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Rainbow

Live In Germany 1976

Review by Gary Hill

I never got the chance to see Rainbow live. I really regret that fact. This double disc set shows what a powerhouse act they were live. I mean, the studio albums are strong, but this material really took on new power with the extended jams. This band was on fire. The recording quality here isn’t perfect, but the performances more than make up for any kind of deficiency there.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Kill The King

There’s a short intro section that’s a snippet from the movie of “The Wizard of Oz.” Then the group come in, tentatively at first with a little burst of hard rock. When it switches into the song proper it almost feels like early Rush just a little. This is a lot rawer than the studio performance and has more of a Deep Purple texture than that rendition did. It’s also got a lot of energy and power. This is a real screamer and a great way to start things in style. The guitar solo here is trademark Blackmore.

Mistreated
The introduction to this cut is brought in with an interesting echoey guitar solo.  From there the main riff gradually emerges and we’re off on a killer bluesy rock jam. Around the five and a half minute mark (this live rendition clocks in at over sixteen minutes in length) we get a drop down to a melodic, mellower, guitar solo section. Blackmore takes into almost jazz-oriented territory at times. Eventually it starts to rise back up into more rocking sounds. Still, that climb is gradual. It takes a while, but we get back to the song proper and it’s stronger than ever. This is a real screamer that shows that, while the band was great on album, Rainbow really shined the brightest in live performance. There’s a bit of the guitar and vocal call and response that was so popular in the 1970s presented here. For my money, that section could have been left out. It just seems like something that hasn’t aged well and was a bit overdone even in the day.
Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
Ritchie Blackmore has always had a fascination with old world music. Now that fascination is expressed with Blackmore’s Night. Here “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” showed the same passion. The first two and half or so minutes are mellow, but then the group fire out into a hard rocking jam based on the musical themes.
Catch The Rainbow
Almost half an hour in length, this is a slowly evolving track that really fits as progressive rock. It starts melodic and fairly mellow, but then grows out to a real powerhouse jam. This one is worth the price of admission all by itself. There’s so much going on with the track and it’s really magical.
Disc 2
Man On The Silver Mountain
Here we get a rocker that’s not all that far removed from the kind of stuff Blackmore did in Deep Purple. In fact, the opening includes some guitar soloing from Blackmore from Purple’s “Lazy.” After running through a smoking version of “Man on the Silver Mountain,” they take things out to a full on blues treatment for a while. From there we get an acapella treatment from Dio doing the vocals from “...Silver Mountain.” The band join in a soulful blues jam and there’s more inspired jamming. Dio is the key point in this section, though and we get some audience clapping. It drops back to vocals without instrumentation before they charge back into the song proper to bring it full circle.

Stargazer

After a spoken introduction from Dio, keyboards wail to bring this in with style. In fact, the first four minutes plus of this track is a keyboard solo. They fire out from there into one of the most dramatic tracks of the whole set. They take it out after running through the song proper into a killer jam. All in all, they extend this out into a seventeen minute plus epic. They eventually bring it back to the main song structure to bring it all back home. It’s got some amazing guitar soloing, but when it comes to Blackmore, what else can you expect?

Still I'm Sad
Here’s another powerhouse hard rocking work out. There’s definitely a retro sound to some of it, particularly the keyboards, but everyone gets a chance to shine as they turn this thing into a Deep Purple-like jam that’s awesome. Around the three and a half minute mark they take into some mellower territory. They continue in strictly instrumental modes from there with various instruments taking the lead in this mellower movement. Various little musical quotes appear here and there as this continues and it times it makes me think a bit of Vanilla Fudge. Then there’s a keyboard driven section that just screams “Emerson Lake and Palmer.” As all this is going on, the volume level is gradually rising up, particularly during the keyboard solo. After the six and a half minute mark we get a drum solo as this is quickly being established as a “solo showcase.” Around the ten and a half minute mark the other instruments return for a burst of sound. Then they launch back into the song proper. The resolution section is awesome.
Do You Close Your Eyes
Blackmore’s guitar starts thing unaccompanied. Then around the minute mark the rest of the band pounds in and we’re off on another energetic Rainbow jam that’s great. More killer instrumental interplay takes us into the stratosphere as the piece continues.
 
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