Despite a complete lack of sleevenotes, this pair of beatingthe- bootleggers sets captured the quintet before yet another bust-up and Blackmore’s exit down the minstrel’s path. The setlists vary slightly (the German concert tagged at 20 tracks, the Birmingham one 18), but both are decent examples of Purple’sï¿½generally impressive stagecraft, if not its zenith.
From Stuttgart, opener Highway Star has a bass-heavy mix, as does a rambling Black Night with spartan lead vocal. The then-recent tune A Twist In The Tail fails to inspire, before Perfect Strangers kicks arse, as does a clapalong Knockin’ At Your Backdoor. Anyone’s Daughter is plain odd, before a meandering Child In Time rips into the sweet Anya. Lazy, Space Truckin’, Woman From Tokyo: all the classics are rolled out, albeit with the latter featuring more occasionally strained vocals. But Speed King has a witty Teddy Bear’s Picnic interlude thrown in, and Hush and Smoke On The Water always rock.
The NEC set is similar, but better, though Highway Star has a perambulating mix, before a singalong Black Night features snippets of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock’n’Roll. Some silly scatting on Anyone’s Daughter leads to more robust versions of the likes of the harmonica-laden Lazy, and the set is a step up altogether.