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Tokyo, '72
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Japan Tour 1972

"Live In Japan" 3 CD (front cover)

17 August, 1972
Tokyo, Nippon Budokan

I was a drummer in a band at the time, and we covered some Deep Purple numbers too. You could tell from Ian Paice's drumming styles how much reverence he felt for Buddy Rich. However, on the night of the show, it was Richie Blackmore, on whom my eyes were glued on, even more than on the drums.

Ritchie has the charisma of a magician or a charlatan, and I was an easy score, totally taken in by his tricks. Millions of guitarists (e.g. Yngwie) admit to having been influenced by Ritchie, and it's easy to understand why. For me, his guitar play during this show was far more splendent than anything by Jimmy Page or Mark Knopfler. Yes, splendour is the most fitting word to describe him. I was totally overwhelmed by the guitar 'magician', who kept flying atop Ian Paice's rhythm. The chromatic melody of his solos, and the thrilling rhythm of it all. Remembering back now, there was almost none of the bluesy stuff heard that night which he would later play a lot of. Open-mouthed, I kept watching... only him, my eyes were glued to him, like watching a violin virtuoso at play.

By the way, Ian Gillan's vocal is not really to my taste, though I can't quite pin down any concrete reason. It's probably his overdrive singing that simply doesn't agree with me. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Ian Gillan has opened up a new door to many hard rock singers to follow with his style. And Jon Lord's creeping, distorted Hammond sound was simply fantastic.

Ian Paice was even more of a pro than I had imagined. He played the highly technical parts with total ease, the exact triplet fills and his solos testifying to his mastership. He was the most important base for the 'hardness' in hard rock. It was against such a glorious backdropthat Ritchie waftingly danced his "black dance". He would rub his guitar against the mic stand for a special effect, play endless virtuosic melodies, not even bothering to look at the fretboard. All teenage would-be rock heroes in Japan were totally and utterly thunderstruck.

I am sure that, had Deep Purple played Woodstock, they would have raised hell. Yes, Ritchie came, showed us all what a true guitar hero is all about, and went. Just remembering his flamboyant performance brings back the goose pimples. I repeat: he played all his highly technical riffs without even looking down at the fretboard - amazing!

Takaya Hatano


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