Deep Purple
Made in Japan


5.0
classic

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
August 18th, 2009 | 248 replies | 19,791 views


Release Date: 1972 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Deep Purple reach their immense peak in Japan.

Deep Purple: A Retrospective

Episode VII: Made in Japan

Deep Purple’s tour for their enormous success story Machine Head brought them to The Land of the Rising Sun for the first time in their career, where their fan base was growing quite steadily. Recorded over three nights in Osaka and Budokan, August 15th till 17th 1972 during this tour, Made in Japan was never intended for an actual release. Back in the UK, however, Deep Purple were quite taken with their own performance and realized the sound quality was actually damn fine for a live recording (courtesy of engineer Martin Birch), and decided to release the very best moments of their Japanese tour on a, at the time, double live LP. Made in Japan features mainly material from their then-most recent album Machine Head, and was released in December the same year, except in the US, where it was pushed to 1973 because of marketing reasons. As of today, it is still regarded as a classic live album and often even as the pinnacle of Deep Purple’s talent and success.

Deep Purple Mk. II was:
- Ian Gillan ~ Vocals, Harmonica, Percussion
- Richard Hugh Blackmore ~ Lead Guitar
- Roger David Glover ~ Bass Guitar
- Jon Douglas Lord ~ Hammond Organ, Keyboards, Electric Piano
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums, Percussion

The two statements seen in above introduction couldn’t hold more truth. Made in Japan is about as good as a live album gets. The band take particular pride in the fact that all of the recordings are honest reproductions of the original performances, without any studio overdubs or edits whatsoever. This is also one of the strengths of the album, and a reason why it is held in such high regard. To say that all members are on top of their game is quite the understatement, as every corner of Made in Japan is filled with fantastic moments. This was recorded in 1972, and though it is not known to us listeners, Deep Purple must’ve been high on drugs. Everybody goes utterly and completely nuts, especially Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord, who have always been the virtuosic stars of the band. Blackmore, egocentric as he is, grabs all the attention he can with his famous Fender Stratocaster, playing every riff and solo a dozen times better than on the original studio releases. Especially the solos on Child in Time and Smoke on the Water are far and far superior to their originals, and everyone will wonder how in earth’s name Mr. Blackmore gets such a tremendous amount of energy out of his guitar.

As many may not be aware of, Deep Purple, and especially this classic line-up, was having trouble with internal struggles between the band members, something especially Blackmore contributed to (he was not good at getting along with people). Believe it or not, this only made their live performances better and better. Blackmore and Lord can be heard rivalling constantly throughout the album, countering each other riffs and solos with brilliant intensity. Gillan, being the vocalist, wanted his share of attention too, and the intensity of his work only profits from the continuing rivalry between the two greatest egos in the band. The only time he really gets in a duel with Blackmore is the extension of Strange Kind of Woman (which didn’t appear on any of Purple’s albums but was released as a single to support Fireball). One of Mark II’s most poppy songs, the first part is enjoyable, but not where the true fun lies. After a while Blackmore starts toying around with his guitar. The notes he plays are mimicked by Gillan vocally, something he pulls off well because of the incredible range he easily commanded at the time. The duel becomes more and more powerful, and reaches its climax when Blackmore breaks down and Gillan comes in with a very high-pitched, almost ear-splitting scream. What’s more, he holds it steadily for an astonishing amount of time considering the pitch. His other prime moment is obviously Child in Time, which became so famous for its vocals in the first place. Gillan shows that he can do the impressive work live just as well, if not better than in the studio, something a great lot of vocalist these days are having immense trouble with.

This might seemingly leave Glover and Pace in the background as rhythm section, but nothing is less true. Just as much as the lead section powers up each other’s performances, they inspire the two men behind them to pull out the maximum just as well. Not just that, Pace gets his chance to shine in The Mule, which is extended into a very long drum solo, showcasing the same pounding energy and inability to get tired as the other band members show throughout the album.

What really makes Made in Japan so great, however, is the tremendous improvement the band make on every single track. Not only do they play riffs and solos better than on their original studio versions, there is a lot of room available for improvisation. Highway Star, not only opener on Machine Head but here as well, is probably the most accurate recreation of its original, but still features enough new sounds. Child in Time and Smoke on the Water’s most striking differences are, as already mentioned above, their solos, played quite differently by Blackmore, and he only improves them by it, especially on the latter, where you’ll not be exactly sure when he’s going to stop at your first listen. The Mule and Strange Kind of Woman have their aforementioned extensions, of course, but the most improvisation takes place in the last two tracks: Lazy and Space Truckin’. The largely instrumental Lazy was already an incredible jam session, but here the band put in all kinds of crazy changes and additions, while keeping the same basis. They cannot be described, but have to be experienced instead.

Space Truckin’s appearance on the set list is truly surprising. It was a bit of a simple, albeit enjoyable track on Machine Head, and definitely not a standout like the other tracks featured on Made in Japan. And that is exactly what makes it so useful for its purpose on this album: a 20-minute jam session built completely on improvisation. And I’m not talking ‘God, this is boring, let’s walk away from the concert’ silly kind of improvisations. No, I am talking DEEP PURPLE IMPROVISATIONS here. You need to have unique musicians like Blackmore and Lord to make these sessions, and these boys know how to keep things going. Sure, the track is not going to be a regular listen, but the suspense the band manages to create for 20 minutes in total is astounding, as they put out their last drops of energy to close off one hell of a performance.

