The Closing Night (Tarantura TCDNIJIFUNE – 10-1,2)
Budokan Dai Hall Tokyo, Japan Thursday December 16, 1976 Evening Show
Disc 1 (64:35) SE, Monitor Check / Band tuning, Opening / White Christmas, Over The Rainbow, Start, Kill The King, Guitar Solo, Mistreated, Greensleeves, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves, Niji Flashing working, Das Wohltempeirte Clavier, Hetz und Mund und Tat und Leben BWV147, Catch The Rainbow, Lazy, White Christmas, Man On The Silver Mountain, Blues, Man On The Silver Mountain, Starstruck, Man On The Silver Mountain
Disc 2 (58:57) MC, Tony Carey Keyboard Solo, Stargazer, Still I’m Sad, Keyboard Solo, Cozy Powell Drum Solo, 1812 Overture, Still I’m Sad, Guitar Solo, Do You Close Your Eyes, Over The Rainbow, Announcement
When Tarantura started this series of releases focusing on Rainbow’s Japanese tours from both 1976 and 1978 in late 2009 one could ask, How many of these shows does one need ? As the series went on I found myself drawn in and would eagerly anticipate a new release, Tarantura wisely chose to space them out and I found myself seeking out previous titles I did not initially buy. While a couple of the releases have been sourced from Song Brothers and Aquarius it has been the Mr. Peach recordings I found the most pleasurable and have been the subject of much garnered praise from the collecting community. With this new release of the last show on the 1976 jaunt one could argue that they saved the best for last.
There are multiple recordings for this show and previous releases have been abundant with titles such as The End Of Rising Darker Than Blue-041/042, When Evening Falls Rising Arrow-007, Soundboard Archives 1976 Darker Than Blue 077/078, Branded To Kill Rising Arrow-042, Rising Falls Rising Arrow-046, and Risin’ Tarantura TCDRAINBOW-1-1,2.
This release has the Mr. Peach source in all its glory, an excellent recording done close to the stage with a wonderful ambiance that captures the excitement and passion of both band and audience members. If you liked the previous Tarantura title Risin’ , then you will love this one, it has a much wider and dynamic sound and is nicely detailed, it sounds good when played quietly and comes alive when played loud.
One would expect the band to be tired after a busy year that found them releasing the masterpiece Rising record and they tour Europe and Japan extensively and playing a fantastic show earlier in the same day but there is no signs of weariness tonight, the band storm the stage with an a crazed start that culminates with Kill The King. It must be stated that Cozy Powell’s drums are perfect in the mix, and important factor as he is on fire from the first beat. The audience goes wild as Ritchie takes his first solo, a mix of notes and sounds that emanate as his hands fly up and down the fret board. “Alright !…..Alright!….It’s a good one” states Ronnie as there something in the air tonight as Ronnie introduces Mistreated and the feverish crowd are hot for the band. Blackmore plays a furious solo before the first bars are played, the crowd claps and chants every time Cozy hits his drums.
His playing on this song reminds me of Bonzo’s drumming from the Song Remains The Same from 6/21/77. He is everywhere with his fills and is hitting them with precision giving the song a heavy feel not found on other versions from the tour, as Blackmore toys with the his solo in the beginning the audience claps in time and sounds vast in the large auditorium and Ronnie’s use of echo sounds particularly ethereal in this recording. The audience is transfixed on Blackmore as he plays the Greensleeves introduction, they are quiet and respectful with a few loonies shouting in the distance, as soon as the band breaks into the songs heavy riff the awaken and clap in time and the band turn in a great and loose version of the song.
Ronnie introduces John Moore who introduces the flashing colors of the “Niji…a rainbow” as a introduction to Catch The Rainbow. The crowd is restrained as Blackmore goes through the long introduction as he works through Das Wohltempeirte Clavier and Hetz Mund and his playing is at times introspective as the song goes through its quiet open section, Dio and Bain’s voices blending nicely giving the song an airy feel to it as if you are floating amongst the clouds. Peach’s recording equipment is put to the test as the band go into the final crescendo with a thunderous burst of energy, the crowd gives their approval at the songs conclusion.
Just when you think perhaps the band is tired Blackmore and Powell have a duel during Lazy, the song is played a breakneck speed with both fighting for dominance then wham it’s over and Blackmore plays a brief White Christmas before a fast paced Man On The Silver Mountain. Blackmore abuses the hell out of his guitar just before the band go into the blues segment with a flurry of notes and various sounds that emanate from his Strat.
The blues section is also highly enjoyable, Blackmore does a little sparring with Tony Carey and for a split second it’s like you are listening to a hybrid of the Allman Brothers meets Rainbow. As Ronnie starts his vocal interlude with “I saw the mountain….” a punter close to the taper screams “I am the mountain” then a minute later ” I Want Buda”, kinda brought a smile to my face. As always the song has a brief Startstruck interlude and someone close to Peach is pounding on something, thankfully it is brief as it is slightly annoying.
Second CD has Ronnie thinking for a second he is back in Portland as he has a special request for Cozy, the crew and Mr. Udo, a special version of Stargazer, the last time the song is sung by Ronnie as a member of the band he helped found. As with all other versions it begins with a Tony Carey solo spot and a chance to show off his abilities, he plays a solo that runs through various themes ending a little spacey sound that leads into a great version of the bands epic. Carey’s keyboards are well in the mix and give a very ethereal feel to the song, Blackmore again plays an Middle Easter solo via the slide with a bit of echo thrown in and is very effective. The entire band settle in for the flight and he is the captain as he maneuvers back and forth and you can picture the wizard trying to ascend only to be cast down to his followers feet in dramatic fashion, a true feast for the ears.
No time is lost and the band breaks into Still I’m Sad, Blackmore plays a longer than usually solo before relinquishing the stage to the band, first another keyboard solo them a pummeling by Cozy Powell, he proceeds the pound the hell out of his kit, there are screams of Cozy from a female in the audience that are quickly drowned out, he does his traditional 1812 segment then to not be outdone he goes into a furious solo afterwards intending to leave nothing left, the crowd roars it approval as Dio shouts “..COZY POWELL !”, definitely one of the better version of the song.
The crowd demands more, they cheers and clap relentlessly as the band takes a breather before coming back with the distorted wails of Blackmore guitar that leads into Do You Close Your Eyes, the typical encore of the tour. The song has the Blackmore crushing his guitar with a wall of distortion and feedback to great effect and the song itself is very powerful, the entire band give all their collective energy to the crowd. Dio thanks the crowd to a loud wail of feedback and sounds reminiscent of old Deep Purple, the sound of Dorothy Gale goes over the PA system as the crowd continues the cheer and clap, The show cements the bands popularity in the Land of the rising Sun.
The packaging is typical Tarantura and follows with the series, gatefold sleeve with pictures from what I assume is the concert as well as the master cassettes and it is worth noting that the cds are picture discs themselves (as all the others in the series), the first disc has a great picture shot elevated looking downward on Ronnie and Ritchie at the front of the stage while a hoard of fans are crushed up against it, hands in the air, a great shot.
But that is not all, the cd came with a miniature guitar case, limited to 200 numbered copies, that can house all ten titles from the tour. The front is labeled Rainbow 1st Landing Japan 1976 The original Mr. Peach Recordings, the back has all the dates and cities listed, one of the most interesting pieces I have in my collection for sure and a fitting way to commemorate theses incredible shows.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)