Difficult To Cure (Tarantura TCDRAINBOW-11)
The Pantages (Warnors) Theatre Fresno, CA – November 13, 1979
(78:28) Countdown, Over The Rainbow, Eyes Of The World, Love’s No Friend, Ritchie’s Solo, Over The Rainbow, Since You’ve Been Gone, All Night Long, Don Airey Keyboard Solo, Lost In Hollywood, A Light In The Black, Ritchie Guitar Solo, Difficult To Cure, Done Airey Keyboard Solo, Cozy Powell Drum Solo, The Year 1812 Festival Overture In E Flat Major, Lost In Hollywood, Ritchie Guitar Solo, Lazy Tease, Man On The Silver Mountain, Blues, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, Kill The King The Guitar Crashing, Long Live Rock’n’ Roll Reprise, Over The Mountain
Billed as the Fresno Rock ‘n’ Roll Archives Vol. 1 this release from Tarantura features the revamped Rainbow in Fresno California courtesy of Tape Informant Led Tattoo and Tape Archivist D.J. Fresno. It is a excellent audience recording, all instruments are clearly represented and well balanced, a pleasure to listen to (a curious bit if useless trivia, the opening act was John Cougar Mellencamp).
The new line up of Cozy Powell, Roger Glover, Don Airey, and Graham Bonnet gave Blackmore arguably one of his strongest line ups. New record, new line up, and a new set list that would showcase a more commercial appealing course to assault audiences with. The recording starts with the countdown leading into Dorothy’s intro of “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore……”and the band hits the stage with Eyes Of The World, one of the heavier songs from the Down To Earth record. Bonnet’s rough vocals gives the music a real edge. Blackmore plays some nice slide during his solo and keyboard fill from Don Airey.
If Mistreated was the disillusioned ending then the next song, Love’s No Friend is the aftermath, a heavy blues tinged track with a intense Blackmore solo, there are many and his playing is sharp and aggressive during this show. Graham Bonnet vocals shine during this song, he hits the high notes with little effort “It gets better’ is his response to the crowd at the songs conclusion. Ritchie and Don interact with a medieval sounding instrumental that leads into the band playing Over The Rainbow again with some excellent slide playing by Blackmore that give a emotional edge and wham the band rips into the hard rock pop of Since You’ve Been Gone. Written by Argent guitarist Russ Ballard the song was not popular with one Cozy Powell but the song was a hit, live it differs little from the recorded version and is quickly followed by the other hit song All Night Long.
More satisfying and derived from a Ritchie Blackmore envisioning a song about a show and a hot woman who ends up with the guitar player, live the song is again similar to the on found on the record save for the midway point where the band slows it down for a little audience interaction. I have to admit the call and response part is pretty weak but thankfully it is short and the band plows through the remainder of the song. after the song finishes there is a tape flip and it does not appear that anything was lost, Bonnet then introduces Keyboard extraordinary Don Airy for the first solo spot that leads directly into the bands new vehicle for soloing and improvisation Lost In Hollywood.
The songs riff sound similar to the Joe Lynn Turner era Can’t Happen Here. Blackmore hits the solo running with a flurry of notes but they are not wasted and are a part of a textured structure, his playing here is spot on. I always marvel at how he can one minute be ripping then he takes it right down to a small delicate piece then just rip back into it. I also like how they employ a section of A Light In The Black that is just total aggression that flows into the Difficult To Cure (Beethoven ninth) and again we are treated to some fine Blackmore / Airey interaction.
A musicians musician Airey is one person who could go toe to toe with him and does, he solo spot is what you would expect, very outer space sounding piece that’s goes through a few movements. It eventually gives way for some great drumming by Mr Powell, there is one guy who is digging it and shouts his appreciation during a quiet spot and many whistles can be heard leading into his tour de force the 1812 Overture.
The audience is excited to hear the band play Lazy, again of of Blackmore’s most endearing riffs, for me I never tire of hearing it as it works so well in the live setting. Of course it is just a prelude to the oldies section of the show beginning with a slightly up tempo Man on the Silver Mountain complete with a short blues interlude that leads into Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll again a short simple version and it works ! Bonnet can hit the vocals easily and they fire up the crowd without going on forever, the crowd gives their approval after the song is done giving the band a short breather.
They return to the stage with a fast paced instrumental Kill The King (should be called Kill the audience) but Blackmore cannot contain himself for long and soon the sound of smashing and feedback can be heard, he gets his “spare” in time for the ending of the song and a quick Long Live Rock reprise. A superbly played concert, it is obvious the new line up and record has rejuvenated Blackmore who again rises to the occasion and thankfully the recording keeps going and we get to hear the Over The Rainbow outro.
The packaging is a gatefold sleeve, a nice live shot on the front and a picture of Cozy Powell, Don Airey, and Graham Bonnet on the back having a laugh while the inside has a full band pose shot, nice indeed. The picture cd is adorned with the front cover and the set is limited to 200 numbered copies. A very nice package that should appeal to the general and serious collector alike, when listening the volume should be at the maximum for enjoyment