Foldback, Marshall Majors (TCDNIJIFUNE – 3 – 1, 2)
Tuesday, December 7, 1976, at Nagoyashi-Kokaido, Nagoya, Japan
Disc One: On stage; Monitor Check / band tuning; Opening; Over The Rainbow; Start;
Kill The King; MC / Mistreated introduction; Guitar Solo; Mistreated; MC; Greensleeves; 16th Century Greensleeves; Niji Flashing working; Das Wohltemperirte Clavier; Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben BWV147; Catch The Rainbow; Band Introduction; Lazy; White Christmas; Man On The Silver Mountain; Blues; Man On The Silver Mountain; Starstruck; Man On The Silver Mountain
Disc Two: MC; Keyboard Solo; Stargazer; Still I’m Sad; Keyboard Solo; Drum Solo; 1812 Overture; Still I’m Sad ( reprise); Guitar Solo; Do You Close Your Eyes (Guitar Clashing); Over The Rainbow
Foldback, Marshall Majors impressively continues Tarantura’s unprecedented release of virgin Mr. Peach recordings of Rainbow in concert. The predictably original and unusual name of this release, which is a hallmark of all classic bootlegs, comes from a relatively small overhead picture of the band in action that is found on the inside of the release’s stunning jacket.
Superimposed on the picture is information detailing the sound equipment used, which included “2 x 200W Marshall Majors” for Ritchie Blackmore’s amplifiers and cabinets, as well as a Foldback mixing console and 300W stage monitor. Giving special recognition to the group’s sound system makes sense as one listens to what occurred in Nagoya on December 7, 1976, as discussed later in this review.
Since this is a Peach recording, outstanding quality is presumed; but not all Peach recordings are of the same caliber because of factors such as location of the recorder, performance of the sound system, and concert venue. An especially high water mark for Peach recordings of Rainbow has been the Hiroshima show on December 14, 1976, which Tarantura entitled Ave Maria.
Tarantura’s enthusiasm for the Hiroshima recording was evidenced by its inclusion of a paper advert in its Rainbow Giboshi box set alerting collectors to the exciting release of Ave Maria the day after Christmas in 2009. Multiple other Peach recordings of Rainbow have been released by Tarantura since Ave Maria, all in similarly great quality, but none that quite reached the peaks of the amazing Hiroshima tapes.
That is, until release of the Nagoya tapes used on Foldback, Marshall Majors, which may rightly be placed atop the podium beside Hiroshima.
Rainbow’s 1976 tour of Japan holds legendary status in the minds of its fans. The band was at a peak in their live collaborations, causing multiple shows to be professionally recorded for use in the 1977 commercial release, On Stage. The Nagoya show on December 7th was their second in that venue in four days, with the shows in Osaka on the 5th and Budokan on the 6th intervening.
The Osaka and Budokan concerts were two of the shows professionally recorded for partial use in On Stage, so it’s no surprise to hear the extremely high level of playing in the Nagoya show as presented on Foldback, Marshall Majors. Nagoya was also their fifth show in a barnstorming two week string of twelve concerts that would triumphantly end with two shows in Budokan on December 16th. Tarantura has done justice to those final two shows through its beautiful Foojin’ / Risin’ box set released a couple of years ago – but the recordings used there were not from Peach tapes.
Hot news reveals that Tarantura has just released the Peach recording of Rainbow’s outstanding afternoon show on December 16th, which means it is just a matter of time before the truly unbelievable evening show from that day is also released. It is indeed a perfect artistic marriage between Mr. Peach and the great Tarantura label, and their presentation of Rainbow’s second concert in Nagoya further demonstrates their unique chemistry.
As with all Peach recordings, the Sony duad tapes began rolling in the concert hall before the show began to create a palpable tone of excitement for the listener. After some initial noodling and settling in, including a signature Blackmore welcoming riff to the happy audience, Dorothy Gale’s “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore – we must be over the rainbow, rainbow, rainbow” launched a fiery start with multiple guitar pick scrapes of the strings amidst wild audience cheering.
“Kill the King” blasted off next, and so did the show. This was an awesome, pounding version of Rainbow’s raucous show opener that immediately pulls the listener in and holds tight as Blackmore flourished and shredded, Dio exclaimed to the audience about power devouring all along the way, and the rhythm section of Powell, Bain and Carey bludgeoned through each of the song’s measures. As compared to numerous other recordings of this show opener, where Blackmore’s lead was sometimes less discernible, his inspired performance here was much easier to hear. The wicked syncopated pattern between Blackmore and Carey after the lead, with Bain soaring alongside, was captured perfectly by Mr. Peach. From the beginning it’s obvious that this recording’s clear and balanced, and with the signature multi-dimensional dynamic found in Peach master recordings making them so heavily sought by collectors.
