A Life of Their Own
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Ted the Mechanic
Long Time Gone
Ian Gillan explains
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
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.
Discography'Long Time Gone' has officially appeared only on the cybercast of Montreux