Eagle Rock Entertainment
Metal Express Rating: 9.0/10
Release Date: 2011-06-28
by: SEAN MELOY
The story of the controversial and self-destructive Deep Purple Mk. 4 line-up has now been unearthed. Back in 1976, everyone thought Deep Purple had met their end. The five legendary musicians that made this line-up: David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Tommy Bolin, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice, were arguably the most volatile assemblage in the band’s history. A wild stereotypical tale of sex, drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll brought this band from the height of stardom to a shattered state of chaos.
The Phoenix Rising DVD is an absolute treat for any Purple fan. The DVD is essentially divided into two parts: the first is 30 minutes of never before released concert footage recorded live at Budokan Hall, Japan in December, 1975. The second half is a very in-depth 90-minute documentary entitled “Gettin’ Tighter,” which chronicles all the events that took place during the Mk.3 and Mk.4 years, and the inevitable downfall of the band.
The Budokan concert footage provides an incredible amount of insights into the dynamics of the band at that time. Coverdale and Hughes are clearly the leaders of the band on stage. Their powerful presence controls every single maneuver of the band. A very young and fit Coverdale, all of 24 years old, demonstrates himself as a seasoned veteran. Hughes, donning a very revealing white jumpsuit, has himself planted near center stage and sings his parts with passion, and plays a very powerful bass guitar. Guitarist Tommy Bolin spends most of his time in the background, and appears to be playing quite uncomfortably after suffering an injury with his right arm during their recent trip to Indonesia. Jon Lord, the great keyboardist, was visibly tired and bored with the current status of the beloved band of his creation. He is also seen giving stage direction to Bolin at times as well. Finally, Ian Paice is always the solid drummer. He only got better as Deep Purple progressed through the years, and gives 100% effort during this show, and every show.
Unfortunately the footage is only five songs: “Burn”, “Love Child”, “Smoke On The Water”, “You Keep On Moving”, and “Highway Star”. The sound and picture quality is superb. There are also several camera angles shot, which provides even more depth as the band shares a glorious step back in time.
The “Gettin’ Tighter” documentary is really the highlight of his DVD. Present day Glenn Hughes and Jon Lord are interviewed separately. The story begins when Ian Gillan and Roger Glover leave the band and are replaced by Coverdale and Hughes. Both Lord and Hughes had an incredible amount of praise and respect for Coverdale throughout the documentary. Hughes talks about good chemistry between them, and his contributions in the studio and on stage.
Lord delves into his discontent at the band’s change in direction from being Blues-oriented to becoming more Progressive, and also was very unhappy about Ritchie Blackmore leaving the band. He even stated how he wishes he would have left the band with Blackmore. Hughes, on the other hand, was very proud to be a member of Purple. He also goes into great detail about his cocaine addiction and destructive behavior. They also talk very in-depth about the making of the albums Burn, Stormbringer, and Come Taste The Band, as well as their frantic life touring. Fans will love listening to the very different points of view of events explained by both Hughes and Lord.
Purple fans may not have high regard for the Mk. 4 line-up; however Phoenix Rising not only provides insight to band, but admiration for what Purple accomplished. It also answers all the questions as to why this band self-destructed and broke up for nine years. Also available is a DVD/CD package. The CD contains the five live Budokan tracks from the DVD plus three additional tracks.