REVIEW: Rainbow – Live in Munich 1977 (vinyl)

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 Love 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.

IMG_20151108_111910Flipping 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 “Love 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.

4/5 stars

A
1. “Kill the King”
2. “Mistreated”
3. “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves”

B
1. “Catch the Rainbow”
2. “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”

C
1. “Still I’m Sad”

D
1. “Man on the Silver Mountain”
2. “Do You Close Your Eyes”

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19 comments

  1. Neat-o! I like that On Stage one you gave me, lots of long songs, if I recall correctly!

    I’ve never understood why they destroy guitars, though. I mean, surely whatever is wrong with it can be fixed by the guitar guy. Or if it’s just bashong it up for fun, they’re being a total dick!

    Also, is this our first peek at your stereo? The source spring of all Lebrain?

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    1. I did give you On Stage, which has since been remastered!

      Blackmore didn’t always destroy guitars, but when he did, he made it count. The stage usually went with them. Even if you don’t approve of the act, you have to admit that’s a hell of a way to end a show.

      No that is not the first view of my stereo, but maybe the first of the turntable in action.

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  2. Love the version of Mistreated on this. Yes its too long, but man the wait for that climax is worth it. Powell crushes it (and I dont mean any disrespect to Paice, who I love as well) As for Dio versus DC, who cares, we can have and love both.

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  3. Love it, thanks for doing this, Mike. I have this on CD, the 2013 2-CD release with the same tracks in slightly different order for the reason you cite in your post (i.e. the length of Still I’m Sad). After watching that embedded video, I think I definitely have to get the DVD also. Awesome!

    I like this better than “On Stage,” which I believe was recorded on the tour Rainbow did the year before this one. This one benefits from being a document of one single show — vice songs lifted and patched together from various nights — as well as having better sound and production. The “quiet” parts of “On Stage,” especially in the songs Mistreated and Catch the Rainbow sound like crap and almost seem to drop out completely. That said, I really dig having BOTH and being able to compare the different jams and the different grooves of Jimmy Bain (bass) and Tony Carey (keys) as compared to Daisley and Stone respectively. One thing I LOVE about Rainbow and Deep Purple is the way nothing comes across as rote — all these players loved playing and changing things up on an almost nightly basis, as your reviews of the varied live output have made clear. I’m not always in the mood for the extended jams but I’m pleased as punch that they are out there in so many unique versions when I do want to hear them.

    When I saw Rainbow in concert in 1981, Blackmore and crew did their long jams on Catch the Rainbow and a medley of Lost in Hollywood/Difficult to Cure (Ode to Joy).

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    1. It’s been a long time since I’ve played On Stage, the full double deluxe version. I’ve never found it that interesting as an album. Especially when Rainbow started issuing live albums and deluxes from the period. It’s due for a rip soon though.

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