Swan Lake (Tarantura TCDNIJIFUNE78-02-1,2)
Hiroshima Keruitsu Tiikukan, Hiroshima (Hiroshima Piefecuial Sports Center) Thursday January 12, 1978
(58:00) Opening, Over The Rainbow, Start, Kill The King, Guitar Solo, Mistreated, Greensleeves, 16th Century Greensleeves, Niji Flashing Working, Guitar Solo, Catch The Rainbow, Guitar Solo, Catch The Rainbow, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll
(66:38) MC, Lazy, Man On The Silver Mountain, Blues, Ronnie got a bra, Starstruck, Improvisation, Man On The Silver Mountain, MC, Keyboard Solo, Still I’m Sad, Beethoven Sinfonie nr. 9 d-moll op. 125, Keyboard Solo, Drum Solo, The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E flat major, Still I’m Sad, Guitar Solo, Do You Close Your Eyes, Swan Lake, Announcement, SE
Continuing their current run of recordings featuring the Japanese tours of Japan, this time we are treated to a fantastic recording and show from Hiroshima in 1978. First thing that hits you, aside from the excellent quality of the recording is the aggressive performance. From the time the band breaks into Kill The King it sound more like kill the audience, it is that powerful. W
ell balanced all instruments have great clarity with Dio’s vocals nicely up front, aside from members of the audience who shout at times wildly for their hero, one Ritchie Blackmore. The audience does not detract from the recording or become overbearing but more like part of the enjoyment as they are clearly enjoying themselves. After the initial onslaught of Kill The King and Mistreated, the band settle the intro the 16th Century Greensleeves a group of people cheer loudly for Ritchie and chat during the quiet section and then are deafened as he slams into the main riff of the song.
“She Has Done…Done…Done….” sings Ronnie as you are pummeled into submission, great version of the song. The quiet guitar solo intro has the crowd clapping as the band starts the first epic, Catch The Rainbow. I never get tired of the Dio era versions of this song, he puts so much into the song and it usually the source of inspired and beautiful playing by Blackmore and this version is no different. Mr. Peach must have been very close to stage, you can clearly hear the echo effect to Ronnie’s vocals as well as some subtle keyboard fills I have not noticed on other versions.
“This song we would like to do for the Captain and Tenille, or Mom and Dad as they are more affectionately known, is a song about a man who climbs to the top of Mount Fujiama” is the spirited intro and a almost hoedown intro proceeds a quick flash of Lazy played at lightning speed until the they start Man On The Silver Mountain. Wildly received it is indeed a great version that sounds very powerful in this recording as the crowd claps in time. David Stone breaks into a great keyboard solo during the blues jam and for a minute it was almost like listening to Stormy Monday from the Allman Brothers at Fillmore East show until Ronnie says “What’s this ? A little small for me” talking about a bra thrown onstage. The proceedings are stopped as they try to find the owner and from the sounds Bob Daisley gets the souvenir, a hilarious moment indeed.
As with the other Japanese dates the Improvisation is the familiar Night People, this time with some a Donnie Osmond reference, the crowd is enjoying this bit of improvisation and clap along. Cozy Powell shows “lovely” into the mike as the band continues to joke around and interact with their adoring audience, As Ronnie introduces the new band members Ritchie plays a little riff that almost sounds like the jam Elvis’ band used to play as he introduced his band, it is obvious that the band are enjoying themselves. The second epic Still I’m Sad, the Rainbow answer to Space Truckin’ is up, again a vehicle for improvisation and soloing, it seems to calm the crowd down and down right respectful as Ritchie plays his Beethoven Sinfonie nr. 9 d-moll op. 125 that leads into the keyboard and drum solos. The crowd gives Cozy’s solo a nice round of applause and the band launches into the ending coda and wring every last note out.
The crowd praises the group with applause and chants if “Ritchie Ritchie” and is obvious they will not leave until they hear more and Blackmore answers with a flurry of notes with a keyboard drone accompany that leads into a seldom played (for 1978) Do You Close Your Eyes, clocking in at ten minutes the song disintegrates into Blackmore’s guitar hysteria filled with howling feedback that boarders on psychedelia and disorientation all in one. The concert ends as Swan Lake is played over the PA system, a fantastic end to a fantastic concert.
The packaging is similar to most of the others from this series, a Full color glossy gatefold sleeve, the cover being a reproduction of a concert ticket, presumably the one used by Mr. Peach. The inner picture has the venue and master cassettes on one side and a great live shot of Ronnie on the other with the notation “Ronnie James Dio was finally laid to rest on June 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, Ca.” a nice gesture by Tarantura to recognize RJD. The recording is up there with the previous release “Short But Hard and Heavy” as one of the better recordings from the tour. With other labels releasing titles featuring RJD, the nice packaging and recordings combined with very tastefully mastering make this series of Rainbow titles a nice part of my collection and are highly recommended.
This is indeed another masterful Tarantura production, and another insightful review for anyone considering this title. Of further interest is the most recent in Tarantura’s Rainbow onslaught, which is entitled “Captain Amazing & Mr. Cornflakes.” Taken from Mr. Peach’s tapes of Rainbow’s Nagoya show the night before the Swan Lake show, it’s possible that the new title came from one of Dio’s remarks just before Greensleeves in Swan Lake about a “Mr. Cornflakes”. As he didn’t say anything about a “Captain Amazing”, I wonder if yet another “Cornflakes” reference was made at Nagoya. Only time, and listening to that concert, will tell. Two thumbs up to Tarantura for continuing this fascinating run of vintage Rainbow fronted by the late, great RJD.