Budokan Dai Hall, Tokyo, Japan – Thursday, May 8, 1980
Original Cassette Master From Aquarius
Disc 1 (41:09) Pomp And Circumstance March No.1 (Elger), Countdown, Over The Rainbow, Eyes Of The World, Love’s No Friend, Band Introduction, Guitar Solo, Since You Been Gone, Over The Rainbow, Man On The Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow
Disc 2 (53:21) MC, Keyboard Solo, Lost In Hollywood, Guitar Solo, Lost In Hollywood, Guitar Solo, An Die Freude (Beethoven #9) Keyboard Solo, Drums Solo, 1812 Overture, Lost In Hollywood, Guitar Solo, Lazy, All Night Long, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll, Kill The King / Guitar Crash, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll, Over The Rainbow, Announcement
Original Cassette Master From Mr. Peach
Disc 1 (40:46) Pomp And Circumstance March No.1 (Elger), Countdown, Over The Rainbow, Eyes Of The World, Love’s No Friend, Band Introduction, Guitar Solo, Since You Been Gone, Over The Rainbow, Man On The Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow
Disc 2 (51:40) MC, Keyboard Solo, Lost In Hollywood, Guitar Solo, Lost In Hollywood, Guitar Solo, An Die Freude (Beethoven #9) Keyboard Solo, Drums Solo, 1812 Overture, Lost In Hollywood, Guitar Solo, Lazy, All Night Long, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll, Kill The King / Guitar Crash, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll, Over The Rainbow, Announcement
The latest Rainbow release from Tarantura features the first concert of the 6 date tour of Japan to promote the Down To Earth record. The entire tour was recorded from the audience and the more time goes on the more sources turn up and is safe to say that multiple recordings exist from each of the performances. Previous titles of this concert are Facing Graham (Darker Than Blue DTB 121/122/123) and as part of the Down To Budokan (Calm & Storm 030) set. For this new release, Tarantura have issued a deluxe set featuring recordings from both Aquarius and Mr Peach as well as a single set of the superior Mr Peach, the same technique the company utilized for the Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (TCDRAINBOW-8.9).
The recordings differ, the Aquarius version is good to very good, slightly distant and not as clear as the Peach recording, the balance is good but the instruments do get muddy from time to time but is more than listenable. The Peach recording is what we expect from this Master taper, clear and incredible vibrant recording, it does have just a slight bit of hiss but is very powerful and like the other recordings from this tour is excellent, better when played at loud volumes. Strangely both recordings compliment each other but, as usual, it is the Peach source that I am drawn too.
Both recordings share virtually the same content and begin with Pomp and Circumstance into Countdown into Dorothy’s Rainbow intro into Eyes Of The World. One would expect a bit of rust but the band is extremely well prepared and turns in a relaxed performance for the first night in Japan. It’s funny to hear Graham’s intro to Love’s No Friend, he talks very slow, it is his first concert in Japan and is obviously trying his best to communicate. Little does he know that the music of Rainbow needs no translation, the audience clap along with the slow blues, Blackmore responds with a nice and tasty solo, the outro solo is even better, playing a catch me if you can with the rest of the band of which they oblige him stupendously. Graham introduces the guys in the band that is followed by what is listed as guitar solo, it is really a solo by Ritchie and Don Airey that is incredible, they follow each other note for note in a Medieval style that is jovial and upbeat, they then break into the equally upbeat Since You Been Gone. As with other concerts from this tour the band play an instrumental version of Over The Rainbow that is really nice, totally laid back but fits nicely with the laid back performance.
The pace picks up as the band go into Man On The Silver Mountain, the audience are in awe and clap along, rather quietly if there is such a things with the beloved song. Rainbow was moving into more of an AOR format and this song, along with Long Live Rock N Roll, reflect the changing style. The relaxed environment makes for a great Catch The Rainbow, for me this version owes a bit more to the very early versions of the song, more of a ballad than the intense workouts of the 1977-78 tours. Graham gets a chance to show off his vocal ability and actually really sings most of the lyrics, the results is quite startling as he really does have a soft tone when it’s called for.
Things do heat up on the second disc, the band begin to hit a stride for Lost In Hollywood, the song is a vehicle for individual solos that is initially dominated by Blackmore. His first solo is excellent, a full Hendrixian feast of sound and feeling as he conjures and summons up off worldly notes to great effect. The 1976-78 era shows would feature the wonderful interplay between Ronnie and Ritchie, this short lived line up would feature Blackmore sparring with Don Airey to great effect, in my opinion no other musician would push and interact with him except Jon Lord. The way the band works into Beethoven’s 9th just seems to build, the audience feels it and begins clapping along. Don’s solo is a feast for the ears, he goes through so many styles it is, at times, hard to take it all in and he makes it sound easy, he gets a huge ovation with his Close Encounters theme music and moves into a piece that is incredible, sounds like a futuristic battle theme from some video game couple with Flight Of The Valkyrie. As with the other Rainbow concerts from this tour, it is Cozy Powell who gets perhaps the loudest and most rambunctious ovation, the Japanese fans seem to simply adore him and their enthusiasm throughout his solo seems to drive him to bludgeon his set even more and we all are the winners in that scenario. The 1812 Overture and Lost In Hollywood reprise leave the audience on their feet and wanting more, they will not wait long.
The band return to the stage, again Blackmore continues to feed his Hendrix addiction then in a blink of an eye he drops in the Lazy riff and the place (and listener) go frickin nuts. Cozy does double bass drums and gives us a kick in the ass in a huge way. It’s a short tease but they move into All Night Long and the party is back in full swing. Graham is feeling it also, he is almost shrieking the lyrics, obviously the positive energy of the audience. He sounds like he is having a great time during the call and response section, he lets goes and they answer right back, he asks them to quiet down and they do without hesitation. It is quite exhilarating to hear this section, you really get a feel for the size of the venue and audience capacity. Long Live Rock N Roll follows hot on its heels, it has the Kill The King instrumental that leads into the smashing of the guitar that is incredible frantic with everyone seemingly bashing the hell out of their instruments. The LLRNR reprise ends the concert in fine fashion, a laid back show that finishes on a very high note. The audience claps for more but soon give up as Dorothy sings about that far away place, over the rainbow.
The packaging is the usual Tarantura box set that was used for the similar sets by Judas Priest, KISS, and Led Zeppelin. The box is completely black, this is the Man In Black, and features nice live shots of Ritchie. The two recordings get their own gatefold sleeves, a hand bill for the Tokyo show (flip side of the bill features an advertisement for a series of Gary Newman concerts). There is also a 12 page booklet included in the set, it is made up of the Japanese tour dates as well as live shots. All the CD’s have pictures on them, the individual gatefolds also have pictures of the master cassettes used for this release, the 4 disc deluxe version of the set is limited to 150 numbered copies. This is a very nice set, Tarantura always do an excellent job presenting their Rainbow titles, this set is no different. For the obsessed collectors the deluxe is the one to get, for the more Down To Earth ones, get the single Peach edition, you can’t go wrong with either.