Ave Maria (TCDNIJIFUNE-8-1, 2)
Hiroshima-shi Auditorium, Hiroshima, Japan – December 14, 1976
Disc 1: Setting / Tuning; Opening; Over The Rainbow; Start; Kill The King; MC; Guitar Solo; Mistreated; MC; Greensleeves; 16th Century Greensleeves; MC / about Rainbow Arch; Catch The Rainbow; Band Introduction; MC; Lazy; Guitar Tuning; Lazy; Ave Maria (Bach); White Christmas; Man On The Silver Mountain; Improvisation; Man On The Silver Mountain; Starstruck; Man On The Silver Mountain
Disc 2: MC; Keyboard Solo; Stargazer; Guitar Solo; Stargazer; Still I’m Sad; Keyboard Solo; Drum Solo; 1812 Overture; Still I’m Sad; Guitar Solo; A Light In The Black; Guitar Solo; A Light In The Black; Over The Rainbow; Announcement
If you love, or even like, Rainbow’s 1976-78 material, you MUSTacquire this latest edition of Tarantura’s magnificent run of vintage live Rainbow shows. There are multiple reasons for this recommendation.
The first reason is that this is a Mr. Peach recording. The title’s beautiful jacket, which, when opened and laid flat displays a stunning, panoramic image of Blackmore and band on stage and in action under the huge rainbow, also has an image inside of the jacket of a tape player/recorder and two Sony cassettes that are presumably Peach’s masters.
As with all Peaches, this recording is deep, powerful, and balanced with only trace, minor levels of fleeting distortion in some of Dio’s comments between some tracks. There is, however, absolutely no distortion in any of the music. This leads to the second reason for recommending this title.
From the start of the show, where they perform their snippet of “Over the Rainbow”, you know that this is going to be something special. Disc 1 (which is a work of art in itself) contains the throttling opener of “Kill the King”, but the show really kicks into higher gears with “Mistreated”. During Blackmore’s opening riffs of this song the audience can be heard cheering loudly, in unison, to what were probably Blackmore’s prompts between notes.
This is an awesome part of the listening experience. Dio’s performance in this song is, as ever, simply amazing. Vocal ranges from low to high are captured clearly in the recording and not overshadowed by the thunderous, driving sounds from Powell and Bain. “16 Century Greensleeves” is preceded by Blackmore’s beautiful classical soloing that initially contains some anxious audience reactions, but that quickly disappears so you only hear the amazing music.
After laying waste during the song, the next track is “Catch the Rainbow”, which finds many members exclaiming “niji!” during the song’s prelude. The clarity of the recording is evidenced by the bell of Powell’s ride cymbal accents at the opening of this track, which are as present as are his hi-hats. In this song, as well as “Man on the Silver Mountain”, Dio steadily demonstrated his superiority and creativity as a premiere vocalist. Particularly impressive was his soloing (with cascading echo) after the “improvisation” in “Man on the Silver Mountain” that found him singing about a “sweet angel” that simply needs to be heard to be appreciated.
Disc 2, in some contrast to disc 1, may be viewed as the powerhouse of this great title. Beginning with Carey’s great keyboard solo, “Stargazer” is then performed in epic proportion and dimension because of Blackmore’s extended, killer solo (with slide) as Powell, Bain and Carey locked-in big time behind him. After what must’ve been an exhausting version of “Stargazer”, they continue without hesitation into an excellent “Still I’m Sad”, which included Powell’s solo and then a solo by Blackmore that inexorably launched into a wicked version of “A Light in the Black”.
The audiences’ collective head must’ve been spinning as just listening to this show is engrossing and without letdown. In sum, this is simply an incredible concert that was captured in its entirety and now presented in this most beautiful Tarantura production. This leads to another reason for recommending this title.
As mentioned above, the jacket is beautiful and the discs display separate shots from the same group of pictures used on the sleeve. You cannot, as a Rainbow fan, expect anything better for the full experience of this concert than what Tarantura has done on this title. Highly recommended, without reservation.