REVIEW: Deep Purple – Collector’s Edition: The Bootleg Series 1984-2000 (12 CD)

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DEEP PURPLE – Collector’s Edition: The Bootleg Series 1984-2000 (2000 Thames Thompson, Australia only, 12 CD set)

There are two (!) 12 CD Deep Purple bootleg collections; this is the first and best of them.  Although Deep Purple’s career is chock full of live albums chronicling this period, this set does feature many treats that are hard to find or not available on official live albums.  These really are bootlegs; the band decided to release their own versions of pre-existing audience bootleg albums!  All artwork, errors included, are copied from the original bootleg releases.

Before you get too excited I will state right off the bat:  There’s no Deep Purple Mk V or VI.  No Joe Lynn Turner, or Joe Satriani.  There is, however, a show from 1995 with Steve Morse, previewing tracks from the yet-to-be recorded Purpendicular album.  This transitional period is very cool.  You get to hear Morse perform “Anyone’s Daughter”, which was dropped from the set not long after.  Since Morse and Blackmore’s styles are vastly different, it’s a cool take on a track that you don’t hear often as it is.  In addition, you’ll hear Morse reinvent “Woman From Tokyo” on a bootleg from 2000.

BOOTLEGS FRONTThe Bootleg Series also contains my favourite version of “The Battle Rages On” ever released.  1995, Ft. Lauderdale Florida, Ian Gillan tore the roof off with that song.  In my mind I always imagined his screams directed towards Blackmore, even though he was probably furthest from Gillan’s mind.  It’s a magical version, you can hear the electricity and the emotion.  Just awesome.

Also a treat is a revisiting of the old In Rock classic, “Into the Fire” from 2000.  This version crushes!  Unfortunately, a stiff and slow version of “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” follows it.  Deep Purple are that kind of band, usually they just kill it.  But their history does contain rare stumbles, and this take of “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” is nothing stacked up against other versions available.  On the other hand, Purple just smoke the Abandon track “’69” immediately afterwards!  They extend this concise rocker to include an extended jam with a nod and wink to “Paint It, Black”.

Other highlights:  Blackmore’s solo spot “Difficult to Cure”.  Rarely heard 80’s-era tracks such as “Under the Gun”, “A Gypsy’s Kiss”, “Nobody’s Home”, “The Unwritten Law”, “Bad Attitude”, “Hard Lovin’ Woman”, and “Dead or Alive”.  You can’t buy a live version of “The Unwritten Law” anywhere else.  “Fools”, a rarely played track from Fireball, simply crushes.  Holy Ian Paice, Batman!  Steve puts his own slant on the guitar part in “Fools”, but it is his solo spot on “Cascades” that is truly intoxicating.

These being bootlegs, don’t expect sound quality or packaging or liner notes, unfortunately.  The sound quality does improve as you go from the oldest discs to the most recent.   The oldest shows have a lot of crowd noise, and poor sounding drums.  By the time you get the Japan 2000 show, things sound much better although can still stray towards muddy at times.  Packaging-wise, what you see is what you get:  A box, six jewel cases, front covers and back covers.

This was an Australia-only release.  I have no idea what it’s worth today.  I haven’t seen one in years.

4/5 stars


Highway Stars (Adelaide Australia, 11/30/1984)

Third Night (Sweden, 06/16/1985)

Hungary Days (Budapest Hungary, 01/28/1987)

In Your Trousers (Stockholm Sweden, 11/13/1993)

Purple Sunshine (Ft. Lauderdale Florida, 03/04/1995)

Made In Japan 2000 (Osaka Japan 04/01/2000)

I decided that there’s no point rating these bootlegs individually.  For one, it’s a set, and when it came down to splitting hairs, I like them equally.  And that speaks volumes as to the consistency of this band.


    1. Metallica did this too, with their Six Feet Down Under EP. I’m cool with it, it’s not like I’m finding live bootlegs everywhere I shop. I’m sure other bands have done it too. Kiss has obviously done it with bootleg video!


      1. I’m cool with it too. It’s a good move cause the band has more right to use them than anyone. And they’re always clearly marked as bootlegs so you know what quality your getting. I rarely buy these kind of things but I can see the appeal in hearing rare lineups and songs. And especially with the Purps cause they improvise so much, every night is different.


  1. Holy moly this sounds like a collection to own!

    Bootlegs are often just that: bootlegs. I remember listening to the Metallica ‘Down Under’ EP and not being too happy, but then I was like…eh, bootleg. Sometimes they often come in handy for when, say, they record a time in which might have never been done properly.

    Safe to say, this is a fair bet.


    1. Yeah you said it Nick: “Sometimes they often come in handy for when, say, they record a time in which might have never been done properly.”

      And in this case there’s at least one tune that you can’t get on any official live albums, and same with a lot of other bootlegs. I also collect bootlegs when it’s a rare lineup of the band — Kiss is a great example. They didn’t release official live stuff for many different versions of the band.


        1. Exactly. I think that’s what makes Deep Purple special even to this day. Some bands just churn out the same gig night after night, but with Purple no.


        2. Yeah exactly. I remember Noel Gallagher once said, “If you’ve seen one Oasis gig, you’ve seen them all.” I thought, what a shite attitude!


        3. Haha oops, sorry. I have to remember that just because I was never a fan I shouldn’t take away from the people who are/were fans. Honestly, I put that in there for Mikey, see if he’d comment.


  2. How,do the two Perfect Strangers tour bootlegs sound Mike? I have Knebworth and it’s good but man I could talk about the studio album Perfect Strangers all night….easily in my all time top 10!


    1. Deke those are the poorest sounding. It’s the drums that are the most difficult to hear. But I love that whole period of Deep Purple, firing on all cylinders again! Perfect Strangers is GREAT and it’s nice to have versions of Under the Gun etc!


  3. That’s such a clever idea! Thanks for the recommendation of where to start with Deep Purple – got it and I’m loving it! And I know some of the songs, from casettes I had and might still have? Time to raid the storage unit, I think :-)


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