Deep Purple: Phoenix Rising – DVD Review

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Deep Purple - Phoenix Rising

Deep Purple is a band with a long and illustrious history. The Mark IV version of the band – featuring David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Tommy Bolin, Ian Paice and Jon Lord – is one of the shortest lived and least known versions of the band. The new DVD and CD set Phoenix Rising is a great piece that documents a rare and important part of both band and rock history.
The main reason for wanting this collection is a ultra-rare five song film “Deep Purple Rises Over Japan” which was filmed in December 1975 and never released until this DVD. The film has been restored and remixed in 5.1 audio, which gives it a slightly better feel. Although the entire concert was supposedly filmed by the record company only the five performances survive. It was originally set for release in 1985 at the height of Coverdale’s Whitesnake days.
Although Purple fans have the Mark IV album “Come Taste The Band”, there are few recordings that exist of the band live, so Rises Over Japan serves as a cool treat for Purple fans and a solid documentation of Tommy Bolin’s guitar heroism only months before he passed away.
The accompanying 80 minute documentary Getting’ Tighter, goes through the band’s line-up change, the recording of Come Taste The Band, the tours and controversy that accompanied the release and ultimately the death of Bolin. The documentary features rare footage from the band’s performance in Jakarta, Indonesia and unveils a string of bad luck that resulted in crew members deaths, the band being robbed of $750,000 and arrests in the foreign country.
Making the release a little more special is the addition of not one, but two, booklets totaling 62 pages of Mark IV history. Rounding out the release is a CD called Rare Live Tracks From MKIV History, which includes material from the Japan show, as well as a concert in Long Beach, California.
Phoenix Rising is an extraordinary release from a band we all know, but the version of which we know least about. For rock history buffs, the Tommy Bolin footage is key, as is the vocal work of a very young David Coverdale, who does his best with Purple classics like Smoke On The Water, Burn, Highway Star and Stormbringer. A big thank you to the folks at Eagle Vision for uncovering such an amazing musical jem – this is by far the best video release from that team so far.