Rainbow – Foojin (Tarantura TCDRainbow-1-1,2)
Foojin’ (Tarantura TCDRainbow-1-1,2) box cover
Foojin’ (Tarantura TCDRAINBOW-0-1,2) gatefold sleeve cover
Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – December 16, 1976 (afternoon show)
DISC 1: (48:62) Opening, Over the Rainbow, King the King, Mistreated, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves, Catch the Rainbow, band introduction, Man On The Silver Mountain
DISC 2: (35:62) Ronnie MC, Tony Carey Keyboard Solo, A Light in the Black, White Christmas, Still I’m Sad, Cozy Powell Solo, 1812 Overture, Cozy Powell Solo, Still I’m Sad (Reprise), Over The Rainbow
Tarantura’s Foojin’ presents Rainbow’s afternoon concert on a day when they played 2 shows. Tarantura previously released the longer evening show in Risin’, which received an excellent review on this site by LedMan. Foojin’s similar packaging in a gatefold also includes a lavish, deluxe box adorned with artwork reminiscent of the Far East, and which comfortably holds the Risin’ gatefold so the complete day’s performances can be kept together. It is simply redundant at this point to rave about Tarantura’s original packaging, which adds so, so much to the collecting experience for me. Foojin’ continues this excellence, bearing close-up shots of Blackmore and Powell in concert on the gatefold that opens to display more action shots of the group at this early stage in its history.
The recording is described as being from the original master cassette of Aquarius. To my ears, the night’s recording on Risin’, which is from an original cassette from Song Brothers, is a bit brighter and more expansive than the recording found on Foojin’. That does not, however, detract from the listening experience for me as the show in Foojin’ was just as amazing, and possibly more so at times due to its more compact timeframe during the day.
The first disc sets a good ambience in the audience before the show starts when Dorothy Gale’s innocent “we must be over the rainbow” lines from the Wizard of Oz lead into Rainbow’s version of “Over the Rainbow” and then the wild show opener, “Kill the King”. Dorothy’s innocence is quickly forgotten, and the concert’s an absolute scorcher. All are present and accounted for in this balanced recording, and the renditions of “Mistreated”, “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves”, “Catch the Rainbow” and “Man on the Silver Mountain” receive in-kind treatment to how those songs were performed in devastating fashion in 1976 and 1977. What’s often not fully appreciated, or overlooked, was how Rainbow brought something to the table that, I submit, no band had done before them in this way. Seamlessly weaving baroque pieces throughout a hard rock context, with Dio’s blistering vocals and folklore themes, demonstrated over and over again that Rainbow was not simply a heavy metal act.
Listening to Blackmore’s meandering preludes to “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” and “Catch the Rainbow”, which Dio attributes in part to deriving from King Henry VIII, stand in stark contrast to the shredding that occurred during different parts of the songs. Cozy Powell’s playing in these afternoon songs was also some of his most inspired and powerful on stage drumming that I’ve heard, and this recording captured it beautifully. Disc 2 contains a mind-boggling version of “A Light in the Black”, which enjoys a different arrangement altogether from that found on the studio album, and which also seems to have been a bit of a rarity on stage as “Stargazer” was played in its spot at night. The remainder of disc 2 is largely soloing by Tony Carey and Cozy Powell, with the Yardbirds’ “Still I’m Sad” book-ending Powell’s solo. Dorothy Gale then reenters the soundscape to close the show with her vocal performance of “Over the Rainbow”, and to reinforce the remarkable balance Rainbow just struck on stage between total brutality and gentle virtuosity.
To have this happen in an afternoon show makes me wonder what the concertgoers could have possibly done after the show if they weren’t coming back. The members of Rainbow obviously had another show to look forward to playing, and so do those of us lucky enough to have both of these recordings that Tarantura has now enabled us to enjoy in this simply fantastic title. If you’re a fan of Blackmore, Dio, Powell, Rainbow, Deep Purple, etc., this must be obtained. One could never possibly obtain something like this elsewhere.