Rainbow – Tonight’s The Night (Tarantura TCDRAINBOW-24-1,2)
Budokan Dai Hall, Tokyo, Japan – Monday, May 12, 1980
Disc 1 (41:02) Pomp And Circumstance March 1 (Elger), Countdown, Over The Rainbow, Eyes Of The World, Love’s No Friend, Since You’ve Been Gone, Over The Rainbow, Man On The Silver Mountain, Greensleeves, Catch The Rainbow, Guitar Solo, Catch The Rainbow
Disc 2 (58:26) MC, Keyboard Solo, Lost In Hollywood, Guitar Solo, Ode An die Freiheit (Beethoven), Keyboard Solo, Drum Solo, 1812 Overture, Lost In Hollywood, Guitar Solo, Lazy, All Night Long, Blues, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Member Introduction, Long Live Rock And Roll, Kill The King, Long Live Rock And Roll, Over The Rainbow
Rainbow’s tour in support of the brilliant Down To Earth record was a lengthy affair, it encompassed a three month American jaunt in late 1979 and a European and UK trek in early to mid 1980. Towards the end of the touring schedule the band would play 6 concerts in Japan, splitting the dates between the cities of Osaka (Festival Hall) and Tokyo where they played the prestigious Budokan, the hall was the site of many a triumph so anticipation was high for the newest incarnation of Blackmore’s tribe of metal masters. For this release the folks at Tarantura has given us the third and final date in Tokyo with a recording from the Mr. Peach archives. While Tarantura is provides us with a new and unreleased source there are other recordings that have been released such as the Miracle Man source found on Down To Budokan (Calm and Storm 030), and unknown audience sources found on Innocent Victims Complete (Darker Than Blue DTB 108/109).
The Peach source is similar to the May 9, 1980 show found on Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (Tarantura TCDRAINBOW-8,9), a glorious superb sounding audience source that is completely three dimensional in sound with a perfect mix of music and audience that gives it a wonderful ambience, all instruments and vocals are perfectly balanced and heard and this recording demands to be played at loud volumes! The recording begins with a quick snippet of The Beatles’ All You Need Is Love before Pomp and Circumstance begins the introduction, the audience gives a huge round of applause as the lights dim and the band prepare to take the stage. The gentle roar and clapping leads to Countdown, with the final few numbers being accented by the audience that leads into Dorothy Gale’s intro and the opening stains of Eyes Of The World, the audience is ecstatic as the band take the stage amid a fury. The band would play a nice selection of music from Down To Earth, Eyes makes a perfect way to set the stage so to speak, Graham Bonnett’s vocals are perfect from the beginning and he sings with balls. Blackmore plays a wonderful solo using a slide that is a remembrance of Stargazer. The band still utilizes the same basic set list pattern, hard rock starter into a slow English blues, Mistreated is gone and in its place is the dramatic Love’s No Friend that follows in the same vein. Roger Glover’s backing vocals of “That’s Alright” are done like an echo but the song really heats up musically when Blackmore plays the solo, rather short and direct but echoes the song’s feeling of solitude, the fast tempo ending is fast and aggressive much like the band’s performance.
One of the record’s big singles was actually a cover song written by Argent guitarist Russ Ballard, Since You Been Gone is a light rocker with an AOR feeling much like what Blackmore would eventually continue to steer Rainbow towards over the next four years. The song begins with some wonderful interplay between Ritchie and Don that is a medieval style romp that is crushed by Blackmore’s start as he plays the intro riff, the audience love it and clap throughout the song to great effect. The song leads into a full instrumental version of Over The Rainbow with Ritchie again utilizing the slide for a melancholy version and he throws in a snippet of Joy To The World at its conclusion. The song is linked almost non stop with Man On The Silver Mountain, played with a faster tempo than the Dio era the song is complete with no filler that makes for a satisfying experience. Graham asks the audience what their favorite Rainbow songs are, Long Live Rock And Roll is one response, Catch The Rainbow is Bonnett’s response to a loud ovation. Ritchie begins the piece with a bit of Greensleeves that is making the audience impatient, they settle down as the band break into Catch The Rainbow and minimize their participation to clapping. While Bonnett is no Ronnie James Dio, he does a fine job with the vocals and actually sings them, his line of “Let me take you to the sky” as Blackmore launches into the stratosphere is very dramatic for sure, the song clocks in at just over 12 minutes and is a more straight to the point version as opposed to the epic versions of the previous tours.
