Close Encounters of the Third Kind (TCDRainbow – 8, 9)
Friday, May 9, 1980, Nippon Budokan Dai Hall, Tokyo Japan
The fabulous Tarantura’s recent Rainbow title, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, is sure to please Rainbow collectors. First presented in a 4-CD very limited 1st edition of 150 gorgeous box sets, which sold out instantly, Tarantura has already issued a 2-CD second edition of this title that presents only the recording sourced from Mr. Peach’s original master cassettes. The box set uniquely offered not only Peach’s stunning recording, but also the recording of this same concert sourced from the original master cassettes from Aquarius. The 4 discs are as follows:
Aquarius Version (TCDRAINBOW -8 -1,2)
Disc One: SE / Land Of Hope And Glory; Count Down; Over The Rainbow; Eyes Of The World; MC; Love’s No Friend; Band Introduction; Guitar Solo; Since You Been Gone; Over The Rainbow; Man On The Silver Mountain; MC; Greensleeves; and Catch The Rainbow
Disc Two: MC; Keyboard Solo; Also Sprach Zarathustra; Lost In Hollywood; Guitar Solo; Lost in Hollywood; A Light In The Black; Guitar Solo; Ode Die Freude; Keyboard Solo; Green Onions; Popeye Opening Theme; Sukiyaki; Keyboard Solo; Close Encounters Of The Third Kind; Key Board Solo (Include. Kimigayo); Drum Solo; The Year 1812, Festival Overture In E Flat Major; Lost In Hollywood; Guitar Solo; Lazy; All Night Long; Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll; Kill The King; Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll; and Over The Rainbow
Mr. Peach Version (TCDRAINBOW -9 -1,2)
Disc One: SE / Hey Joe; SE / Land Of Hope And Glory; Count Down; Over The Rainbow; Eyes Of The World; MC; Love’s No Friend; Band Introduction; Guitar Solo???; Since You Been Gone; Over The Rainbow; Man On The Silver Mountain; MC; Greensleeves; and Catch The Rainbow
Disc Two: MC; Keyboard Solo; Also Sprach Zarathustra; Lost In Hollywood; A Light In The Black; Guitar Solo; Ode An Freunde; Keyboard Solo; Green Onions; Popeye Opening Theme; Sukiyaki; Keyboard Solo; Close Encounters Of The Third Kind; Key Board Solo (Include. Kimigayo); Drum Solo; The Yeai 1812, Festival Overture In E Flat Major; Lost In Hollywood; Guitar Solo; Lazy; All Night Long; Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll; Kill The King; Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll; Over The Rainbow; and Announcement
The members of Rainbow in this concert were different than the classic, original line-up, with only Blackmore and Powell remaining. New to the group were Graham Bonnet on vocals, Roger Glover on bass, and Don Airey on keyboards. According to the Deep Purple Appreciation Society:
Rainbow returned to the studio in December to finish the new album, and then toured Japan in January 1978, before setting out to America on the back of the new LP “Long Live Rock’n Roll” – which, in some ways (especially the production) was an even better album than “Rising”. However after a serious difference of opinion, Ronnie Dio left at the end of 1978 before the next album was finished. Daisley and Stone also received notice, and a new line-up emerged.
[From March, 1979 – August, 1980]
Roger Glover’s arrival was a surprise to the fans, but Blackmore had seen Glover’s knack of helping bands achieve some chart success. Originally there to write and produce, he played bass on the album and then joined.
Bonnet had been remembered for a hit with a sixties band called The Marbles, and was tracked down (though a number of other singers were auditioned or linked to the band at this time). Most of the album (Down to Earth) was already taped, and Bonnet added the vocals. The band began shifting towards a more AOR direction over the next year and a half and this line-up became commercially very successful, with hits like “All Night Long” (UK #5) and “Since You Been Gone” (UK #6) and the album “Down To Earth” (UK #6).
Rainbow headlined the first Monsters Of Rock festival with the new line-up in August 1980 (a live compilation album from the show was issued). However Cozy Powell didn’t like the poppy direction of tracks such as ‘Since You Been Gone’ and the festival was his last show. They brought in a new American drummer Bobby Rondinelli and started work on the next album, but the sessions were low on ideas and Bonnet went back to America. There was a suggestion to bring in another singer and do half the album each, but it wasn’t going to work. Blackmore now asked Joe Lynn Turner over to work on “I Surrender” and, pleased with the results, offered him the job.
Given that historical perspective and roller coaster ride of personnel changes, Tarantura’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind provides Rainbow fans with a valuable document of what was, by any reasonable account, a stupendous concert. The concert, however, resembled little of the 1976-1978 Rainbow, with staples such as “Mistreated”, “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” and “Still I’m Sad” shelved in favor of newer material from Down to Earth.
This was a smart move because Bonnet’s versions of Dio’s songs – much like Dio’s renditions of Ozzy’s songs – favored Bonnet singing his songs from Down to Earth. This was most evident in Bonnet’s renditions of “Catch the Rainbow” and “Man on the Silver Mountain”, which sounded different as compared to his apparent comfort level in “Eyes of the World”, “Since You Been Gone”, “All Night Long”, and “Lost in Hollywood”.
