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Long Time Gone

Long Time Gone is a strange thing amongst Deep Purple songs - so far it has been played no more than twice on stage, may or may not see light as a studio release, but has been 'released' as part of a cybercast of a show. This is also me taking a liberty as I was at its premiere, along with three other THS editors.

I was introduced to the song in a way very few Purple fans are lucky to witness. The show, on the last day of the 2000 Montreux Jazz and Blues Festival, was the first time the band had played a show since the middle of April, and as such, they had taken the opportunity to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon running through a soundcheck and rehearsing song intros and endings. Generally, band members only seem to soundcheck themselves if they are experiencing various problems, but this time all five members were on stage.

Anyway, during a break in proceedings, Steve started to play a particular riff over and over again. At first, I just presumed it was some kind of exercise as this was the time when his wrist was in a  cast. Stephen turned to me and made a comment that he hoped Steve made a note of it as it would make a great song.

The next thing we know is that Paicey, Jon and Rog have joined in and we get a full-blown instrumental take of the track. It was a wonderful, bouncy little blues number, possibly a little ZZ Top-ish around the edges, and the fact that we were lucky enough to witness it brought a big grin to my face - now if only we could get a bit of harp on there, I'd be a very happy man!

Next thing I know, the band are at it again, this time with Gillan singing away and yes, playing the harp. The song just seemed to work straight away... it sounded right.

Later, during the show, Ian gave a quick explanation of it - an optimistic view of the afterlife - and they played it through to an enthusiastic crowd. The song kicks off with a few beats from Paicey before Steve comes in with the riff. Jon adds some boogie-woogie piano with Ian on harp and finally Rog picks up the bass. Later in, Ian plays harp over the guitar solo, before Jon finally switches to his Hammond. For those who were not lucky enough to be there, the whole show was put out on the web (albeit with a female voice saying "Montreux Jazz Live" every few minutes). Sadly, the link no longer seems to be functioning.

Though I have never seen it 100% confirmed, I presume that the song was also played live in Spain a couple of days later. However, in the meantime it has never been aired in public since.

Clips from the show have been released on the 'New, Live & Rare' video and DVD, and several other songs have been shown on various TV shows. As yet Long Time Gone has yet to appear, but who's saying that it won't. Maybe it will become the new album's answer to Soon Forgotten - played twice before the album was released, but not heard live since. Maybe the band have changed their mind and Long Time Gone's only lasting record will be the version recorded in Montreux.

Either way, it has lived its short life to date in the public domain, and even if nothing is ever heard of the song again, it at least represents a good example of Purple trying something out on stage before they record it.


  • 'Long Time Gone' has officially appeared only on the cybercast of Montreux 2000.


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