Live In England (Tarantura TCDRAINBOW-15-1,2)
Free Trade hall, Manchester England September 5, 1976
Disc 1 (56:32) Over The Rainbow, Start, Kill The King, Guitar Solo, Mistreated, Greensleeves, 16th Century Greensleeves, Guitar Solo, Catch The Rainbow, Band Introduction, Jam, Lazy, Man On The Silver Mountain, Blues, Man On The Silver Mountain
Disc 2 (47:53) Keyboard Solo, Stargazer, Still i’m Sad, Keyboard Solo, Drum Solo, 1812 Overture, Still I’m Sad, Do You Close Your Eyes, Over The Rainbow
The latest Tarantura release for their brilliant Rainbow series is a diversion from their customary Japanese tour source material and features a show from the bands first tour of the UK, a very important time in the bands history since Deep Purple had imploded earlier in the year with the union of the band with Tommy Bolin was not an entirely popular thing with the fan base. Rainbow had released their second record, Rising, in May 1976 and the album was musically a huge step from the bands first record both in terms of musicianship and songwriting and the record and subsequent tour would feature what I consider the bands classic line up of Blackmore, Dio, Bain, Carey, and Powell. The groups efforts would have a swan song with the On Stage record and recent years have also seen the release of three German concerts taped for that record and recorded later in September and can still be found on Amazon, they are essential to own for any fan of the group.
The recording featured for this release is a very good audience source, it is well balanced with all instruments clearly heard and very little interference by the taper, the audience is respectful and definitely there to watch and listen and there is a very intimate atmosphere inside the hall on this eve. The is very little hiss present and the mastering done is excellent and not over done, a wonderful listening experience. The inside cover gives a tape lineage of ITT Mono Cassette Recorder with Sony C120 Cassettes > JVC CD Recorder > CDR.
The only prior release I could find for this concert was Definitive Manchester 1976 (LAF-362/363), a Pro- CDR release.
The recording starts off with the opening stains of the Over The Rainbow introduction and the group receive an ovation as they hit the stage with the always aggressive Kill The King, the band locking in immediately and one listen and you can hear Dio is in excellent voice on this night. The audience agree and cheer loudly at its conclusion and the introduction of the next song Mistreated. Ritchie solo to begin the song sounds as if its coming up from the depths before ripping into a brilliant flurry of notes that lead to the songs familiar opening chords, the crowd instantly clap with the Man In Black.
I am sure the audience must have been in awe of the group arraignment of the Purple classic, while being similar musically Dio’s vocal interpretation was in start contrast to the original, he sounds almost evil at times with the echo effect he would sometimes use kick in. The crowd is very quiet for Blackmore’s solo, giving him free reign to explore the soft and subtle mood but soon the audience grows impatient and starts clapping to wake the sleeping monster as the song goes back into its main theme, as always and excellent performance.
Ronnie greets the crowd and tells them they will be playing some Medieval music that is very close to Ritchie’s heart and needs exact tuning while the guitar is tuned. Some punter is shouting during as Ritchie loosens his fingers but thankfully quiets down as he begins the gentle opening accompanied by Tony Carey playing subtly with him, again the crowd grows impatience and are bowled over by the heavy metal riff that is Sixteenth Century Greensleeves. Again Ronnie’s vocals are superb, the use of echo is brilliantly done and sounds as if its a call and response during the heavy and almost metallic ending, and as with most versions is punctuated by Cozy Powell’s drumming.
The melancholy Catch The Rainbow is always a set highlight, the crowd briefly claps in time with the songs gentle opening before quieting down to watch and listen to the music. Ronnie’s vocals are soft yet soaring and Blackmore’s playing in out of this world and you start getting the feeling wanting to explode, kind of like listening to Careful With That Axe, Eugene. Dio shouts “Take Me To The Sky” and you are off on the wings of Blackmore with the wind of the rhythm section at your back, they are so in tune with the music and each other that lets the music breathe thus making the song one of Blackmore’s definitive live statements as an artist…..superb.
Jimmy Bain does the band introductions at the songs conclusion with each member getting a huge ovation, and Dio is back to introduce Man On The Silver Mountain. The song starts with a brief band jam before Blackmore leads them into the Lazy snippet, the audience goes nuts when they hear it and with the other versions from the tour is played at breakneck speed before evolving into a country sounding ditty and finally Man On The Silver Mountain. An obvious crowd favorite the hard rocking song delivers and Blackmore rips with an amazing solo that garners cheers from the crowd and eventually leading into the slows blues section of the song, cool to listen as there is such a contrast and showcases Blackmore’s diversity as an artist.
The recording ends abruptly towards the songs conclusion, probably due to a tape flip and sounds to like the songs final seconds are missing.
The second disc start with Dio’s introduction about a man who captures people and one that features Tony Carey, Stargazer, the song gets a loud ovation from the audience who obviously hold the track in high regard. It begins as usual with the Keyboard solo and Tony plays a piece that is very mystical sounding as the prelude to the song that blends heavy metal with a middle eastern flare. Cozy’s drum kicks leads to the songs emergence in all its glory and sounds very heavy in this recording, as if the audience is transfixed and memorized by the proceedings. A concert review of this show has Blackmore throwing his slide into the audience and almost being pulled into the audience by an over enthusiastic front row, his serpent like playing has entranced them !
The song is linked almost non stop with the Yardbirds classic Still I’m Sad. The Rainbow version is much more dramatic again Ronnie’s delivery of the songs lyrics is in complete contrast with the original and Ritchie’s [playing is incredible, he does a start and stop and his use of echo is perfectly captured by the recording as if shock waves are bowling over the audience. Before you know it the whole thing stops and Blackmore leads the crowd through another medieval theme piece that has the crowd clapping along before evolving into Tony’s Keyboard solo. This time much more boisterous and features variations of the songs main theme but is very short as Cozy is waiting in the wings. The man proceeds to pummel the hell out the audience via his double bass drumming skills that sounds like it has the walls shaking. It all leads to his passe resistance of the 1812 Overture, a solo that is certainly deserving of the huge ovation it gets as Dio shouts his name.
The band is called out for an encore, standard for the tour is Do You Close Your Eyes. The song is a simple rocker and serves as not only a closer but could also be called as music to destroy a Stratocaster too. The guitars eventual end is slow coming but soon meets end amid chaos and feedback and its eventual death is cheered for by the crowd. A fantastic close to an excellent show, the band was far more that a collection of individuals but more a group of musicians that for a few short years where banded together for the greater good of the music they were creating.
The packaging is typical gatefold sleeve with wonderful black and white shots of Blackmore on the outside and full color shots of the band on the inside. There is also notes written by Stargazer but actually they are from a review of the concert featured on the Rainbow Legacy web site and credited to Simon Robinson and Ann Warburton. Another classy effort by the folks at Tarantura who continue to provide collectors with excellent releases featuring Ritchie Blackmore Rainobw and one that any fan would enjoy.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)