Thanks for joining me this week for my Deep Purple Project. I admit that this review is a bit of a cop-out. I got dreadfully sick with the flu a week ago and was not able to finish any more Purple reviews for this week. I pulled an old one out of the hopper instead. This is close to Purple, — the Man in Black himself, and Blackmore’s Rainbow. This review is for music writer Victim of the Fury!
RAINBOW – Live in Munich 1977 (2013 Eagle Rock 180 gram 2 LP set)
Something about listening to classic rock with that rich, warm sound of pristine vinyl played on nice big speakers for the first time…is there anything better? Dropping the needle on side A, let us begin the ritual of properly listening to a double live album.
This 180 gram was a birthday gift from my sis, knowing my love of all things Ronnie James Dio. Not to be confused with the double CD Live in Germany 1976, this freshly mastered concert was recorded in 1977 for German television. Dio was one hell of a powerhouse, especially in 1977. Live in Munich contains what must stand as one of the best Dio performances caught on tape. This was caught just before the album release for Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll. “Kill the King” was a storming opening and the live recording is all but flawless. If Rainbow could be faulted for anything at this point in their brief life, perhaps they played too many long jams on stage. “Mistreated”, the Deep Purple concert favourite, is the first of these. As usual for the Man in Black, Ritchie Blackmore himself, the song is almost 12 minutes in length when stretched out live.
Lets not get into comparing Ronnie James Dio to David Coverdale. There’s no point to that. As with Black Sabbath, you either like Ronnie’s interpretation or you don’t. Regardless is it drummer Cozy Powell who detours most noticeable from the Deep Purple original, doing a busier blast than Ian Paice did. As for Blackmore, his solo spans the entire spectrum delightfully. He fluffs it for a moment, only to immediately take control and keep going. This is a brilliant version of a song we have heard many times. Ritchie then takes center stage for a delicate workout to “Greensleeves”, before blasting into the Rainbow barnstormer. Once again, this is probably the best live version on tape.
Flipping the record to side B, we are treated to Ritchie seemingly tuning his guitar…melodically…working his way into a lengthy “Catch the Rainbow” including classical interludes. There’s more than a little “Little Wing” within “Catch the Rainbow”, which Ritchie plays into. Bassist Bob Daisley sings the angelic backing vocals, proving why he has been such an integral member to so many bands over the years. In fact this would have to be one of the strongest Rainbow lineups, period. Keyboardist David Stone rounded out the quintet, and he is kept busy on “Catch the Rainbow”. The brand new song “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll” is next, and a few people in the crowd indicate they may already know the song! It is presented more Deep Purple in style (hints of “Black Night”), perhaps a bit more laid back with nice flashes of organ here and there.
The second LP has to shuffle the track order out of necessity. “Still I’m Sad” is 25 minutes, so it must occupy all of side C, even though it was played after “Man on the Silver Mountain” in concert. There is something about a side of vinyl that contains one monolithic slab of music in only one track. It feels like a challenge, a solo-laden endurance challenge. Once it starts rolling, it becomes one of the most intense versions of the song yet recorded by Rainbow. Then it goes all over the place as pretty much every member has moments to shine. It’s way too much and it’s way over the top and taxing even to the staunching rock fans. It was 1977 and this is the way it went down!
Settling in for the final slab o’rock, side D is also daunting with two tracks of 15 minutes apiece. Purple’s “Lazy” is teased out, as part of “Man on the Silver Mountain”. Lots of soloing and noodling abound, and the big weakness with this period of Rainbow is that they thought we needed this much of it. The segue into “Starstruck” is way more fun. More solos and a frantic “Do You Close Your Eyes” ends the concert. Stone’s keyboard solo is cheesy fun, but overall this is another great over the top performance from Rainbow. You can hear a guitar destroyed at the end of it all.
Double lives are best experienced on vinyl, and pristine 180 gram records fit the bill perfectly. If you’re going to go double live for Rainbow, do it with Live in Munich.
1. “Kill the King”
3. “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves”
1. “Catch the Rainbow”
2. “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”
1. “Still I’m Sad”
1. “Man on the Silver Mountain”
2. “Do You Close Your Eyes”