course of each of the recording’s songs. It is also tied into another aspect of the recording that makes it just as enjoyable–the band’s actual performance.
The performance of Deep Purple’s members in this recording is just as important to note of its enjoyment as the concert’s extensive set list. That is because what audiences get from Deep Purple in this recording isn’t just some band up on stage going through the motions. It is a band that is taking in the moment both together and with its audience. The fact that the band lets each song organically grow from just a performance to a full-blown jam session shows that. Even audiences listening to the concert on their radios or MP3 players will find themselves getting lost in each performance along with the band and those that were there in attendance. Even more impressive is that front man Ian Gillan talks to the audience in between songs, explaining briefly but clearly the story behind each song. Those that might not know the stories behind the songs will definitely enjoy Gillan’s stories. He explains about ‘Strange Kind of Woman’ that it apparently had to do with a prostitute and one of the band’s friends. Believe it or not. In regards to ‘Child in Time,’ he explains that it centers on people that just can’t seem to win in life no matter what. And in regards to the show’s closer ‘Mandrake Root’ he explains that this song came to be after two of the band’s friends got into a certain drink at a party. When audiences listen to the song, it becomes relatively clear what exactly happened (or supposedly happened). Gillan even laughs at a certain point, giving one to think that apparently what it sounds like happened perhaps indeed did happen. It’s a small moment, but it is one more of so many that heightens the enjoyment of the band’s performance. Together with the show’s set list, both elements make relatively clear why Long Beach 1971 is yet another impressive live Deep Purple set and one of the year’s best new live CDs.
The set list and performance on the part of Deep Purple’s band members in Long Beach 1971 prove clearly in themselves why this recording is yet another impressive addition to the band’s already extensive catalogue of live CDs. They also show just as clearly why it is one of the year’s best new live CDs. Both elements taken into consideration there is just one more element to note in what makes Long Beach 1971 so enjoyable. That final element is the concert’s audio mix. Right off the bat, audiences will note that in comparison to the live recordings churned out today, this recording sounds quite different. The best way for audiences to fully understand this difference is to purchase the recording for themselves. But for lack of better wording, it doesn’t have that spit-shined, auto-tuned sound that today’s live recordings boast. It is more….organic almost. Yet for that sound, it still sounds surprisingly impressive. This is the case even despite having to adjust the volume level between songs so as to hear Gillan’s discussions on the songs. Sure, it would have been nice to not have to constantly make such adjustment from one song to the next. but that’s beside the point. It’s just nice to have that interaction with the audience coupled with a solid stage performance. Getting back on topic, those charged with re-mastering the audio for this recording are to be commended for their efforts. Thanks to their work, that organic sound is still there as is the static that was produced by the recording technology of the day. This seems minor but it is important in its own right. That is because it shows that it is still possible for record companies to produce classic and classic sounding records on CD complete with that nostalgic static sound in place of full vinyl releases. There has been so much talk in recent years about the resurgence of vinyl. The apparent reason that there has been such a resurgence in its popularity is simply the nostalgia factor. The static and organic audio that has been reproduced in Long Beach 1971 proves without a doubt that it is still possible to have that nostalgia without having to spend exorbitant amounts of money on vinyls. Considering this, the nostalgia produced by the audio mix of Long Beach 1971 will make listening to the concert’s set list and the band’s performance all the greater. In turn it will prove yet again why Long Beach 1971 is yet another impressive live Deep Purple recording and why it is one of this year’s best new live CD recordings overall.
Long Beach 1971 gives Deep Purple fans of all ages plenty to smile about. Its set list, while short in selection, makes for a full and fun concert. The band’s performance of its chosen songs makes the concert even more enjoyable. That is thanks both to the organic nature of the band’s performance and to front man Ian Gillan actually interacting with the audience, sharing the stories behind each of the set’s songs. The expert re-mastering of the concert’s audio leaves it sounding just as it would have on a vinyl release complete with static. It shows that a CD recording live or otherwise can still be just as good as any vinyl release if not better. All three elements together make crystal clear why Long Beach 1971 is yet another impressive release in a long line of live recordings from Deep Purple and why it is also one of this year’s best new live CD recordings. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from E.A.R. Music is available online now at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.