Scandinavian Nights In Concert 1970-1972 Live in London MKIII: The Final Concerts
[Eagle Rock Entertainment]
By the time Deep Purple hit the 1970 show captured on Scandinavian Nights—one of four new double-CD re-releases of live material from that decade—the band had already seen a few changes, having enjoyed a pop hit (“Hush”), shuffled members and experimented with orchestral pieces. But the group’s classic “Mark II” lineup of singer Ian Gillan, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, keyboardist Jon Lord, bass player Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice had finally figured out its true purpose: to rock till they could rock no more. Nights finds the group spreading a mere seven songs across almost two hours, Blackmore and Lord dueling for supremacy over endlessly churning grooves. The two sets on In Concert found Purple tightening things up for BBC broadcast while still delivering the goods.
By 1974, when Live in London and MKIII: The Final Concerts were captured, Gillian and Glover had been replaced by less aggressive singer David Coverdale and bass player Glenn Hughes—leaving more room for Blackmore’s blistering six-string work. MKIII: The Final Concerts, as its title suggests, marks the last days of the “Mark III” edition of the group (currently on “Mark VIII,” including Gillian, Glover, Paice, guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey). Blackmore acquits himself well for a man with one foot out the door—at tour’s end he quit, just one more of many changes to come. These live releases find the Purple raging together with fierce power at full volume, if only for a little while. –Chris Neal