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Just add fire in the sky

Deep Purple headlined the 50th Montreux Jazz Festival this past Saturday, July 16. Swiss Air Force has sent their aerobatics team to greet the event. One of our readers just happened to be on a boat crossing the lake at the time and captured it:

Lake Geneva flyby; photo © 2016 Axel Dauer

Lake Geneva flyby; photo © 2016 Axel Dauer

Lake Geneva flyby; photo © 2016 Axel Dauer

While another our regular saw the same from the shore:

All images are copyright © 2016 Axel Dauer, all rights reserved.
Video courtesy of Andrey Gusenkov.

18 Comments to “Just add fire in the sky”:

  1. 1
    Angelo Pinna says:

    montreux cititzezen whay dont build a monument for song that talks about your city and all the world recognize this song? you did it for marcury is ok but purplle create mahine head in your town in di difficult condtion just claude help them to realize a masterpiece of all time all the the fans would be happy and great satisaction for all the people recogize a song really famous talking about your city sorry my anglish is por but lots of people think this my opinon

  2. 2
    Keith Livingstone says:

    As did a certain Mr Morse from his hotel balcony.

  3. 3
    nupsi59 says:

    Looks great, thank you Axel!

    Have a nice Day!

  4. 4
    Juraj says:

    Very good.Thanks.

  5. 5
    Mike Whiteley says:

    How about the show itself ?? Were there any special moments (ie: rarely played songs/new songs) to mark the auspicious occasion ??

  6. 6
    Rob says:

    Just wondering. I think Smoke is a great track. Totally understand its visceral appeal. But it’s not in my personal Purple top ten. Anyone agree?

  7. 7
    MacGregor says:

    Rob @ 6 – i agree totally. Smoke is an over rated song, not meaning that it is not worthy of being rated so well, but it gets all the attention on a ‘commercial’ scale, so to speak! Purple have plenty of better songs indeed! A similar scenario is the Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon album. Rated highly & rightly so! Sure it is a classic, but for many people there are better albums from Pink Floyd! But it always gets the ‘commercial’ over the top comments, all the time! Cheers.

  8. 8
    George Martin says:

    # 6
    Agree, it’s my least favorite track on Machine Head. It’s a perfect example of being in the right place at the right time. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great riff and a great story but there are many other Purple songs that are much better. But none will ever be as big of a hit!

  9. 9
    Tommy H. says:

    @ 6, 7, 8:

    I don’t agree at all. The way Smoke is played and how it sounds is unique and to a certain degree untypical for Purple. That and the fact that all of us listened to the song way too often (sometimes unwillingly in a music store) is why Purple fans don’t like it too much. It just feels strange that Purple is recognised for a song like this. But it’s still one of the best riffs ever written. I can’t think of a second riff where the tritonus plays such a key role. That, its simplicity and big sound make it a master piece. From an instrumental point of view the beginning (how the instruments join together to generate that big sound) and the guitar solo are cultic. The difficulty back then was to realise all this genius put into one song if there was so much high quality material written at the same time and Purple most certainly thought that it’s too simple, maybe similar to their sentiments towards Space Truckin’. If you compare those two Smoke still has a superior originality to it and the song tells you a story which is where Ian’s and Roger’s inputs come in being almost as important to the song as the riff itself. People’s interest in Purple’s lyrics hasn’t been as nearly as big before and after they heard Smoke. A song doesn’t get that well known for no reason, you know.

  10. 10
    Wiktor says:

    I think Roger Glover once said that “Highway star” was the “typical” Deep Purple song…. not Smoke on the water… I like them both! But I seem to belong to a very small club that also like “Smooth dancer, Super trouper, Rat bat blue and the lovely Our lady”… I listen to those songs any time… They are high up there on my list… high above the Burn and Stormbringer albums… yes even higher than the Fireball album…LOL

  11. 11
    DeeperPurps says:

    #6, 7 & 8…..Exactly. you are all correct. Smoke is the Purp’s signature song, but it pales in comparison to many other far superior tracks from Machine Head and several other albums. Yes its an absolute classic riff, but for sheer musicianship and song craft, there are many other better examples of Purple’s versatility and excellence.