Mr. Peach’s recording began earlier into the show than Aquarius’s, catching some of Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” over the speaker system in the minutes before the band took the stage. Striking another difference to the 1976-1978 Rainbow concerts was how this concert was launched. In years prior, after Dorothy Gale’s “we must be over the rainbow, rainbow, rainbow” was played, the band did their rock version of “Over the Rainbow” before tearing into “Kill the King”.
In this May, 1980 show, however, the keyboard introduction to “Eyes of the World” was how the band started. “Over the Rainbow” would be played, though, in a killer spot at the end of “Since You Been Gone” a little bit later in the show. Blackmore’s slide work in that version was beautiful, and captured with crystal clarity in both recordings. “Eyes of the World” also contained a lengthy Blackmore solo, including slide, which foreshadowed the passion and ferocity with which he played throughout this show (the cover picture on Tarantura’s second edition of this title captures that sentiment perfectly). This show did, indeed, present a captivating demonstration of Blackmore’s brilliance and fluidity.
Disc one contained more of Bonnet’s vocals than disc two. As a result, the listening experience between discs is vastly different, and possibly more engaging on disc 2 for the fan of Rainbow’s music, particularly when listening to the amazing instrumental version of “Kill the King” played to essentially end the concert. “
Love’s No Friend” had a distinctly more commercial flavor to it, signaling what was to come for Rainbow’s musical direction in future years. This was further reflected in the next song performed, “Since You Been Gone”. Thankfully, the band returned to its established heavier “on stage” character when the aforementioned “Over the Rainbow” was performed at the end of “Since You Been Gone”.
All instrumentalists were firing on all cylinders for “Man on the Silver Mountain”, which was a driving, enthused version containing superb free-form soloing by Blackmore before ending without the beautiful, drifting vocal soloing many Rainbow fans had probably come to expect from Dio. Bonnet’s vocals, however, are largely excellent in the beginning segments of “Catch the Rainbow”. And the band turn in a predictably stellar performance of this classic song to end disc one.
Disc two is largely two songs from Down to Earth, “Lost in Hollywood” and “All Night Long”, with only the latter song resembling anything like its studio version. To introduce “Lost in Hollywood”, Bonnet comments that Don Airey was “gonna play some music into ‘Lost in Hollywood'”, which foreshadowed that this song would be stretched out around spectacular (although at times lengthy) soloing by Airey, Blackmore and Powell.
“Lost in Hollywood” proper was played for about 5½ minutes before the band seemingly dissolved away to leave Blackmore, alone, and in truly inspired, thrashing form for about 60 seconds before everyone returned to the song. At this point things were reaching their high point for the concert as Powell dropped into the beat for a portion of “A Light in the Black” that then left Blackmore in another one of his demonic, insane fretboard moments that included him plummeting into a string bending portion that must’ve been quite a sight, given the audible audience approval at this point in the recording.
Also at this point is a difference in track order between discs 2 from Aquarius and Mr. Peach. However, after multiple, separate listenings, it seems that the Peach recording was the actual sequence as compared to a shifting of the tracks by Aquarius. A point of intrigue, no doubt.
“An Die Fieude” was then played, and included a heavy arrangement of “Difficult to Cure” that this same band would record on the next album, except with noticeable differences through Bobby Rondinelli on drums. Blackmore’s solo spot then gave way to wonderful keyboard soloing by Airey, which included snippets from “Green Onions”, the Popeye cartoon’s theme song, and from the movie soundtrack to Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Some truly amazing finger technique was displayed, with wild synthesizer effects and bass pedals. It can probably be safely assumed that a captivating light show was accompanying this virtuosity. Then, out of the keyboard soloing came Powell’s drum solo, including its “festival overture” component, before everyone reentered “Lost in Hollywood” to end the song.
After that marathon Blackmore put on yet another of his awesome stratocaster displays before dipping into Deep Purple’s “Lazy” and then playing “All Night Long” to great crowd approval. The main part of the concert concluded with “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”, with Bonnet saying “thank you, bye-bye”. But, as alluded-to above, it wasn’t the end of the show. The charged-up audience steadily clapped and chanted for an encore, which occurred to a wild reaction.
More wild, though, was the heavy metal instrumental that Blackmore, Powell, Glover and Airey tore into that led into a version of “Kill the King” played a la Rainbow’s 1977 Munich-style. The group returned to “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” to close out the show for good, leaving only Dorothy Gale to sing “Over the Rainbow” for what were probably some exhausted fans. Totally awesome, and a totally brutal display that Rainbow remained an incredibly powerful force on stage, despite the different faces. And it’s only going to be heard and experienced in this fashion through these magnificent audience recordings from Tarantura.
Tarantura’s limited first edition housed the distinct Aquarius and Mr. Peach recordings in separate color, jackets showing Graham Bonnet on the front, Cozy Powell on the rear, and, when unfolded, shots of Blackmore on stage with images of the cassettes superimposed. The second edition has a descriptive picture on the cover of Blackmore about to tomahawk his guitar into a Marshall cabinet. Tarantura’s classic, original packaging accompanying these stellar recordings makes this an undeniable keeper for any and all Rainbow fans that should be sought out in either edition.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)