It took us a while to find the time to sit down and watch this, but we both found it an exhilarating experience. The transfer to DVD has thrown up some discussion areas, like how come there are so many more different camera angles, and we'll try to get answers to this anon. For 90% of the gig though it's much better, in particular Space Truckin' and the camera demolition, which is electrifying to watch now, where it was anti-climactic on the video. The digital transfer has inevitably shown up some of the limitations of the old video, but is often sharper and clearer. The biggest boost is in the audio department, which restores the power and energy of the show to our screens at last (I bet it's even better in 5.1). Some people may miss one or two of their favourite little angles from the original, and there is some jerkiness in places from a couple of the cameras due to the transfer process, but overall I'd say it was a much better viewing experience. Simon & Ann

"When this arrived in the post I was expecting to simply see Deep Purple Mk3's most famous show transferred from VHS to DVD, with the welcome addition of 'Lay Down, Stay Down' and two intriguing bonus tracks built out of alternate camera angles. What I didn't expect was that the whole show would be an entirely different production consisting of largely unfamiliar camera angles. As such it turns out to be way superior to the old VHS version, helped by a sharp (and loud!) soundtrack and better views of the action, making the event at last look every bit as dramatic as its larger than life reputation. Still, it did come as quite a shock, which raises a lot of questions.

Such as... why all the different camera angles? No-one knows for sure, but as this review is on the Internet (bless it's little cotton socks) I can have a wild stab at an answer, then change it at a later date if I'm not right. Smashing. Anyway, facts first; the producers of this DVD transferred ABC's original broadcast master tape of the show as is, and did not alter the visuals in any way, beyond cleaning them up. So, we're seeing the original 1974 edit of the show, warts and all; the warts being some rather soft focus camera work at times and one or two choices of viewpoint that wouldn't be my personal ones, but over-all the 1974 edit knocks spots off the old video release and makes the DVD a very exciting release indeed, even without the bonus items. I suppose it's now one big bonus item.

To get back to the question, why all the different camera angles? I reckon that the BBC videotape release from 1981 (from which all other VHS and semi-official DVD versions up to this point have been made) could have been put together from a stash of raw Cal Jam footage which came into their possession. The cross-fades on it show that they most probably had access to some original camera 'multi--tracks', but perhaps not all, otherwise they might have made a more exciting job of the attack on the TV camera. On the BBC tape you witness this from the side, losing the impact almost completely, while on the ABC DVD you get a lens-eys view, and are able to chuckle at the immediate effect, as the camera staggers blurrily on. With such differences there are a few places where I inevitably miss the BBC edit, namely the 1-2-3-4 beginning to Blackmore's 'Space Truckin' routine, but for the rest I'm a happy camper. I do wonder what happened to the footage which the BBC used, but it seems that for now no-one knows.

I did begin to compare the BBC video and ABC DVD versions to work out how extensive the differences were, and quickly gave up. I'd say maybe 1 minute of 'Burn' has the same footage on both versions. I did miss the sight of Paice drumming with his tongue hanging out from the VHS, but was engrossed with the show as a whole, something which I only half-expected to happen.

The additional material on the main show is great to see, from the original intro of ABC's broadcast (footage of the band's Boeing 707 'Starship' landing together with the programme announcer's voice-over), to additional in-between song chatter, (including Mrs Coverdale's little lad's use of Anglo Saxon-isms which were unsurprisingly docked by the BBC ... a job they had got used to over the years!), the additional song, and the extra seconds at the beginning and end... my favourite being the on-stage announcer's dumbstruck "that'll be impossible to follow..." at the end of the set.

Of the rest, Captain California's 8mm home movies, including views from the control tower, show the true beauty of the DVD format. On their own they would look merely chaotic, but in this context they make a fascinating part of the package. Together with the ABC master they add immense atmosphere to the event, somewhere that the old BBC video-tape seemed to lose. It's also nice that this silent footage has been given a soundtrack of radio spots, interviews and music. Well done to the producers!

The bonus versions of 'Burn' and 'Might Just Take Your Life' built out of alternate camera angles lose a lot of their lustre when set up against a full show littered with alternate camera angles, but have been entertainingly presented with sharp cuts between views.

As for the rest.. I don't go for written histories or photo galleries on DVDs, seeing them as a bit pointless, but maybe that's just me. The audio commentary is ok, but I feel that most people who notice the difference in the visuals would be hoping for reference to the 'new' footage. The lack of commentary from the band is also unfortunate.

'Live In California 74' is an exciting release, probably more so than the DVD's producers realised, with plenty to please everyone from general rock fans, through to Cal Jam connoisseurs (who can now spend forever dissecting the content). I'd strongly recommend anyone with any interest in Deep Purple Mk3 to buy it, and to those who already own the old VHS edition, for God's sake don't throw it away!"  review: David Browne

"It's a bit difficult to do an analytical review of this release, because I just love it sooo much. How about "WOWWW", that'll do. Love all the extra bits as well. Y'know you are going to end up getting criticised one way or the other. The camera angles on the main video event are quite different from the ones used on the original video. Mostly this is an enhancement, but I must admit I missed a few bits, such as Blackmore grinning his head off just before he lauches into his destruction in 'Space Truckin'. Also there is an odd bit in 'You Fool No One' where we are suddenly shown images of Blackmore's solo spot in the middle of the main song. We then see the same images during his solo spot. Picky I know...

Loved the 8mm additions though, well worth including. Shame though that none of the band could add their own input for the commentary. Two people make the show. First of all Ian Paice. You can watch him from any angle at this gig and he is magnificant, a joy. Also of course Ritchie. I have always loved his playing during Mk3 and this concert is a wonderful example of his technique around this time." review: John Blackburn

The Deep Purple 'Live In California 74' DVD is available to buy from the
dpas online store

The disc is Region 0 (all regions), and is available as both


deep purple dvd reviews