Hola, Arco Iris (Tarantura TCDRAINBOW-17-1, 2)
Plaza Toros Monumental, Barcelona, Spain – July 3, 1981
Disc 1 (42:21) Intro; Pomp and Circumstances Marches (Edward Elgar), Over The Rainbow (Wizard of Oz), Start, Spotlight Kid, Love’s No Friend, I Surrender, Man On The Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow
Disc 2 (64:15) Can’t Happen Here, Keyboard Solo, Lost In Hollywood, Difficult To Cure, Guitar Solo, Lost In Hollywood, Difficult To Cure, Guitar and Drum Jam, Drum Solo, Long Live Rock and Roll, Lazy, All Night Long, Woman From Tokyo, Smoke On The Water, Kill The King, Long Live Rock And Roll, End with Intro Over The Rainbow (Wizard of Oz)
The tour for the Difficult To Cure record was cut into three main legs. The American trek was first followed by a European leg and lastly a Japanese leg. Tarantura has covered this tour before with three releases all sourced from excellent Mr. Peach masters featuring concerts from the Japanese leg. For this release they give us a recording from the European leg, in mid summer, of an open air gig that featured a line up of Def Leppard, Rainbow and UFO (who were a last minute replacement for the Scorpions).
The recording is good and clear with the vocals out in front and when JLT hits the high notes tends to overshadow the rest of the band, all other instruments are clear and well balanced, but as is usual with open air recordings is a little thin sounding that favors the upper frequencies. There is very little crowd noise directly by the taper and overall is an enjoyable listen. It has had a prior release as Catalunia 1981 (2Pro-CDR Lost & Found. LAF -1486/1487) and possibly under the title Bull Fighter but I have no company information on this title. The recording starts with “Pomp and Circumstances” before “Over The Rainbow” and the band taking the stage. “Spotlight Kid” is a great opening song that is greeted by some sort of pyrotechnic that garners a loud cheer from the crowd. The sound takes a minute to clear up but you can easily tell the band is out for blood on this eve. Blackmore and Airey do some nice note trading that harkens back to his days in Purple where he would spar with Jon Lord.
Blackmore takes another stab at electric English blues with an excellent “Love’s No Friend”, Turner does a good job handling the vocals on the Bonnet era songs. Bobby Rondinelli is providing a very solid beat, his drumming skills are second to none but it is Blackmore’s fiery leads that ignite the music, he is indeed having a time. As the song moves into the frenzied last part Blackmore just goes off giving all a lesson in fury. Joe Lynn greets the crowd and tells them of their new record on Polydor and introduced “I Surrender”. Blackmore had long wanted to move into a more popular AOR sound and this song is a big step to that goal. In direct contrast the band lumbers through an uninspired “Man On The Silver Mountain”, it just fails to deliver with its new pop arrangement. Joe Lynn has to calm the crowd and asks the large gathering to not push up front as people are getting hurt down front, thankfully the band play “Catch The Rainbow” to help calm them. Another contrast as the band, JLT included, play a simply wonderful version of “Catch The Rainbow”, Blackmore’s playing is incredibly mellow and delicate coupled with intensity and provides a dramatic close to the first disc.
The second disc begins with Joe trying to get the crowd fired back up, asking them if they want rock and roll, the band deliver and rip through “Can’t Happen Here”, a new song that is much more satisfying than “I Surrender”. The music keeps building, Don takes a solo and leads the band into “Lost In Hollywood”, I am guessing that a tape flip happened between the first and second discs as the sound is slightly duller sounding. Blackmore leads the band through the paces and seems to be in a trance as he plays a beautiful Arabic style solo reminiscent of “Stargazer” as a prelude to “Difficult To Cure”. The fun begins with the song as it is a vehicle for the guitarist and keyboard extraordinaire to duel; Airey is one of the few people who can hold his own with the guitarist. The band open things up with the improvisation, the guitar drum jam is particularly nice, Bobby is drumming his arse off in spectacular fashion, he is soon left to fend for himself and gets the crowd cheering as he just doesn’t keep the pace but turns it up several notches, incredible drummer!
JLT makes his return and helps get an incredible ovation for Rondinelli and the band goes into the last song of the set, “Long Live Rock And Roll”. The song is one of the only Dio era songs in the set and does not suffer much from the newer treatment, the audience certainly doesn’t care, they clap along in complete enjoyment and they even get into some sing along territory to great effect. The song ends and there is time for a tape flip before the encores, the sound is muffled possibly due to the taper protecting his equipment and sadly will remain like this for the rest of the concert, the fevered crowd cheer and clap for more. The band return to the stage with a brief stab at the Purple classic “Lazy”, of course the song is just a tease as Blackmore breaks into “All Night Long” from the incredible Down To Earth record, the song features some nice vocal improvisation from JLT. Blackmore continues to tease, he plays “Woman From Tokyo” and gets the crowd amped up and they go ballistic when he breaks into “Smoke On The Water” and things heat up when the rest of the band kick in. The band finish with a frenzied version of “Kill The King”, instrumental of course that is a vehicle for guitar improvisation, or as its better know as flat out abuse. Blackmore beats the hell out his tortured Stratocaster much to the delight of the audience. There is a quick reprise of “Long Live Rock And Roll” to end the concert, thankfully the taper left his rig going and we hear a huge ovation for the group as Dorothy sings of a far off land.
The packaging is typical Tarantura, gatefold sleeve adorned with live shots of the band, well Blackmore. There is a very dramatic shot from the side stage of TheManInBlack playing in front of some of the stage pyro. A special thanks is given to Mr. Parsley as a tape archivist and the CDs are the standard picture fare featuring our favorite guitar player. While not what I would call an essential release, I save that for the Peach recordings, this is certainly a solid effort by Tarantura, one that does lead me to wonder if the label will ever release anything from the remaining 1982-84 years of the band?