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«Bombay Calling» – Some Thoughts on the New Release

Ear Music has released a Deep Purple concert from Mumbai, India on April 8th, 1995. The show was professionally recorded for TV, and was released on VHS and DVD video around year 2000 – or Y2K as those of us who remember it might refer it as.
The concert was later also released as part of the «Around the World» DVD set.

The new release is the first time the set is officially out on vinyl, and probably also on CD, to the best of my knowledge. Both versions come with the DVD from the show. «Fireball» is omitted on the vinyl and CD versions.

First of all – widescreen on TV was still a few years off from becoming usual in 1995. This is a 4:3 format (SD) video.
But it is a pro job, multiple cameras, rather good editing (although the «Copenhagen 72 Syndrome» – seeing other band members than the guy who’s actually soloing – is prevalent).

The video seems to be lifted straight off previous releases. This DVD seems to be straight Dolby stereo. Not very punchy sound, but OK.

I think it’s more or less the complete show, besides the start of “Fireball” being clogged by the press conference jitter. (Steve Morse says he’ll probably be playing parts of the Blackmore solos far closer to studio versions than Blackmore ever did, before going off on stage to do no such thing, apart from those runs on «Highway Star» and «Smoke on the Water».)
I think Jon’s keyboard solo and Steve’s guitar solo are cut – they seem much shorter than normal – but I’m not sure.

Anyway – what do we get?
This is unique footage from the few touring dates that «Mk Morse» did in 1995. After the summer tour in Europe in 1994 with Joe Satriani on guitar, the band did a couple of gigs with Steve Morse in November 1994, two in Mexico and one in Texas.
Then they played two gigs in Florida in early March 1995, when they were recording what would become the masterpiece «Purpendicular». Next up where two concerts in Seoul, South Korea, then nine dates in South Africa in March and April, before they headed off to India, where they played Mumbai and New Delhi.

I’d received tapes from the Florida gigs before I heard this concert. I can’t remember now if the South Korea gigs were circulated on video or just tapes, but I had those as well. And the unplugged South African radio session, with an instrumental version of what would become «The Aviator», and four other songs.
So I’d heard the concerts where early versions of «Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic» (often dubbed as «Ken the Mechanic» on bootlegs back then), «The Purpendicular Waltz», and, sadly just once, «Soon Forgotten» were played.

We only get “Purpendicular Waltz” from the then new songs here, but that song is very well played.

In retrospect, watching «Mk Morse» live in this early stage is interesting. Not only because Steve Morse hadn’t acquired the fan that kept his hair looking lit at this time. This is a multi camera job, so we get great shots, like Ian Gillan at the back with the congas, watching Steve Morse soloing with a big smile on his face. Ian’s pleasure of sharing the stage with Steve is evident throughout the show, right down to him ad-libbing (what I think is) «What’s that you say, I’ve got Steve re-Morse» on the last verse of «Lazy».

There’s incredible close-ups of Jon Lord’s fingers dancing across the keys now and then. We get to watch Jon in the foreground of the screen, watching Steve laying down a run Jon then has to mimic during «Speed King», and nailing it, even though Steve is way outside the territory Ritchie used to stay in.

The synchronization of the sound is not perfect. Especially during close-ups of solo performers, I notice that there’s a lag between what we hear and what we see. As it’s been twenty-odd years since I last saw this, I don’t know if the original was like this as well. This is my main gripe with the product.

The performance is good, but we notice it’s early days for the five of them. Ian Gillan is mostly in good voice, perhaps struggling more towards the end of the show. Seeing Steve’s playing now is very interesting. At the time I was still adjusting to this new guitarist. I see now, after a quarter of a century with Steve as Deep Purple’s guitarist, that he plays effing well – for instance during the solos on «Pictures of Home», which are outstanding.

For fans of Deep Purple after the golden age of the 70s, this is music history well worth diving into. It’s documentation of a transitional phase for Deep Purple. Even though the two concerts in India were the last in 1995, they were a more coherent band when they hit the road for the «Purpendicular Tour» proper in 1996.

(I’d love to have an official, great sounding recording of the first leg of the «Purpendicular Tour» btw, while they still were playing upwards to seven of the songs from that album, if my memory from Brixton in March 1996 serves me well. It might, but who knows.)

On a closing note: While «Child in Time» is performed here, probably for the only time ever in Mumbai, there’s no mention in sleeve notes of Jon nicking the chords from It’s a Beautiful Day’s “Bombay Calling”, which this album is named after.

Is this release worth having? Definitely. If you have the DVD already, you’ll have to consider if you need a physical audio copy as well, of course. Your mileage might vary.

Trond J. Strøm

21 Comments to “«Bombay Calling» – Some Thoughts on the New Release”:

  1. 1
    Janbl says:

    Heh, “Mk Morse” – is the new constellation thus “Mk Bride”?

