Purple history – Rochester 1976

Posted: January 28, 2016 in Classic Rock, Deep Purple Family


40 years ago today, Deep Purple MK4 played in Rochester, New York, and back in April of 1992 photographer Stephen Wunrow touched on the subject in a major article about his life as a fan of the Purple Family in my publication DEEP PURPLE FOREVER (issue 5). Deep Purple were actually playing in his hometown, so there was no need for spending hours on the road for Stephen this night. Reading his piece now I can see that he was quite disappointed.

“I saw them at the Rochester War Memorial Arena, with Nazareth opening. Both “Come Taste The Band” and “Teaser” had decent airtime on the radio (more so than “Stormbringer”) and this morning a local station played the entire version of “Space Truckin´” from “Made In Japan”, which was a bit strange since it showcased how much things had changed. Still, I was ready to support Deep Purple once more if they could live up to the expectations. I ended up right in front of Tommy Bolin. Sadly, the show was an embarrassment, both visually and musically. I recall that I enjoyed Jon Lord and that Ian Paice was phenomenal, but Tommy was distracted and not really there. Glenn Hughes was terrible and David Coverdale seemed to be going on autopilot mode. It lacked a real identity. Tommy was painful to watch, it was just a loud wall of noise. I felt a great relief later when I heard that they had broken up”.

Indeed, if you look at reviews from this tour you will see that the band often failed to come across as the superior outfit that they were supposed to be, and even David Coverdale admitted in the UK press prior to the UK tour that was coming up next that all was not well. Clearly an attempt to lower expectations in case they didn´t deliver 100% on the return to home turf.

For Tommy, this was home though, and he was brilliant on some nights and not so brilliant on others. His spirit was probably not in it. The party side of things didn´t help. For Purple, the writing was on the wall.

(Top image: Tommy Bolin on stage in Rochester, by Stephen Wunrow – originally in use in DEEP PURPLE FOREVER 5)

  1. […] 1975 – Jakarta 1975 – Japan 1975 – America 1976 – New York 1976 – Rochester 1976 – Miami 1976 – Oklahoma City 1976 – Long Beach 1976 – Tempe […]

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