A Celebration of Past Triumphs with Gillan - Live: Triple Trouble
After treating us to seven brilliantly packaged and remastered Ian Gillan Band and Gillan cd's, all packed with great bonuses, after bequeathing us with a box set of all eleven singles by Gillan, in CD-sized replicas of their original 7" sleeves and a dvd of the videos, Ian Gillan and the good folks at Demon Records have gifted us with a glorious new set! Authorized by The Man himself, Gillan Live: Triple Trouble arrived in shops on November 9th and reminded us all what good old kick-arse rock and roll is all about!
Another first-rate release, this 3-disc, slipcased set packed full of great photos gives us a glimpse of Gillan, the band (and the man), doing what they do best-delivering earth-shaking live music to the fans. However, the unique thing about Triple Trouble is that it also highlights both incarnations of the band. Disc one features the Gillan/Tormé/McCoy/Towns/Underwood lineup in full flight and fine form at The Rainbow in London on March 5th, 1981. This never-before-released* show is a blistering romp through their Glory Road set and displays the raw power and raunchy sound they unfailingly delivered. They pound their way through Gillan staples like "Unchain Your Brain," "Vengeance," and "No Easy Way" with a wild abandon few could match. We're treated to some heavy blues with the menacing "Trouble," and the incredible "If You Believe Me" with a passion and purity that has always made Ian such a great singer. And with their then-yet-to-be-released Future Shock album just weeks away from release, the band storms through the title track, "Future Shock," and "Bite the Bullet," introduced by Ian in impeccable, flawless French! And no Gillan show would be complete without the band careening its way through the Little Richard classic "Lucille" like a Range Rover through a go-cart track! The band is on fire, Ian shines as Master of Ceremonies (or maybe the Ringmaster…), and Bernie Tormé attacks his guitar like some rabid heavy metal mutant punkster… incredible!
The second disc in this set consists of Gillan triumphantly headlining the Reading Festival on August 29th, 1981. This is the full set from start to finish, approximately half of which has never been released, and while less than a year has passed since the set heard on disc one, the band has seen a significant change. The inimitable Janick Gers has assumed guitar duties, maintaining a raw sound while bringing a more fluid elegance to Gillan's sound. The band is clearly stoked to be headlining the Reading Festival and they proceed to make the most of it. After the haunting strains of "Second Sight" they launch a blitz attack on a post-Future Shock set, McCoy nailing the bass line down as Gers' slinky guitar solos snake their way through it all. The band stomps and storms its way through newer songs like the eternally hilarious "No Laughing In Heaven," "Bite the Bullet," and the rollicking "New Orleans," while provoking just the right amount of testosterone-driven swagger for "Trouble" and dizzying despair that is "On the Rocks." A master of his craft, Ian has the crowd wrapped around his fingers and eating out of his hands by the time the band hurtles through "Lucille" and crashes to a halt to close the show. This disc documents a powerful and untamed band at a highlight in their career and takes the listener along for the wild ride!
The third disc, which closes Triple Trouble, is comprised of two live sets of previously unreleased performances and contrasts the two different lineups in a more direct fashion. The first five songs were recorded on April 23rd, 1982, and broadcast on BBC 1's Friday Rock Show on May 8th that same year. Recorded live in the studio without an audience, the band absolutely shines. Ian's screams are wild and dangerous as ever while Colin Towns draws a variety of emotions, colors, and textures from the keyboards. Mick Underwood and John McCoy are tight and precise, and Janick Gers riffs like a madman and unleashes sly, elegant solos from his Fender Strat. "Mutually Assured Destruction" and the immortal "Born to Kill" are stunning highlights which grab you deep inside and hold your soul hostage for endless powerful moments.
The last five songs on disc three were recorded on March 4th, 1981, at Nottingham Rock City with a live audience and a ferocious Bernie Tormé evoking sounds from his guitar reminiscent of the ghost of Jimi Hendrix in a car crash! It's quite interesting to hear these two immensely talented guitarists contrasted in this manner. Ian Gillan takes a cool-as-hell swagger through "Trouble," and then unleashes the mad blues "If You Believe Me," as his lust-soaked lyric becomes a living, moving thing that only an immensely talented singer like Ian could control. And of course, where would we be if the third disc didn't come to a crashing, screaming halt with Gillan's cover of "Lucille?!" It arrives like an old friend staggering through the door of your local pub, absolutely legless, all warmth, smiles, and fun!
Gillan - Live: Triple Trouble is an absolute must have for Deep Purple fans, Ian Gillan fans, and rock fans who want to be taken back to the heady days when the NWOBHM was burgeoning. Gillan was an amazing band, sometimes overlooked, often underrated, but who never failed to deliver the goods. If you were there and want to bask in the memories, if you're a new fan who wants to hear what Ian was doing before the Deep Purple reunion, or if you're just a fan of great rock and roll with a distinct British flavor, Gillan - Live: Triple Trouble should be in your collection or on your list. What a grand gift to the fans from Big Ian and Demon Records… and just in time for Christmas, too!
Brent A. Soileau
On the Deep Purple Hub, we take a lot of pride in our members showing their support for the artists, especially those involved in Deep Purple, by purchasing their official releases. So, as always, I ask that all Deep Purple Hub members please show their support for Ian by purchasing the new album. Ian has been a great supporter of the Hub from almost the beginning, so let's do our part and return the favor! This album is kick-ass rock and roll and is a really cool collectors' piece, so please shun illegal downloads and purchase this album. After all, we want to make sure that both Big Ian and the record company know there's enough support out there to produce more of these gems for us fans in the future!