  2. 2
    mike whiteley says:

    I own this as a stand alone DVD & as part of the Around The World Live set.I won’t buy it a 3rd time.
    Basically, if I want an audio CD of the concert, I’ll just turn off the TV.

  3. 3
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    @1 Funny. But with so many “marks,” it might be easier to just start labeling the lineup by who the guitarist is/was.

  4. 4
    Ivica says:

    It’s a shame that there isn’t a LIVE concert album with a setlist of songs from the Steve Morse era, but there are so many exciting songs that are not in the hard rock style, but are wonderful as : ” Clearly Quite Absurd , Time For Bedlam , Don’t Make Me Happy ,Birds of Prey , The Power of the Moon ,Loosen My Strings , All I Got Is You , Throw My Bones, Almost Human,Walk On ,The Aviator, Nothing At All,Haunted,A Simple Song,Any Fule Kno That,Doing It Tonight …It should also be written and said that Steve together with guys performed many songs that were not played while Rithie was in band on the concert list and they are classics DP as ” Bloodsucker,”Hard Lovin’ Man”,”Into the Fire”,”Fireball”,.”No One Came”,”Pictures of Home”,”When a Blind Man Cries”,”Maybe I’m a Leo”,”Mary Long”

  5. 5
    Rock Voorne says:

    Will be interesting to see if Mark Bride will play Morse songs never played live like Mark Morse did with a lot of Blackmore tracks.

  6. 6
    Gregster says:

    Yo, no doubt it is a great show, & likely a special release for those who must enjoy their music on vinyl…So be it, enjoy !

    @4 Ivica, EarMusic does happen to have an e-mail section where you can submit an inquiry / suggestion, so go ahead & let them know what you’d like from them, as I’m sure that there’s plenty of music “in the vault” to choose from, & choosing the “what” is sometimes what they would like to hear from people about. *And not getting a reply doesn’t mean that no one read your message !

    Peace !

  7. 7
    David Black says:

    Trond, you wrote “I can’t remember now if the South Korea gigs were circulated on video or just tapes, but I had those as well.”

    The South Korea gigs were filmed for TV and were a bonus “Live In Seoul, South Korea 1995” on DVD1 of the Around The World Live 4 DVD-Box set. The soundboard soundtrack for which was widely bootlegged as “Mechanic Live 1995”

  8. 8
    nupsi59 says:

    Hi everyone. I’m still waiting for a proper video release with Joe Satriani on guitar. I was at the concert in Hamburg and I know this event was recorded/filmed.

    Have a nice Day!

  9. 9
    Heepfan says:

    @nupsi59 – I totally agree. I’d love to see an official release from 1994 with Joe Satriani on guitar. There must be some soundboard recording that is good enough to be remixed and released officially.

  10. 10
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I have the new release (and had the gig as a bootleg on CD in the past), it’s a historically interesting recording for sure and no one plays badly on it, but the band was – understandably so – at this point still finding together, Steve’s guitar playing was interesting and inspired, but not yet the foundation it would later become for the sound of Mk VII/VIII. I do remember though that when I heard the bootleg many moons ago, I preferred Steve to Joe Satriani right from the start.

    Only a year later (and after having recorded Purpendicular), Mk VII would sound sleeker, tighter, more massive and dense … what have you. Live At The Olympia is a better testament to how hot Mk VII were and how Steve gave them a new lease of life.

    Still, not a bad release at all.

  11. 11
    Bill says:

    I have the original DVD release and I also bought the new CD/DVD, it appears to be a limited run of 10,000 copies. The video of the original is very dark (low light) and in comparison, the new release seems a bit light corrected and somewhat washed out and grainy at times. But, it is better than the original. Sound is good, it’s a shame they had to cut Fireball as the opening track from the audio CD. Must have just dumped the broadcast version of the video to the audio CD.

  12. 12
    Gregster says:

    @8 Yo, there are many different “markets” around the world, with some having there own “official releases”, & others missing out on these…You can try DiscJapan.com to source many releases, that aren’t necessarily bootlegs, though some discernment is required…

    Quite often now-days to avoid legal issues, the term “For promotional purposes only” is applied to items, & may well be a legal loop-hole for some “interesting activity” to persist, since legal fees etc etc often out-weigh rightful prosecution. That said, you take your chances, & sometimes you win with a high quality item, & sometimes your money is best spent elsewhere.

