In 1972, Deep Purple were flying higher than ever. The quintet – at the time, singer Ian Gillan, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Roger Glover, keyboardist Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice – had just released their sixth album in five years (and third with the Mk II lineup), Machine Head. It was their first chart-topper in their native England, and also went Top 10 in the States. By this time, the band had quite a sterling reputation as a live act, but were reluctant to attempt a live album for fear they could not produce the exact kind of polished set they could in studio.
Ultimately, upon discovering a burgeoning bootleg market around their tours, they relented, recording three consecutive nights in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan (where the band were particularly adored). Focusing solely on putting on a great show and less on how the final product would sound (to this day, members of the band have reportedly never heard the album), Deep Purple’s gamble paid off handsomely. A single backed with both studio and live versions of the instant classic (and arguable progenitor of heavy metal) “Smoke on the Water” was a U.S. Top 5 hit. The album went Top 10 in America and Top 20 in England, eventually earning a platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America for over a million units shipped.
Double-disc deluxe edition features one of the three shows – the August 16 visit to Osaka’s Festival Hall – on one disc and complete encores from all three shows on the other. The main show is newly remixed, while the encores are not.