On April 6th, 1974 Deep Purple appeared on stage at the California Jam festival at the Ontario Speedway in California.Taking top billing at the all-day event, and with great weather, Deep Purple and the other bands drew a crowd of around 165,000 people. It became the largest single-day paid attendance in U.S. rock concert history.
Deep Purple’s standing at that time was enormous thanks to the massive success of Machine Head and Smoke On The Water and the festival came towards the very the end of a lengthy American tour with David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes (joining founder members Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord and Ian Paice). This show was special though, to be televised across the country through the ABC TV network, and the band pulled out all the stops, cancelling all other shows on the west coast to stoke demand.
Today their California Jam performance is rightly regarded as a classic by this line-up, but at the time pre-performance arguments almost saw them thrown off the bill before they’d even got on-stage. After Ritchie Blackmore’s pyrotechnics (when he ignited trays of gasoline and almost blew himself, drummer Ian Paice and various roadies off stage) there were worries that the group would never work in America again. The show also saw the guitarist’s legendary attack on an intrusive television camera with a Stratocaster. All thoughts of an encore went out of the window as roadies bundled musicians into waiting limos to get them over the state border before state police could be called in.
This astonishing concert is now the subject of a new documentary book, Deep Purple at the California Jam, published in autumn 2012 by Rufus Stone Limited Editions. Collecting together hundreds of black and white and colour images from a number of photographers who had all area access to the concert (and rehearsals), the large 12″ by 12″ format presentation allows these images to shine. Most of the photographs have never been seen before and are being fully restored and color corrected.
Backing the images up is a detailed and lengthy essay on the concert and the build-up to the performance, from the first meetings by the promoters through to the completion of the PA towers. The text is supported by an impressive collection of rare memorabilia including internal documents, set-lists, passes, posters, tickets and even the repair bills for the TV camera.
In total this is the most comprehensive publication ever devoted to a single Deep Purple performance and is certain to excite fans of the band around the world.
Mindful of the current economic climate, as well as the deluxe 300 page limited edition, a more affordable version will also be made available. Full details of these will be announced shortly. You can submit your name and email address to receive updates on the book and early ordering details when available here: www.caljambook.co.uk