There are very rare circumstances under which I will pay for a download from iTunes. I’ve made my case for physical product here over the years many, many times. When it’s a band that I obsessively collect, like Deep Purple, I make an exception. Bombay Calling is an interesting live release. It says “Official Bootleg” right there on the cover art, but I’m not really sure what constitutes an official bootleg anymore. I look at this as the soundtrack to a DVD that Deep Purple released in 2000, also called Bombay Calling. That’s essentially what this is — the audio to Bombay Calling, the DVD. In contains the entire show.
This concert was recorded on April 18 1995, which eagle-eyed fans will realize is well before the Purpendicular album. Bombay Calling was recorded not long after “the banjo player took a hike” and Purple carried on without Ritchie Blackmore. Joe Satriani stepped in for a short while, but it was Dixie Dregs guitar maestro Steve Morse that took the Man in Black’s place permanently. This concert was recorded at the very start of Morse’s tenure, and features a few songs they would drop from the set a year or two later. It also features a brand new tune they were working on called “Perpendicular Waltz”, later changed to “The Purpendicular Waltz” on the album.
There is one earlier concert available from this period, which is Purple Sunshine in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, exactly two weeks prior. That one is truly is an official bootleg, taken from audience sources and released on the 12 CD box set Collector’s Edition: The Bootleg Series 1984-2000. The setlists are slightly different. When they hit India for this concert, a new song called “Ken the Mechanic” (retitled “Ted the Mechanic”) was dropped, as was “Anyone’s Daughter”. They were replaced by long time favourites “Maybe I’m a Leo” and “Space Truckin'” from Machine Head.
Special treats for the ears on Bombay Calling include Steve Morse’s incendiary soloing on “Anya” (which would be dropped from the set in 1996). His feature solo leading into “Lazy” is also excellent, and of course very different from what Ritchie used to do. Jon Lord’s keyboard solo is among the best I’ve heard, and even features a segue into “Soldier of Fortune” from Stormbringer. The solo segments that Deep Purple did often allowed them to play snippets from songs from the David Coverdale period of the band, and this one was unexpected and brilliant.
I love a good, raw live performance captured on tape, and Deep Purple don’t muck around. This one is kind of special, coming from that transitional period when Steve Morse was just getting his feet wet. Considering how different he is from Ritchie Blackmore, this smooth switcheroo is quite remarkable. The band had changed, but into something just as good. How many other groups can make that claim?
Since you can’t take a picture of a non-physical product, here are pictures of the 2 CD set that I burned from the iTunes download!