  12. 12
    Jimbo says:

    I agree with Angelo: Smoke On The Water is what ultimately defines Montreux at the eyes (and ears) of the world. By the way, not the best Purple piece, but the most famous guitar riff ever, for sure.
    Mercury statue? OK, but now give us a 50 times larger Purple Monument !!!

    P.S.: I saw the gig last Saturday and it was very solid to say the least

  13. 13
    Rob says:

    Yes, Tommy H you make good points. Perhaps if we avoided listening to Smoke at all for a couple of years, we’d appreciate it again! I admit I had to look up tritones! I prefer the Machine Head to all live versions, which is odd for me, because the elements you describe are all more audible. It’s nice to hear the ‘space’ in these early records. But I’m still not putting Smoke in my top 10!

  14. 14
    nupsi59 says:

    Ian Gillan was once voted as the singer/writer for the most pessimistic/negative lyrics. I explored that statement somewhere on youtube, you have to find out by yourself.

    They recorded “Smoke” as a present to Claude Nobs, who told them:
    “You are crazy! This one belongs on the album! This will be a huge thing!”

    Thank you Claude! (RIP)

    The lyrics in this song are the most truly written lyrics in rock history.

    For more details watch the “Making-of Machine Head” DVD again!

    Have a nice Day!

  15. 15
    MatsB says:

    Rob, #6, no, SOTW is not on my top 10 list. Some songs from Purpendicular would make it there, if I were to write the list. To me that album has a good degree of the “freshness”, for lack of a better description, that probably is what makes Highway star my #1. That being said, which song I like best at any point in time will likely also depend on how I feel at the moment. Love Fireball as well, both the song and the album in general. And yes, I think Anyone’s daughter has all elements of a DP song, except for the sheer thrust, of course;-)

  16. 16
    DeeperPurps says:

    Think of the unheralded gems that don’t get all that much attention on each of the first four Mark 2 albums: “Hard Lovin’ Man” from In Rock; “Fool’s” from Fireball; “Pictures from Home” from Machine Head; and “Rat Bat Blue” from WDWTWA. Excellent examples of wonderful song-craft, musicianship, fire, virtuosity, etc. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in each one of those albums.

    Try “Flight of the Rat”; “No One Came”; “Maybe I’m a Leo”; and “Smooth Dancer”……

    The list goes on and on…………..

  17. 17
    Scott W says:

    As far as MH tracks, I’m with Jon Lord when I think ‘Pictures Of Home” is the most adventurous track. Next would be ‘Maybe I’m A Leo’. All the different versions of this track (Quad mix, remix and remaster) have great RB solos and they have different passages! Other MKII albums have some gems not spoken about much: ‘Super Trouper’ has a great quirky solo by Ritchie…no one else could come up with that in a million years..kind of a similiar in feel to ‘No One Came’ another goodie!

  18. 18
    Geoff Wakelam says:

    For anyone who says Smoke is too simplistic, that is its genius. The band didn’t even think it worth a place on the album due to that simplicity.
    When bands play new songs at a gig that we’ve never heard before, we listen quietly, intently, and politely. Next time, we might get into that song and bop along to it but still won’t really enjoy it until we get a recording so that we can familiarise ourselves with it.
    I still can’t play guitar all these years later. But when I first heard Smoke, I picked up my guitar and was able to chug along to the third verse. After a few more listens, I could almost copy the solo in a heavy handed clunky fashion. And the riff? I got that first time.
    In private or at a gig we all love to play air guitar on our favourite songs. But with Smoke, even the worst guitarists (me) can play along on a real guitar. That’s what makes it so brilliant. Its one of my favourites for that reason.
    There are better songs, pictures of home, Anya, Rat Bat Blue, Smooth Dancer (in fact most of Who Do We…), and loads more that many won’t mention (Mandrake Root anyone?)
    Musically, its too basic. That’s why they didn’t consider it for the album. Thank god Claude convinced them otherwise. Its brilliant.
    If they didn’t play it at a gig, who of us would not take part in the resultant indignant riot?

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