Made In Europe
Warner Brothers / Metal Blade Records, 1976
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/04/2001
1975 was supposed to be a banner year for Deep Purple. They had survived the departures of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, and had brought in another powerful vocalist in the guise of David Coverdale, successfully recording two albums with him. (We'll eventually get to Burn and Stormbringer.) It seemed like things were finally going well again.
Then, ka-pow. Richie Blackmore, one of the remaining three original members, bolted from the group. Made In Europe was supposed to be the single-disc equivalent of Made In Japan and to be the high point of this incarnation of Deep Purple; now, it was as joyous as a wake. Even today, while there is some material on this disc to get excited about, it sometimes does sound like the group is going through the motions, leading to the inevitable splintering.
The two best-known songs from the Coverdale-led version of Deep Purple, "Burn" and "Stormbringer," are the obvious highlights on this disc, one that eschews any songs from the Gillan era. "Burn" is quite possibly the better of the two, capturing the frantic energy of both Blackmore and drummer Ian Paice while maintaining a level of sanity that keeps the song from exlpoding into a ball of flame. Bassist Glenn Hughes seems to do well in this surrounding, and is given a little room to express himself on the four-string. "Stormbringer" is no slouch either, even if it doesn't recapture all of the magic of the studio version.
Of the remaining three songs, "Lady Double Dealer" (from Stormbringer) is the most notable, suggesting this track could have been one of the classics from the Coverdale era of Deep Purple had it been given more of a chance. If only the remaining two songs had captured that kind of focus.
"You Fool No One" stretches out far too long, and even a drum solo from Paice can't save this song from the shredding pile. The same goes for "Mistreated," a song which seems like it was sculpted to show off Coverdale's blues-infested vocal chops. Instead, it comes off as being rather listless, especially when it segues into a cover of "Rock Me Baby". The thing is, this track could have been a little better if it had been injected with some real emotion; as it sits, it sounds a bit sterile.
It did seem a little early for Deep Purple to be putting out a live album with this particular lineup; then again, Made In Japan immediately came after Purple's biggest album to that time, Machine Head. But there's not enough musical depth on Made In Europe that, had the band stayed together, another album or two might have provided. (As it was, Deep Purple was only good for one more album, Come Taste The Band with Tommy Bolin on lead guitar, before they packed it in for an eight-year hiatus.) Made In Europe is more of an album that hints at what could have been, instead of being a showpiece of what was... at least for a short time.