Dio was pumped coming out of the song, shouting to the audience “right!” and “thank you so much”, before explaining that they’d do “a song that Ritchie wrote two years ago, or maybe three, or maybe four, or maybe more.”
But because the next song was to be dedicated, he uncharacteristically asked the audience to please be quiet, saying “we’d like to do this song for someone who’s been mistreated in a wrong way. For Tommy Bolin, Mistreated.” As Blackmore’s “replacement” in Deep Purple, Tommy Bolin, had tragically passed away three days before this concert.
Blackmore’s ensuing solo was a moody and melancholic strumming of his strings that was accented by an effect sounding as though ice crystals were dangling from the notes. Predictably, he shook that mood off and moved into ferocious shredding to take the band into another remarkable version of this song. Following the instrumental segments, Dio soloed about “are we losing our minds – got to cry to those who are lost all of the time”, quite possibly in further tribute to the late Bolin, and as a fitting end to the emotional performance of this song.
Undaunted, Dio then gave three increasingly fired-up exhortations of “right!” to the audience just before Blackmore played another one of his beautiful versions of “Greensleeves”. The clarity of this recording, which lacks the hiss that so often resides in unofficial tapes, puts Blackmore right in your face, with even the most minor of notes he hit being audible with Carey’s accompaniment.
“Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” was next and was hard and heavy, with Powell’s bass drums hitting you in the midsection. He added some hi-hat cymbal flashes before Blackmore’s second solo that incorporated a slide in his unmistakable style. “Firing on all cylinders” is one expression that repeatedly comes to mind when listening this awesome recording.
As Dio would put it, “Catch the Niji” was the next song to be played. Before getting into the tune, Blackmore put on his baroque hat and played two J.S. Bach pieces with absolutely brilliant fluidity. Because the giant rainbow arching over the stage was fully illuminated at this point in the show, one can easily wonder what the visuals must have been like for the audience as the group continued with its superb performance, which included Dio singing in falsetto for a portion of the song’s conclusion.
The improvisational parts of the concert began next, with “Man on the Silver Mountain” being stitched around blues containing a call and response segment between Blackmore and Carey, Dio soloing into the concert hall’s rafters about love not being just a word, and the quick appearance of “Starstruck” before returning to MOTSM. Of course, the show highlight was to follow, and its performance in this concert was especially fantastic.
Introduced as “the man with the most piles in the world”, Tony Carey would proceed to play another of his spellbinding keyboard solos. There is a bit of duplication in discs here as Dio’s MC to start disc 2 can also be found at the end of disc 1 after MOTSM.
Incorporating divergent styles, Carey created shooting star imagery and medieval pipe organ sounds with amazing dexterity that would lead into Powell’s closed snare drum roll and four-count on the bass drum taking the band into “Stargazer.” Fans of Rainbow know that this song became a rarity on stage after 1976, which makes this recording all the more valuable, and this version ranks among one of their best ever. The soloing portion, with Blackmore, Carey, Bain and Powell equally and powerfully present in the mix, lasts about nine minutes. At about the eight minute mark during that section the band skyrocketed into a thrilling energy level that just as quickly dissolved, leaving only Blackmore playing a solo that seamlessly went from being eerie, to gracefulness, to contemptuous shredding.
After Dio returned, the song ended with Blackmore striking a chord and, without any real pause, launching into “Still I’m Sad”. As always, the song was driving, tight, and exceedingly heavy, with Dio providing vocal accents while Blackmore soloed before Carey and Powell played further solos. Powell’s solo contained some high frequency distortion on his cymbals, but the double bass, snare, tom tom patterns he laid down were tremendous, as was the tuning he used for his deep floor toms.
For a twist, Blackmore’s reprise of the song after Powell’s solo consisted of unique phrasing that makes listening to concert recordings a constant treat. The show closer, “Do You Close Your Eyes”, with guitar destruction, was probably a wonder to witness given the audience’s reaction caught on tape.
Tarantura present this amazing, captivating recording in a gorgeous jacket displaying a picture of Blackmore, Powell, Bain and Dio in an obvious moment of creative intensity that is awash in ruby red. The multicolor lettering used is also beautiful, as is the attention to detail always found in Tarantura’s careful productions.
The pictures used on the jacket’s interior contain separate, beautiful shots of the group live, and with the master cassettes that enable us to enjoy this vintage performance in sterling quality. For fans of this great band and its members, this release is a must-have, no doubt about it.