DEEP PURPLE – Bombay Calling – Live in ’95 (2022 – Edel CD/DVD reissue)
Years ago, I begged for a CD issue of Deep Purple’s live DVD Bombay Calling. You could download the audio on iTunes and burn your own double live, which I did, but that just doesn’t do it for a physical product collector. I’ve made my case for physical product here over the years many, many times. Unfortunately, this physical release was pooched by Edel by excluding one song. Like similar CD bootlegs of this 1995 concert, the new Edel CD is missing the opening track “Fireball”! It’s still there on DVD, and it was always there on the iTunes edition, but it’s missing from CD 1. That’s a real shame since it’s a good version of “Fireball” and it’s the damn opener! (The original DVD of Bombay Calling was issued in 2000. iTunes got it in 2003.)
When originally released on iTunes, this was promoted as an “official bootleg”. Now it seems to be marketed as some kind of deluxe live album, limited and numbered to 10,000 CD/DVD sets. The hype sticker calls it “the best rock show ever staged in India.”
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 ultimately carried on with Steve Morse for the next few decades. Joe Satriani stepped in for a short while, but it was Dixie Dregs guitar maestro 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 spelled “The Purpendicular Waltz” on the album. The lineup was fresh, feeling each other out, but full of energy and the excitement of a band creatively reborn, both in the studio and on stage.
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.
Highlights: “Fireball” (boo for excluding from the CD), “The Battle Rages On”, and “Anya”.
I love a good, raw live performance captured on tape, and Deep Purple don’t muck around. This is 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.
3/5 stars (subtracting half a star from iTunes edition, for losing a song)