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Paradiso 1969
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30 Years On -

The Paradiso Concerts in August 1969

Deep Purple's gig at the Paradiso on the 24. August 1969 has, in retrospect, turned out to be a rare chance for fans to get a glimpse of what the band sounded like in the early Mark 2 period. For the first time, here's the chance to read bassist Roger Glover's own notes from that period.

Although this gig is not out officially, it's well known among Deep Purple collectors. A bootleg LP simply titled "Paradiso Amsterdam, August 23. 1969" suddenly appeared out of the blue in 1987. The recording had been well known among collectors from tape lists over the years, but this was something different. While the tapes had been of the usual poor quality audience recordings from this period usually suffer from, this LP turned out to have a proper recording of the gig.

Paradiso Amsterdam
"Paradiso Amsterdam 1969", a straight CD reissue of the original bootleg LP, in good sound quality.

Heavily sought after by fans, the LP became a rarity, as the legend claims the bootleggers were raided in one of the many bootleg raids around the period. Some copies evidently survived, though. The LP was later used as basis for many of the first Deep Purple bootleg CDs.

For years there were speculations about the source of these tapes, until a couple of years back, when a guy working at the Dutch radio station VPRO contacted the staff at the official Deep Purple WWW pages, asking where the track "Kneel and Pray" was originally from, as he was going to play a live recording of the track, but couldn't find it on any studio album. Indeed he couldn't, as the song had changed its title to "Speed King" when it was released on "Deep Purple in Rock" nearly one year later.

I quickly realized that this meant that the master tapes of the recording could still exist, and that it indeed was a proper recording for radio, not just a very good audience recording or a tape sneaked off the soundboard. I contacted the guy in the Netherlands, and learnt that yes, the radio station had the complete tape, indeed they had the complete night on tape.

Deep Purple's management, Thames Talent, was interested in the recording, and wanted to secure the recording for a potential release. However, in the end the radio station decided they wanted to keep their live recordings for eventual release on their own label. This has still not happened, and the last we heard from our contact at the station was that its all been put aside for now, sadly.

 Ritchie's Blues
"Ritchie's Blues", perhaps the best sounding bootleg release of the concert.

The discussions with the representative from the radio station revealed that the recording is indeed from the 24th August 1969, the second gig at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. They recorded all bands on the bill, and the inclusion of Humble Pie and Brian Auger's Trinity pinpoints the date to the 24th of August. The complete set was the songs included on most bootlegs, except that "Mandrake Root" is recorded in full, of course. (This song is cut short on all bootlegs, although some releases have tagged on the instrumental section from a later recording to make it look like the complete performance.) There were no encores played that night due to it being a festival with several bands, and the complete set list was;

  • Kneel and Pray
  • Child in Time
  • Wring that Neck
  • Paint it Black
  • Mandrake Root

The original bootleg LP later became the source of quite a few of the first Deep Purple CD bootlegs that were available. The best of these, is one titled "Ritchie's Blues", which is a good quality copy of the LP. A couple of other titles are also copies of the LP, but with slightly more vinyl surface noise evident. The only really crappy CD, is the one titled "Crash Landing", which uses one of the lower quality tapes floating around prior to the LP being released.

Crowd sleeps during show top attraction

In the snuggy Belgian village Bilzen, it probably will have been a success but in Amsterdam at the Paradiso this last weekend it could have been better. We are talking about this pop festival which was organized in Belgium and of which a lot of artists would play in the Netherlands as well as a kind of package deal."

[Contemporary press item from "Volkskrant", The Netherlands]

Anyway, enough of the anorakisms. The recording shows the still young and fresh Mark 2 lineup as we've never heard them later. Ian Gillan and Roger Glover had joined the band in June that year, the band were still jamming out and recording the material for "Deep Purple in Rock" in between the touring, and the vitality and joy these musicians feel from playing together is evident on this recording.

The show, being Mk2's seventh performance ever, starts with a blistering, noisy "Kneel and Pray". This is basically what later would become "Speed King" with more blatant lyrics. The sound is a mess, Ritchie's guitar is missing halfway through the song, and the whole stage seems to be in a state of general mayhem. According to Roger Glover, this is due to the fact that this song was what Deep Purple's unskilled roadies/"soundmen" would use to try to adjust the sound.

Amsterdam does have this notoriety for being the pot smoking capital of the world, or something to that effect. After this blistering opening, you'd expect to hear the crowd going wild. What we do hear, is thundering silence, some people applauding politely, and an insecure, baffled Ian Gillan saying "Hello, we're Deep Purple" ... [takes a deep sniff...] ... "Smells good!" He later goes on to comment on how nice and comfortable everyone is looking, sitting down.

Crash Landing
"Crash Landing" uses a poor quality tape

A really moving take of "Child in Time" follows - the sound now has settled, and the band is giving a blistering performance. The audience seems to be warming up, and after an impressive take of the instrumental "Wring that Neck", the audience finally seems to be conquered.

The album closes with Deep Purple's frenetic take of "Paint it Black" - mainly a vehicle for Ian Paice's drum solo - and "Mandrake Root", which sadly has most of the solo cut of because of the limitations of playing length on the original LP.

Before the source of the recording was revealed, there was wild speculation about where it was from and how it was recorded. No radio broadcast was known at the time. I contacted Roger Glover to clear things up. Roger was aware of the recording, and easily settled that it actually is from the Paradiso in Amsterdam.

"On the road to Paradiso
Back of your head, got to pay some dues
Rugged looked down as the Thames swallowed
His life at the Boathouse, Kew
Hot girls, no AC, cheap TV, sleep on the floor
Hallelujah what's a roadie, hush my baby sleep no more"

- This period as recollected in the song "'69" on Deep Purple's 1998 album "Abandon".

Furthermore, he actually unearthed his old notebook from yonder days. So, here follows an unique insight into the early days of Deep Purple.

Article written by Trond J. StrÝm
Special thanks to Nigel Young for additional content, and of course to Roger Glover


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