Machine Head was recorded in Switzerland at the Grand Hotel in Montreux. Using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio in December 1971. The album was released 3 months later. It’s the 6th studio album by Deep Purple and one of the best in my opinion. Not my favorite album though, it will probably come later, but unfortunately I don’t have it my collection right now. According to Rateyourmusic.com most people rate Machine Head highest, but In Rock, Fireball and Perfect Strangers follows right after. It’s one of them 🙂
I guess the high rating in general can be addressed to the presence of Smoke On The Water. It also is good, and a classic in the rock genre, I acknowledge that – but not my favorite on the album. In my opinion Highway Star and especially Lazy is far better. As a whole it’s a brilliant album for sure, and even Hard Rock/Heavy Metal is not the best genre for me in general, Deep Purple is on of the best bands ever. With a gigantic repertoire of great songs they deserved their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
I have been at 3 Deep Purple concerts in my life, one of them was my second best concert ever (the best was Roger Waters performing The Dark Side Of The Moon). One was like average, and the last one of my worst concert experiences ever, only beaten by Fleetwood Mac in Aarhus, Denmark. You can’t blame Fleetwood Mac for that though, the stadium where they played have massive problems when the wind is in a specific direction. That day it was storming and people were simply not able to hear the music. But anyway – the worst Deep Purple experience first:
It was one of the later concerts, performed in Denmark, December 15, 2011 in Forum Horsens. I accuse that specific concert for triggering a tinnitus I have to deal with. It’s a indoor stadium and the location might be responsible for some of it, but either the band members or their sound crew should have reacted. It was way too loud for the small arena, making everything a big sound mess the whole concert. Screaming guitars, muddling bass noisy drums. An inferno of instruments and noise and echo. Clever people brought protection for their ears, I didn’t and was too stubborn to leave, now I paid for a concert I damn wanted something for my money. So I got a tinnitus…
That said, let’s get to the good experience. This was back in 1998 at the Open Air Festival, Frauenfield in Switzerland. My sister and I hitchhiked to meet some German friends, and went to the festival with them. So, listening live albums like Made in Japan and 24 Carat is not a pleasure for me, the long and endless solos are simply too much in a living room. But on an open air field with 50.000 other people it’s totally different and this warm summer evening everything just went into a higher meaning. They played so well and had total control and synergy with their audience. Being there was a feeling of connection with something bigger. Intensity inside and with a huge moving mass of people and love. If you are a regular concert goer I am sure you know what I mean. The small pot cakes might have done their job too, in Switzerland marijuana was already legalized at that time. And what a set-list in this order:
Hush, Bloodsucker, Strange Kind of Woman, Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic, Pictures of Home, Fingers to the Bone, Almost Human, Woman From Tokyo, Watching the Sky, Seventh Heaven, Smoke on the Water, Evil Louie, Lazy, Perfect Strangers, Speed King, Black Night, Highway Star!!!
Just a few words about the Frauenfield festival. I was there only once, too far away, but I never experienced anything like it before or since. At that time it was really OPEN. Not only to the sky, but you kind of feel that anything is possible. Kind of freedom feeling. The free marijuana thing was one subject of cause , another thing was the huge and open spaces. There was so much place for the amount of people – you really had to all op in front of the stage before it became crowded. Except there, in front of the stage, open fire was legal everywhere. The festival crew had already placed some kind of large torches at strategic places, making a fantastic atmosphere in the evenings. Next to them was small piles of wood. Everywhere small groups of people gathered, making their own small fireplaces. The security people was a local motorcycle group. If you started a small fire yourself they soon arrived, just checking if everything was OK. If so – they soon came back with a wheelbarrow full of wood for the new group. And soon after that you will be a large group with your own party in the party.
Well, despite of many times on Roskilde Festival, Samsoe, Gent and other festivals, that one in Frauenfield remains as the absolute top of festival experience for me. Because of the above experiences and the rest of the artists attending. Actually, ads far as I know, it is the one and only festival where Rolling Stones have played in newer time:
The Rolling Stones, Pur, Deep Purple, Eros Ramazzotti, Björk, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Dave Matthews Band, Richie Sambora, Stroke, Propellerheads, Gang Starr, Transister, Anouk, K’s Choice, Elisa, Joaquin Cortes, Angelique Kidjo, Les Sauterelles, Eagle- Eye Cherry, Jazzkantine, Clawfinger.
Well, this post got a bit out of hand. More about Deep Purple next time I take on of their albums into revision.
Ritchie Blackmore – guitar
Ian Gillan – vocals, harmonica
Roger Glover – bass
Jon Lord – keyboards
Ian Paice – drums, percussion