The second disc starts with Graham introducing Don Airey who gets a couple minute keyboard prelude that sounds like he playing at some large cathedral, the band launch into a speed metal version of Lost In Hollywood, the record’s closing track and the new vehicle for band soloing and improvisation, it’s great to hear the crowd try and clap at such a fast pace. Bonnett’s vocal style is perfect for this song, his aggressive delivery and voice finds him soaring and growling in the same breath. Blackmore’s solo arrives like a demigod making his arrival amid a chaotic blanket of feedback that has to be heard, it moves into a Hendrix territory that leaves the audience (and listener) spellbound. From out of the psychedelic haze rises a beautiful rendition of Ode An die Freiheit that leads into a band version of Difficult To Cure, Blackmore was certainly a master at blending symphonic Classical music with Rock and this is a perfect example. Don Airey gets a longer solo spot, he lightens the mood by playing a little bit of Green Onions that is well received. A true Master of his craft, he melds current music themes with the medieval to perfection and it’s no wonder why Blackmore wanted him for the group. He moves into the Close Encounter Theme and the audience is in awe of what they are hearing. His solo gives way to Cozy Powell who has been quiet tonight, he seems to come alive when he gets his turn in the spotlight, fueled on by the boisterous audience who are ready to rock and are enjoying the pummeling, Powell style. The audience roars their approval for his 1812 Overture and we can fully enjoy it in all its glory, his use of the double bass drum is second to none and fuels the audience to clap along with him showering him with love. The band return for a brief reprise of Lost In Hollywood that brings the main set to a close.
The audience do not have to wait long, Ritchie appears and goes into a fast solo augmented by Don Airey and the full band return to tease the audience with a bit of the Purple Classic Lazy. They play a break neck snippet before Blackmore halts the song with the riff to All Night Long, he teases with it and the audience goes insane as they break full on into the song. Slightly harder edge than Since You Been Gone with a catchy chorus that has the audience helping with backing vocals to great effect and the song is like a celebration of rock and roll. The song is also a chance for a bit of audience participation, they are quite vocal and do a great job following Bonnett’s leads and great fun is had by all. Blackmore leads the band into a slow blues that is nice and serves as a prelude to a version of The Shirelles classic Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. While the band play well for me it is nothing more that an interesting experiment, Blackmore plays it great but Bonnett shouts too much of the lyric for my taste but it’s great to have this rarity in excellent quality. Bonnett does band introductions and the band proceeds to bring the house down with Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll and the party continues, the crowd do the chorus. The band leaves the stage and the audience start chanting what sounds like “One More Hit…One More Hit” while clapping loudly, Blackmore returns and responds with feedback and the band plow into the instrumental version of Kill The King that sounds a bit disjointed until the band get on the same page then it is incredible before Blackmore’s guitar fall prey to his fury and then all hell breaks loose. A final Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll reprise brings the festivities to a fitting close, of course we get the Dorothy version of Over The Rainbow to calm the masses, they needed it after this blistering performance, one that demands repeated listenings.
The packaging is a gatefold sleeve with a striking shot of Blackmore’s silhouette under the glow of a solitary spotlight. The center has a couple other shots, one of the guitarist on all four’s hammering his prone guitar mercilessly and there are also pictures of the ticket stub and master cassettes to boot. This concert is like a breath of fresh air, a perfect recording of a superbly played concert, let us hope that 2014 brings more Peach Rainbow sources as they are a pleasure to listen to and for me, must have releases.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)