Apache-Playing the Shadows (TCDNIJIFUNE – 6 – 1, 2)
Kyoto-Kaikan Dai-Ichi Hall, Kyoto, Japan – December 10, 1976
Disc 1: SE, monitor check, Over The Rainbow, start, Kill The King, mc band introduction, Mistreated, mc, Greensleeves, 16th Century Greensleeves, mc, Catch The Rainbow, mc, Lazy, White Christmas, Man On The Silver Mountain, blues, Man On The Silver Mountain, Starstruck, Man On The Silver Mountain
Disc 2: mc, keyboard solo, Stargazer, unknown tune, Apache, Still I’m Sad, keyboard solo, drum solo, 1812 Overture, Still I’m Sad, Toccata And Fugue in D minor (Dorian) BMV 538, guitar solo, A Light In The Black, guitar solo, A Light In The Black, Over The Rainbow, announcement
1976 was a watershed year for Rainbow. Their landmark studio album, Rising, was released and it demonstrated a marked, and dramatic, improvement in sound and songwriting as compared to the band’s relatively subdued first album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. 1976 was also when the group did its first world tour, which was in support of Rising, and it appears that the media was very impressed with the live shows. New Musical Express reported, for example, that it was “clear that there was enough variation of pace and mood to substantiate Blackmore’s claim to a more melodic approach. He’s pouring out those high-speed, high-intensity sounds. His guitar sings lyrically, screams abusively and gibbers madly, all at a volume some notches above the pain threshold.”
Audience responses to Rainbow’s live act in 1976 were similarly enthused, with there being reports of chunks of plaster being knocked off some of the older venues and seats being removed from the floor. Thankfully, the ground-shaking nature of Rainbow’s 1976 shows was also well recorded, with commercial releases of three separate concerts in Germany from September, and 1977’s Live on Stagebeing a compilation of recordings from Germany and Japan in 1976. When viewed in this context, Tarantura’s exclusive access into Mr. Peach’s cavernous vaults has provided not only vastly deeper insights into Rainbow’s legendary 1976 Japanese shows, but also a watershed period for collectors of Rainbow’s staggering live catalog.
In Apache-Playing the Shadows, Tarantura present another, previously uncirculated Mr. Peach recording of a December, 1976 Rainbow concert in Japan. The rear of the title’s beautiful jacket displays a 50th anniversary emblem for the Kyoto venue where the show took place, and is named after Rainbow’s rendition of The Shadows’ 1960 smash hit, “Apache”, during the second half of this show.
For those familiar with Rainbow’s set list in December, 1976, there are no surprises here. The ferocity with which this show was played should also be of no surprise. For instance, after Dio introduced “Mistreated”, there was minimal tinkering by Blackmore before he lashed into his signature speed riffs leading into the song.
The deep resonance of Powell’s bass drum accents further set the tone, but Dio was especially enraged sounding in how he sung this song that night. The track’s quieter passages were recorded with crystal clarity, including amazing audience clapping in unison, but too much can’t be written about Dio’s stunning efforts in this song. At approximately 9 minutes into it, his voice soared as he sang “when you lose your mind . . . want to cry all the time . . . when there’s nowhere to go” in echoing, angelic sounds reminiscent of a boy’s choir. Simply stunning.
The power of his vocal performance received a separate track during “Man on the silver Mountain”, which is emotional to hear in this quality given his recent passing and the total absence of any other noises by the recorder to detract from what he was doing. For extra measure, “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” was absolutely killer, and recorded beautifully, as was “Catch the Rainbow”, which included Blackmore using phrasing during his solos that differed from other concerts. It is no exaggeration to say that with each successive listening of this recording, further, impressive detail is revealed. This exemplifies why Mr. Peach’s recordings are so highly regarded, and why this title is so special.
The band were also in high spirits throughout the show, with Tony Carey first trying to whip-up the audience during the monitor check, Dio making numerous (and rather uncharacteristic) remarks between songs, and the band’s tinkering with an unknown tune after “Stargazer”, before they played The Shadows’ “Apache”. The version of “Stargazer” was bizarre, however, because of multiple instances of the band losing their place, Powell doubling the beat’s tempo during Blackmore’s lead, and Dio mixing up the lyrics. As consummate professionals, however, the show continued without relent, including a thunderous “Still I’m Sad” that eventually took things into “A Light in the Black” that was sandwiched between nasty Blackmore soloing.
The1st edition’s glossy jacket bears a great close-up picture of Blackmore on the front, with pictures of Peach’s master cassettes, Powell, Dio, Blackmore, and the Kyoto venue on the inside. The discs have altogether different pictures on them, and are pieces of art in their own right. Because the 1st edition of this release sold out in short order, a second edition is apparently in the works. All in all, this is yet another tremendous Rainbow concert, and another tremendous production by Tarantura that is highly recommended.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)