Rainbow – Ritchie Is A Blue Bell (Tarantura TCDNIJIFUNE78-0771,2)

Ritchie Is A Blue Bell (Tarantura TCDNIJIFUNE78-0771,2)  

Kyoto Kaikan Dai-Ichi Hall Kyoto, Japan Wednesday January 18, 1978  

Disc 1 (62:04) Opening, Over The Rainbow, Start, Kill The King, Guitar Solo, Mistreated, Greensleeves, 16th Century Greensleeves, MC / Niji flashing working, Guitar Solo, Catch The Rainbow, Guitar Solo, Drum Solo Intro, Catch The Rainbow, MC, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll  

Disc 2 (64:26) MC, Lazy, Man On The Silver Mountain (Slow guitar version), Man On The Silver Mountain, Guitar solo, Blues, Man On The Silver Mountain, Startstruck, Man On The silver Mountain, Band Introduction, Keyboard Solo, Still I’m Sad, Beethoven Sinfonie Nr. 9 =moll op.125, Keyboard Solo, Drum Solo, 1812 Overture, Still I’m Sad, Guitar Solo, Do You Close Your Eyes, Over The Rainbow  

With the wife and kid gone for the afternoon seeing the latest Harry Potter movie it gives me the chance to put down my thoughts on the latest Rainbow title featuring a Mr. Peach recording from Kyoto in 1978. Having not reviewed a 1978 Japanese show for close to a year it came most welcoming for two obvious reasons, its a 78 Rainbow show and a Mr. Peach recording. Well balanced, clear and detailed superb sounding with a most wonderful atmosphere, simply an excellent recording for the period and most enjoyable when played at a loud volume although there is a small amount of tapes hiss and minor overload during the very loud parts it does not detract from the recording or my enjoyment of it.

The city of Kyoto was the seventh gig on the Japanese tour and the band is relaxed and in fantastic shape thus rewarding the adoring audience with a superb show. The recording starts with a couple of notes being played by Blackmore leading into the Over The Rainbow introduction and the band taking the stage as Ritchie leads the charge with the opening notes of Kill The King.

Not as aggressive as some other versions the band plays effortlessly, Dio hitting all the vocals parts with ease with a dramatic “Take him Down Down take his head” , the rhythm section lays a solid foundation for the vocal and guitar prowess during the show. “Thank you ! Alright Thank you Thank you, great to be back in Kyoto Fantastic” are Ronnie’s opening comments and the band wastes little time going into Mistreated, Blackmore plays a gentle solo that goes strikingly aggressive and the crowd cheers their approval and at times punctuated by David Stones keyboards it sets the tone for the dramatic song.

Written by Blackmore and David Coverdale for Deep Purple the song, from what I’ve read, was a deeply personable song for the latter and a key moment on the Burn record and shows and then Ronnie James Dio takes a hold of it and almost erases its memory. Night after night he puts so much vocal energy into the song giving it a different appearance, like looking at a picture and its negative.

Applause and shouts of Ritchie ! greet the quiet introduction to Greensleeves, the crowd goes from dead quiet to clapping along as he picks outs the notes, a segment nicely augmented by Cozy playing in time on his cymbals and then he hits the heavy crunch of 16th Century Greensleeves riff. I much more prefer the 1978 versions to the 1976 ones, the band is not forcing anything and the song goes on effortlessly, Blackmore’s solos are not overdone, the same thing cannot be said for one Cozy Powell, his drum fills are astounding (as usual) and again the song features a great metallic ending.

The Niji gets its “solo” spot of the night to a great audience applause and the band continues with the shows epic piece, Catch The Rainbow. The audiences clapping almost drowns out Blackmore’s very quiet introduction, their passion adds to the songs beauty and gives it a fantastic atmosphere.

 The songs solos are legendary and this one is no different, after the initial movement Blackmore plays a delicate solo then out of nowhere comes Cozy Powell, his drums sound literally like a thunder storm and Blackmore responds with a flurry of notes one could compare to the strong winds of a tornado of intensity leading to the heavy repries and an gentle ending where the crowd listens intently and Blackmore plays the somber closing notes.

A standard Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll finishes the first disc. “A song called simply……Man on the Silver Mountain” is Ronnie’s intro to the signature tune but first a speed metal take on the Purple classic Lazy then the audience is rewarded with a slow blues take on the introduction to Man on the Silver Mountain sounding as if Eric Clapton was interpreting the song as the crowd claps in time and giving it down home vibe, finally the band heads into the familiar version.

Again the song can be broken into movements, the blues interlude is very good with some nice interaction between the keyboards and guitar with Blackmore again getting into some Claptonesque playing followed by a fat bass solo by Bob Daisley. You can clearly hear a couple girls in the audience shout in unison “Ronnie !”, so is the intimate nature of the concert as he begins his nighty improvised spot, tonight it starts with “Nobody loves but my momma…..” that leads into a fine Starstruck interlude, so fine it leads you to wonder why the band never played the song live.

Ronnie takes a minute to introduce both the new and old members of the band, David Stone gets his solo introduction to Still I’m Sad, the nightly vehicle for soloing improvisation. His solo has some vocals over them that sound very strange, I could not make out what was said. His solo is very ethereal and at times you think you are listening to a Church organ right before Blackmore starts picking the opening notes of the song as the crowd claps in time. A embryonic version of the song that would become Difficult To Cure years later is played and gives way to keyboard and drums solos leading to the Powell tour de force 1812 Overture and the Still I’m Sad reprise that brings the house down.

The crowd will not let the band go, the chant “Rainbow” repeatedly until the band takes the stage, its encore time. The standard encore for this tour is Do You Close Your Eyes that typically leads into guitar aeronautics aka destruction coupled with large amounts of feedback. During its most violent part the crowd cheers and claps in obvious awe of the showman that is the Man in Black. With back up guitar in place the band roars through the rest of the song and concert…..Superb concert !

The packaging is typical for the Rainbow releases, glossy gatefold cover with art made up from the concerts ticket with a picture of the master cassettes and of Ronnie and Ritchie in the center. The picture cd’s have Dio on the first, Blackmore on the second, another great looking and sounding, release. My praise for the Peach Rainbow recordings is high and this one falls inline with the others, Mr. Peach must be considered the “Master Of The East” and I can only express my enthusiasm for them with a simple Thank You.

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  1. Another excellent review of yet another Rainbow masterpiece from Tarantura. One of the fun parts of this show was when the band was experiencing a hiccup at the beginning of Sixteenth Century Greensleeves, requiring impromptu starts and stops by Powell & Blackmore. The high fidelity of this Peach recording allows us to vividly experience that one-off stuff. Word on the street is that there’s another 1978 Rainbow concert about to be issued by Tarantura – keep `em coming!


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