International Amphitheater, Chicago, IL, USA – October 12, 1979
(60:22) Introduction, Countdown, Over The Rainbow, Eyes Of The World, Love’s No Friend, Bach Brandenburg Concerto, Over The Rainbow, All Night Long, Keyboard Intro, Lost In Hollywood, Guitar Solo, Lost In Hollywood, Beethoven 9th, Keyboard Solo, Drum Solo, 1812 Overture, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll, Kill The King, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll, MC, DJ Outro
Most rock bands in the 1970’s built a foundation of fans organically by touring, relentlessly for the most part. Many of the important markets would also broadcast concerts over the radio, New York, Cleveland, and Chicago were some of the main cities in the East and Mid West that would regularly have such live broadcasts. Wanting to exploit the AOR market with a more Down To Earth sound Rainbow would do a couple of these live broadcasts, the most widely circulated were concerts from Chicago and Long Island, NY. The Long Island date has been previously released by the folks at Tarantura as Roger’s Birthday Party (TCDRAINBOW – 13) and now we are treated to the Chicago concert. It has seen previous releases, first in incomplete form on Rise Over Chicago (Bondage Music BON 027) and the complete broadcast was finally available on Down To Frontier (Darker Than Blue DTB 110/111/112). The band were the openers for Blue Oyster Cult on much of the tour and would feature a set made up almost exclusively of music from the Down To Earth record. The compact hour slot would allow the band to focus on the strongest material and deliver a devastating performance.
The sound of this new release from The T is a stereo broadcast soundboard and is excellent quality. The sound mix favors the upper frequencies and is a bit thin sounding, Graham’s vocals are up in the mix and all instruments are clearly defined. The recording sounds great at loud volumes, especially after one adds a little bass in the mix. This is an FM broadcast and for me, brings back fond memories of listening to concerts on the radio, King Biscuit and Westwood One being the most prominent in my area. Dorothy’s Over The Rainbow has a futuristic sound, swirling effects lead to the blastoff of Eyes Of The World, the opening track from for the entire tour featuring a galloping riff that sets the stage for the concert. “Hello America” is Graham’s opening comment, he then apologizes for his bad voice as he has a cold. One would never know and it’s a tribute to his vocal prowess as he sings with a lot of fury. A great version of Love’s No Friend follows with the same energy before Blackmore and Airey do a wonderful take on Bach that sounds a bit like the last gasps of the Dio era, it rolls into the band instrumental version of Over The Rainbow that is very mellow in contrast to what follows, a raucous version of All Night Long. Curious to hear the line “I need a girl that will give me head…All Night Long” being broadcast as American radio was always kind of conservative back then.
Rainbow was a band built upon soloing and improvisation and did not shy away from displays of individual virtuosity during Lost In Hollywood, Don plays a keyboard prelude and a rolling fill by Cozy leads the band full force into the song. Blackmore’s main solo is a thing of perfection, his phrasing is perfect as he plays with passion and intent. It is interesting contrast to listen to this concert after the Detroit 1975 show where his playing was quite tentative. Ritchie seemed to be intent on merging symphonic themes with hard rock, he does it to perfection with Beethoven’s 9th, it serves as prelude to the typical awesome interplay with Don Airey that follows. Cozy gets his usual drum fare that is well appreciated by the audience and the whole thing gets a massive ovation from the Chi Town audience.
The party moves into full swing with Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll, curiously the band play a mini version of the song that leaves the audience screaming, they are then bludgeoned by Cozy’s double bass drum as they move into the Kill The King instrumental that features some guitar abuse from Ritchie who has mastered the effects of feedback, much to the delight of the audience. He gets a new axe and finishes the set by going back in a rousing Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll reprise. Damn, how in the hell did BOC follow this band up? A killer performance.
The packaging is a gatefold sleeve featuring cover and center spread from a Sounds magazine article from June 25, 1979. There are two covers for this release, one featuring Ritchie the other featuring Cozy, I elected for the Ritchie cover as the back features a rare shot of the “Maninblack” actually smiling. The release is limited to 100 numbered copies. Great performance and sound make this set a great addition to my Rainbow collection.