Short But Hard And Heavy (Tarantura TCDNIJIFUNE78-11-1,2)
Kohriyama Shimin-Kaikan, Fukushima – January 24th, 1978
Disc 1 (54:49): Yoninbayashi ending; SE 1; SE 2; SE 3; Rainbow Monitor Check; Over The Rainbow; Start; Kill The King; PA trouble; MC; Guitar Solo; Mistreated; Guitar solo; Mistreated; Greensleeves; 16th Century Greensleeves; Niji Flashing working; Guitar Solo; Catch The Rainbow; Guitar Solo; Catch The Rainbow; MC; Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
Disc 2 (36:00): MC; Man On The Silver Mountain; Blues; Man On The Silver Mountain; Starstruck; Man On The Silver Mountain; MC; Keyboard Solo; Still I’m Sad; Beethoven Sinfonie Nr. 9 d-moll op. 125; Keyboard Solo; The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E flat major; break; Still I’m Sad; Over The Rainbow; Announcement
From the opening seconds of legendary Japanese prog-rock band Yonin-Bayashi’s set closer, just before Rainbow took the stage, you know that this is yet another fantastic Mr. Peach recording blessed by Tarantura’s magical finishing touches. The 2 silver discs display separate, crystal clear pictures of Blackmore on stage, with the menaced shot of him on disc 2 being apropos for this great release’s title.
Short But Hard And Heavy captures Rainbow’s concert on January 24, 1978, from the audience in what can be fairly described as at least very good, and largely excellent, sound quality. The show occurred a little less than 2 months after their stupendous show in Munich that has received commercial release, which gives perspective to anyone considering getting this release. The set list, however, is shorter, suggesting a reason for part of the release’s title. Seven songs were essentially performed, although there were portions of others played along with improvisations, and no Cozy Powell drum solo.
Make no mistake, however, there is nothing “short” about the band’s renditions, with “Kill the King” ripping the roof off in 4:39; “Mistreaated” (with guitar solos) ending after around 10 minutes; “Catch the Rainbow” (with guitar solo) approaching 15 minutes in length; “Long Live Rock and Roll” being 8 ½ minutes long; “Man on the Silver Mountain”, with “blues” and “Starstruck” sewn in, stretching to around 10 minutes; and “Still I’m Sad” (with keyboard solos and other instrumentals) approaching 20 minutes in length. It was within those performances that the “hard and heavy” part of this release’s title becomes easily understood.
After “Over the Rainbow” was ceremoniously performed, Blackmore tore into an impromptu prelude to “Kill the King”. Dio was in particularly spirited voice, and Blackmore’s fret board work can be clearly heard before he launched into a demonic slide lead. That was punctuated by the perfectly synchopated rhythm patterns of Powell, Daisley and Stone. A totally awesome start to the show, but, when listening closely, feedback began about 20 seconds into the song that hung in the background thereafter. Unfortunately, the concert was marred by problems with the sound system, so much so that Tarantura named a specific track (#9) as “PA trouble”. For this listener, the PA issues only enhanced the live ambiance of this recording, and did not distract from the listening experience.
The “PA trouble” that followed “Kill the King” brought the show to a standstill, and then the buzzing magnified in volume to such a point that Mr. Peach turned off the recorder. The recording cut back in toward the end of Dio’s comments about pressing on, saying “we’ll try it again” on “Mistreated”, which may have been partially missed by the recording because of the technical troubles. Undaunted, the band puts in a stunning performance of this song, which was most definitely “hard and heavy.” Dio’s vocals were in consistently strong, soaring form, which included him improvising, alone, about having “lost my head, feeling dead, going down, down, down” in amazing range enhanced by echo.
Blackmore’s dreamy “Greensleeves” beginning to “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves”, always a highlight for this reviewer, was truncated because (it seems) Blackmore’s focus was distracted by the PA’s background humming. This caused him to prematurely stop “Greensleeves” and go right into the opening riff to “Sixteenth Century”. The band tore the cover off the ball in the song, however, with Blackmore seeming to retaliating against the PA with more crazy fret work. Peach’s recording gets it all, clearly from the bottom to high ends.
“Catch the Rainbow” is similarly stunning, with a solo Blackmore began more than 8 minutes into the song involving his tremolo bar that he then continues, alone, before Powell’s fill pulls them all back in to finish the song in a heavy metal flurry. This had to have been an amazing sight, with the huge rainbow illuminated over the stage. The song’s end included Dio’s closing solo, and a final finish by Powell’s splash cymbal and a bass drum punch.
As mentioned above, “Man on the Silver Mountain” included (as usual) a “blues” improvisation. The recording captured this beautifully, with Stone’s organ playing as present as the bell of Powell’s ride cymbal, and a solo by Bob Daisley thrown in for good measure! Stone also played an eerie, but apropos, keyboard solo that ended with Blackmore scraping his strings before tearing into a very heavy version of “Still I’m Sad”.
But there was something different about the performance of this song this night, which may have been because of ongoing technical issues as heard through the Beethoven interpretation and Stone’s further soloing during the track. Powell also apparently did not do a drum solo in this concert, although the band did perform the 1812, Festival Overture in E flat major that normally followed his soloing. They also did not perform another song after “Still I’m Sad”, and there was an “announcement” afterward in Japanese that may have explained why this concert was “short” as compared to other Rainbow marathons. Still, the band put on an amazing, “hard and heavy” performance that compensated for any technical issues, making this yet another fantastic title to have in any Rainbow collector’s library.
The outside of Tarantura’s jacket is a close-up glossy picture of Blackmore on stage, with Powell’s huge kit behind him awash in gorgeous lighting. On the inside of the jacket is an overhead picture of Rainbow stretching-out on stage, with Blackmore, Dio and Daisley in separate spotlights, a copy of a ticket from this show, and a picture of the concert hall. As always, copies of Mr. Peach’s master Sony “duad” cassettes were also displayed, giving this release its incredible value to Rainbow collectors. This title is highly recommended.