Deep Purple: Live @ Jakarta, 1975!


Deep Purple. Hmmm. Nowadays, many would be too ashamed to admit defeat when it comes to the power of the original Deep Purple. Like most great bands from the early 70s, they went on too far, too old, too “dad-rock” for today’s heavy metal fans to express deep love.

Pioneering British punk rockers who initiated the “Year Zero” explosion of anti-rockstar excess and lofty escapist lyricism, counted Deep Purple as one of the main reasons Punk Rock happened. They were hated with a vengeance. Punk was a complete anti-thesis of what Deep Pirple stood for. And judging by the continuing popularity of “Smoke on the Water” in Malaysia, plaguing the airwaves and also annoying supermarket speakers even now in the new millennia, I agree that Deep Purple should be banned forever.

That said, I’d admit to the fact that when I was just discovering rock’n’roll at the ripe age of 11 to 13, Deep Purple was one of my favourite bands. Not that I know much about them those days. But like everyone else who were there in the mid to late 70s, growing up among older brothers and his friends garbed in denim and long hair, Deep Purple would never escape our consciousness. Hell, without Deep Purple and their hard rock brethrens, I’m sure Malay kids like me would end up listening to nothing but ABBA and The Carpenters. And as a friend used to alledge; that is why a majority of the Malay kids are into “ROCK”, while the Chinese are mostly into soft-pop! “Do you know why Hong Kong is not ROCK? Blame it on The Carpenters!,” he said.

Anyway, nobody can say shit about Deep Purple during their prime. That is from the point of the In Rock album (1970) to Stormbringer (1974). These were the crucial four years, which also featured one of the best live album ever, Made in Japan (1972). And in those four years, they had two different periods, one with singer Ian Gillan (til 1973) and the other with David Coverdale (1973 til 1976). After that, you can excuse yourself from following the band career. By the time Deep Purple reach 1975, maverick guitarist Richie Blackmore had left the band to form Rainbow with Ronnie James Dio (yes, that DIO). And yes, David Coverdale left the band in 1976 and formed another classic band, Whitesnake!

Back in 1982, legendary Deep Purple vocalist, Ian Gillan came to perform at Stadium Merdeka with Dr. Sam & The Klinik as supporting band. Me and my brother took a bus from Terengganu to check this show out. I was 18 then, just fresh off school and were taking a year off by selling burgers in the town of Dungun. We came down to KL using the burger stall money, putting our business at risk! But hell, it was a crap show. Even Dr. Sam, who was supposed to be the ONLY Malaysian “reggae” artist ever, was not “reggae”, more like a rock band trying hard to sound reggae! Total bullshit really.

As per usual great bands would only visit the Malaysian shores AFTER they were great. It was never when they were great. Never ever, that is apart from FUGAZI in KL 1996 lah!! I mean, you get The Scorpions here after decades of crap albums. They didn’t turn during the great era of the Lovedrive or Animal Magnetism LPs, nope! The same with Deep Purple. I think they came here in the late 80s. And of course, by that time, we would rather spend time pogoing to Punisher and Nemesis!

What I didn’t know is that Deep Purple played Jakarta, Indonesia in 1975! Dang! At the time, they may have lost Richie Blackmore but they still had David Coverdale singing. And according to this BigO posting, they really did a lot of damage to the Indonesian populace!

“Deep Purple played two dates in Jakarta in December 1975 promoting Come Taste The Band. For the Mat Rockers there, it probably did not matter who was in the line up, it’s Deep Purple all the same.

But the Indonesian trip was marred by tragedy, as reported in the article, Indonesian Nightmare Strikes Deep Purple, by Peter Crescenti for Rolling Stone magazine (January 29, 1976), Crescenti wrote: “Tragedy and mayhem struck the Deep Purple tour December 4 in Jakarta, Indonesia, when one of the group’s road crew, Patsy Collins, a well-loved celebrity of the British rock scene and guitariest Tommy Bolin’s bodyguard, was killed in a six-story fall down a service elevator shaft at the band’s hotel. Then at a Deep Purple concert the following night, Indonesian police armed with machine guns, truncheons and a pack of Doberman pinschers waded into the audience, seriously injuring over 200 people.

“Deep Purple played to an estimated 150,000 Indonesians in two shows at the outdoor Senyan Sports Staduim as part of their first tour since adding Bolin to the band. The first concert, which saw about 20,000 people break down fences to join 35,000 ticket holders, was relatively free of police reaction. ‘They let everybody be,’ keyboard player Jon Lord said. ‘There were machine-gun guards all over the place and they were pushing kids around, but there seemed to be no organized police thing.’

“Back at the group’s hotel after the opening concert, Collins got into an argument with two other member of the road crew and left their room to go upstairs to his own. The elevators in the hotel were operating slowly, so the impatient Collins decided to walk up the fire escape stairs to the next floor, only to find the door on the next landing locked. Then, inside the stairwell on the sixth floor he found an unmarked, unlocked door. He opened it and hastily stepped in, plunging three-floors down the service elevator shaft, crashing through some hot water pipes… Hospitalized, he died early the next morning from internal injuries and burns.

“Surprisingly, the Jakarta police arrested the two crew members Collins had argued with and, later, the band’s manager, Rob Cooksey. The three were held on suspicion of murder and isolated from the jail’s other prisoners for two days, said Cooksey, ‘with a kind of threat hangin’ over us. All the time we were under suspicion of murder, they were making us sign autographs and things. You just wouldn’t believe the mentality.’

“The night following the accident, with three of their entourage in jail, Deep Purple played their second show. About 6,000 armed and helmeted policemen, backed by dogs, circulated throughout the stadium. Before the concert began, an announcement warned any Europeans in the audience to congregate near the side of the auditorium.

“No sooner did the music begin, getting the rock-starved Indonesians to their feet dancing, then police waded into the crowd, savagely butting, clubbing, punching and kicking the boogieing audience. Then the Dobermans were let loose, joining the attack. Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord later said, ‘Every time an effort to get up and boogie was made by any section, it was immediately pounded on.’ He also recalled seeing one mammoth dog dragging a kid across the floor by his arm, its teeth sinking into the boy’s flesh.

“The band played only half a set and left the stage frightened and sickened. ‘They went crazy,’ said Cooksey of the Indonesian police. ‘It was like maneuvers for them. Just a nightmare’.”

Holy shit! And you know what? BigO Magazine has kindly made the bottleg recording of the show available for you to download!

Go here: Deep Purple Live at the Senyan Sports Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia, December 4, 1975

Click > & Listen!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Deep Purple rocking Jakarta with Burn, December 1974