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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.
The 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.
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.