    IMO, bootlegs are teasers that ultimately lead people to official releases, so whilst a band may miss-out in royalties in this arena, they ultimately gain with official release purchases a little later. I would hope that most bands see bootlegging as free advertising paid for by the purchaser, & perhaps a useful guide as to what folks are buying. And quite often bootlegs are available for a limited time only, so losses are minimal…eg, A “batch” of CD’s is made, sold, & gone forever…Radio broadcasts however are safe-bets for a reasonable purchase, though a classic example of perhaps ripping-off an artist…It’s like a dog chasing its tail in this aspect I think, since the artist was happy for the air-play in the first-place, so round & round we go.

    Personally, I can’t & will not justify illegal activity like this, but I have only bought bootlegs knowing that there’s no more official music available to buy from an artist, especially once a band has folded, & or band members are no longer with us.

    Peace !

  13. 13
    Steve says:

    @4. If you can find a copy of “live at Olympia 96” then you’ll get a concert with 6 cuts off the then new purpendicular album. It’s not a complete set of Morse tunes but it’s probably the most diverse of the ( official released) concerts the band ever released. You’ll find “Ted/ Cascades/ Screaming/ Purp Waltz/ Rosa’s Cantina/ Hey Cisco.
    Six new tracks from 16 in the setlist, nearly 40% new. Wish those days would come around again!

  14. 14
    Rev. Harry Longfallis says:

    JSG #3, one problem with your proposal: There were three lineups with Blackmore. Do we call them all “Mk. Blackmore”?

  15. 15
    Blue Boy says:

    What about “Abandon” and “Bananas”???

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Uhum, shouldn’t all organisational and structural issues be put in hands of natural competence for such topics, i.e. German ones? ; – ) Himmel, vee haff ze vays to make you ünderständ …

    There are eras and there are line-ups. An era may span seveal line-ups. We have two Blackmore eras – the first one spanning three different line-ups: Mk I, Mk II & Mk III, the second one featuring the (re-)reunited Mk II and Mk V. There is only one Morse era (albeit of very long duration) with two line-ups: Mk VII and Mk VIII.

    Bolin- and Satriani-“led” line-ups Mk IV and Mk VI were too short of duration to qualify as eras.

    And whether McBride will have an era named after him or just be the guitarist of Mk IX, likely the last DP line-up, remains to be seen. Having bought and heard the man’s five solo albums I am sure that a DP studio recording with him will at the very least be interesting and nothing to worry about. His songwiting style will be easily compatible with the other guys. It wouldn’t harm if Big Ian would let him sing a bit too.

  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The Honorable Reverend @14: Just three? Now which one did you chose to forget? Mk I (I hear Nick S groaning in the background …) or Mk V?

    Incidentally, Father, are you a secret member of the RnRHoF too? ; – )

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    @ 16 – to be repetitive again & no disrespect to Joe Satriani as I quite liked his live playing of classic Purple tunes, however as we know he wasn’t an official member, no albums etc & just helping the band out even if he may have been invited to ‘join’. Regarding Simon McBride & his solo songs & albums, pretty standard & predictable in many ways to my ears from what I have heard. A good guitarist though & hopefully he will be able to get a few riffs in there if they decide to record a few songs. I don’t know about his ‘singing’ either, best leave that to the big fella me thinks. Cheers

  19. 19
    Gregster says:

    @18, I recently acquired a 5-CD boxed-set of Joe Satriani ( one of many boxed-sets now acquired ) & didn’t really know what to expect, thinking it would all be flash-in-the-pan, guitar-master-nostalgia, but I was wrong…The music / albums change with the times, & he delivers the goods 110% imo, without ever over-cooking anything…And his guitar sound / tone is to be revered. Very pleased with every album in the set, certainly not over-the-top. It would be $20:00 well spent for anyone who bothers to grab it ! And it was his thoughtful words in the “RB story” DVD that got me looking for his stuff. Great to hear “Surfin’ with the alien” again, but that’s only 1 out of 5 great albums, as they’re all very different.

    I always laugh when Joe in the “RB story” DVD says that he called his manager back a 1/2-hour after knocking-back the gig, to change his mind & accept the DP offer ! Steve Vai is very-well mannered & respectful of RB too, with only kind words to say…He even shows us his first Stratocaster that RB inspired him to grab.

    Anyhow, “Bombay Calling” has Steve, & what a great player too, as the following quarter-century of music proves !

  20. 20
    Hollywood Joe says:

    I went to the Sunrise Fla. gig in March 1995 with no expectations knowing ahead of time that Blackmore had left the band. It was an amazing concert, the band was in great spirits & it showed in their performance, they kicked ass & had the crowd on their feet roaring for more ! It was obvious that Steve fit in & this was going to be a long, happy marriage for Deep Purple !

  21. 21
    Purpledaniel says:

    After some hesitation, and not being a Morse-era fan really except for Now What!?, I decided to get this one. I am enjoying it very much. Despite the set list, I prefer this to LATO. It still has a darker feel to the music (the shadow of TMIB still present) which to me is fundamental in DP’s sound.

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