Purple history – Japan 1975

Posted: December 8, 2015 in Classic Rock, Deep Purple Family


When Deep Purple arrived in Japan for four shows in Nagoya on December 8th 1975, Osaka on the 11th, Fukuoka on the 12th and another prestegious night at the Budokan in Tokyo on the 15th, it came right after the nightmare in Indonesia the previous week (see previous post). On top of this, guitarist Tommy Bolin had injected himself with something that he should not have and the official story as to why he was walking around with a limp arm that was not functioning properly for the job at hand was that he had fallen asleep on it and somehow pinched a nerve. Whatever the truth was, reality now meant that the band had two choices – to cancel the Japanese leg of the tour, or to go ahead and perform with a new guitarist that was not able to do his job 100%. As we know, the band decided to do the concerts.

There was a lot at stake. Top photographers and a film crew was there to promote the band – the world needed to see the new Deep Purple and an all important US tour was coming up in January. The disaster in Indonesia was already the talk of the town and if they had cancelled in Japan it would not have looked good.

Also, the band was welcomed as Gods in Japan, and this helped to get the band through what must have been a pretty hard time. The show in Tokyo was recorded and filmed, and fantastic photographic material came out of the tour and were published worldwide. And you could argue that the band had never looked better. It was a seriously cool outfit – and the general public did not really know what a disaster the dates were on the musical side. Not only did they have a guitarist that could hardly play, they were also – with the exception of Ian Paice – pretty drunk, or high.

I remember seeing the articles with the amazing shots of the band in action and on location in Japan, and I was seriously impressed with how cool the band looked. They looked like superstars. We had two features in our press here in Sweden (POSTER & Tiffany), all positive, not a bad word that portrayed the grim reality whatsoever. And not a single word about what had just happened in Indonesia. That was to be reported in Rolling Stone and over in Germany though.

A gig in Hong Kong on December 19 was cancelled and the members of the band headed home for a well deserved Christmas holiday. They must all have had their own private thoughts about what had just happened in the Far East. Surely Jon Lord, Ian Paice and David Coverdale were now aware of just how fragile the band was with Tommy Bolin and Glenn Hughes behaving the way they did on the party side. And America was the all important market, if they blew it there it would surely be the end. Still, there was no stopping it now and you could argue that it was all in the fate of the Gods at this point. Tickets were selling well for the upcoming tour and the band had a job to do.

On the positive side, Tommy Bolin had played well before Japan and the shows in Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia had been well recieved (see earlier posts). And perhaps the very fact that they were about to tour Stateside with an American member – the first to ever join a major British band – would generate a positive vibe in itself? The press certainly loved the new Deep Purple. It was now up to the band to prove themselves worthy of the legend again.

The profile of the band was high and loads of positive press could be seen everywhere. At this point, many interviews that had been made before or during the release of “Come Taste The Band” and Bolin´s “Teaser” were popping up, and the Far East stuff was spreading around the world.


What had actually gone down in Japan would be known later on when the first bootleg arrived, “Get It While It Tastes”, and part of the show in Tokyo was released as “Last Concert In Japan” in Japan, France, Sweden and a few other countries in 1977/1978 when the dust had settled. Chris Charlesworth´s epic book “Deep Purple – The Illustrated Biography” that were released in 1983 helped to shed some light on the history and the complete Tokyo show has been released as “This Time Around – Live In Tokyo” with enhanched sound quality for a few years now. Add the DVD documentary “Phoenix Rising” with the five tracks from the show that has survived on film from the gig and history has been kind after all. The fans of mid 1970s Deep Purple still have a soft spot for what they were back in the day, and that is not likely to change.

But as Christmas 1975 came around, Deep Purple had its sights on America, and that tour would kick off on January 14 1976.

(Some images from the original post has been removed due to EU regulations)

  1. Heimdall says:

    Could you scan and post that Poster magazine article in high resolution? That would be awesome. I had that issue, and read it over and over…

  2. […] up – Hawaii 1975 – New Zealand 1975 – Australia 1975 – Jakarta 1975 – Japan 1975 – America 1976 – New York 1976 – Rochester 1976 – Miami 1976 – […]

  3. […] If I had to pick a track, it would be “Wild Dogs” (Tommy sings on it). Listen to it here. And if you want to read more about the Japanese tour, you will find it here. […]

  4. Michiel says:

    The Last Concert sleeve was beautiful.

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