Review Summary: For fans of Deep Purple, long jams and improvisations.
Whenever the discussion goes to the best live bands of all time, Deep Purple is a name that always appears. The main reason is the legendary Made in Japan
which is highly regarded as among the finest live albums ever recorded. Deep Purple, when they perform live, is a harder, heavier and louder band than on studio and thankfully there are numerous live albums that prove that.
Live in Stockholm
was recorded in the capital of Sweden on November 12, 1970 in support of their breakout album In Rock
. It was initially released as Scandinavian Nights
in Europe and Live and Rare
in the US. However, the 4-track master tapes were later discovered and are remixed for this release. Live in Stockholm
features the setlist in the correct order whereas in Scandinavian Nights
it had to be adjusted due to vinyl time restrictions.
One of the best Mark II live recordings, Live in Stockholm
features rawer, louder, more energetic and generally improved versions of the band’s studio recordings. The setlist is representative for a Deep Purple concert at the time. The album clocks at 116 minutes and half of the set is taken over by “Wring That Neck” and “Mandrake Root” which last for half an hour each. Considering that the sum of the studio versions for both songs is 11 minutes, the rest is soloing and improvisations. Music fans who look for improvisations will certainly find some very exciting moments within those 50 minutes. Being the main soloists, Blackmore and Lord take up most of that time which is a joy to their admirers. Even though both of them are renowned for their soloing ability, Ian Paice proves on this live album once again that he is among the best hard rock drummers by providing us with an overall exceptional performance. “Paint it Black” is basically used as a platform for a drum solo as the band inserts parts of the Rolling Stone original in the beginning and at the end of the track. Not being a drummer myself, I found this track a bit tedious, as a Deep Purple cover closer to the original song would sound more interesting. Naturally, Live in Stockholm
includes a few tracks from In Rock
. “Speed King” and “Into the Fire” are both very energetic while they also feature extended solos by Ritchie Blackmore and excellent performances by Ian Gillan. However, the most outstanding moment of the album is the astonishing performance of “Child in Time”; a heavier rendition of the song with an extended mid section, stretching to almost 20 minutes. “Black Night”, the highly successful single that was used as a promo for In Rock
at the time, closes the album in the same vain it was opened; with extended soloing and a duel between Blackmore and Gillan not even close to Made in Japan
On the other hand, not everyone will be that tolerant to long jam sessions or improvisations taking up so much time and naturally there are moments that are less exciting. Both “Wring That Neck” and “Mandrake Root” could have been easily cut by 10-15 minutes each and be more efficient. In addition, this album might not be proven very popular among people who are not familiar with the band’s music. The album contains very few tracks and it’s possible that they won’t be in a position to fully appreciate the extended soloing in case they’re not familiar with the original versions of the songs.
To sum up, this album is a fine example of high chemistry combined with virtuosity and solid song writing. Deep Purple were improvising in their attempt to discover the limits of their music rather than just to show off. As a result, this album is definitely more experimental than the colossal Made in Japan
. Is it better overall? No, because by the time Deep Purple recorded Made in Japan
they had a deeper and better catalogue which resulted in a more diverse setlist. However, two points where Live in Stockholm
surpasses it are improvisations and the fact that this recording comes from just one concert instead of best moments within a tour. For fans of the band, this is a must.