That fulfilled experience which is called Made in Japan will leave you thinking two things. One: There will never be any band quite as unique as Deep Purple, and two: Why should I even bother listening to their studio records again? What this band created in Japan in 1972, they, and certainly not anybody else, have ever equalled since. Forget In Rock. Forget Machine Head. If you were planning to ever get a single Deep Purple record, do yourself a favour and get this, as it tops literally everything they have ever done. This is one of the very best and unique live albums ever made, and more than just a couple of very good performances. Anyone should have this. Anyone.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
August 18th 2009


8239 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Maybe a bit overpraising, but hell, this is one classic album.

Mendigo
August 18th 2009


2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

uh, yeah, overpraising indeed, but well-written ;)
it's a huge album for sure but I can't help dozing off every now and then. I love the version of Child in Time though.

Nagrarok
August 18th 2009


8239 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The drum solo and the duel in SKOW become less interesting after a while, as well as Space Truckin', true, but this remains a classic album for me. And yes, Child in Time owns here.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2009


8357 Comments


great review, yes it is a bit praising, but it's very well written, a sure pos from me. Here is some friendly editing though since i am a stupid nitpicker hahaha:

To say that all members are on top of their game quite the understatement, as every corner of Made in Japan is filled with fantastic moments.
Ther eshould be a IS after the word "game"
This in 1972, and though it is not known to us listeners, Deep Purple must’ve been high on drugs.
This was in 1972...
The duel becomes more and more powerful, and reaches his climax when Blackmore breaks down and Gillan comes in with a very high-pitched, almost ear-splitting scream.
should be its instead of his

Also a funny fact, all the pos votes you gave for my The Duskfall reviews were deleted. I don't know why, I even asked the mods, but they implied that he who voted for my reviews (you) has been been troll voting and so all his votes were deleted.

Nagrarok
August 18th 2009


8239 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

members is plural, so I think it should be are. Other two are typos. Should be all fixed up now.

As for the troll voting, I think that's pretty ridiculous. The band has only four albums, and if I think all of your reviews on them are well-written, I should be able to vote that.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2009


8357 Comments


no i mean there should be after the word game To say all the members are on top of their game is quite the understatement...

And under troll voting they meant that you have been troll voting somewhere else. The votes you gave me are not troll votes, they implied you have been negging someone elses review baselessly. They didn't say that it was YOU who did the troll votes but I put the pieces together since every one of my Duskfall reviews is mising a pos and at that time when I lost the one on my last review, you were the only one who had voted so far. I mentioned to the mods also that you would never do such a thing (troll negging), but idk. Maybe it has something to do with Conor as he wanted to get rid of his account then he troll negged some other guys and accidentally the mods mistakened you for Conor and also deleted yout votes?

Nagrarok
August 18th 2009


8239 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh, now I see. I'll fix that.

I have no idea what this whole troll voting story is about. I pos when I think something is well-written, and I'm not so quick to neg at all. I remember there was an album I voted neg on twice, but that was because I didn't remember I already voted on it then.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2009


8357 Comments


I think the mods maybe mistakened you for Conor as Conor publically said he troll negged some users who he didn't like in order to get his account deleted. Idk how or why, but your votes (at least for me) were deleted too. It is quite weird to be honest

Nagrarok
August 18th 2009


8239 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

And now I see two of my pos's for my Nostradamus review were deleted. I'm not happy about that, since 9/9 was my best pos streak so far (and I personally found it was one of my best reviews as well). I can't imagine how the mods would mistake me for Conor though. And why the hell did he want his account deleted anyway?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2009


8357 Comments


that I don't know, but he is now under the name LeperCon. And yeah sad stuff, one of those deleted votes was definitely Conor's, don't know who the other one belonged to because when I last looked then my votes for your Deep Purple reviews were still there, and you got many votes during you Priest discography sio i have no idea who that vote could have belonged to.

Nagrarok
August 18th 2009


8239 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I s'pose I'll be asking him when he's around here. Strange story nonetheless.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2009


8357 Comments


strange, very strange. I'd ask more about it from the mods, but I don't want to bother them, since there are definitely more important things for them to do. Still, it wouldn't hurt to get those votes back.

Nagrarok
August 18th 2009


8239 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nope, it wouldn't. I won't be possing those Duskfall reviews till this is further sorted out though. And now about this review for a change, did you check out some DP yet?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2009


8357 Comments


No man actually, I haven't really been home all that much if to exclude the last 2-3 days and it has completely slipped under the radar, but since you reminded it to me now, I'll go and look over my cd collection. I believe there should be somekind of a Deep Purple album somewhere in there, i just can't imagine which one it could be

Nagrarok
August 18th 2009


8239 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I sure hope for you it be this one.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2009


8357 Comments


I found the album Perfect Strangers. Is that any good?

Nagrarok
August 18th 2009


8239 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Pretty solid. It's the reunion of this classic Mk II line-up after Deep Purple disbanded following Come Taste the Band, but it is a bit different from what they did in this period.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2009


8357 Comments


ok, since I am too lazy to search anymore, i'll just now listen to that.

Nagrarok
August 18th 2009


8239 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Luckily my cd collection is neatly alphabetically ordered and allows anything to be found in seconds ;).

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2009


8357 Comments


unluckily the cd collection I took that cd from doesn't even belong to me so it was a bitch to find anything from there. I am rather happy I even found a Deep purple cd.



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