Album review: RAINBOW – Monsters Of Rock Live At Donington 1980

RAINBOW - Monsters Of Rock Live At Donington 1980

Eagle Rock [Release date 22.04.16] CD/DVD

Is it me or are Rainbow – 35 years on – viewed through rose-tinted spectacles?  The studio albums are worthy but – live – there is excess, there is indulgence, and there’s a lot of flab.  Having seen them in their heyday, I only really remember the impressive light show.

‘Monsters Of Rock’, recorded in 1980, is a good example.  From the opening bombast of ‘Eyes Of The World’ via a dragging mid-section including the ubiquitous ‘guitar solo’, ‘keyboard solo’ and ‘drum solo’, taking up a full 25 minutes of playing time.

It does allow Messrs. Blackmore, Don Airey and Cozy Powell to flex their collective muscles  (Roger Glover is on bass in this line-up of the band) but can only serve as a historical document because in truth it’s not really that listenable.  And Graham Bonnet must have been able to flick through TV channels behind the stage a lot of the time.

The extended ‘call and response’ of ‘All Night Long’ (with Bonnet doing his best “Percy Edwards” impression) doesn’t make for the easiest of listening.  Throw in a very brief snatch of Deep Purple’s ‘Lazy’ and the even briefer  ‘Blues’ and a shouty almost punk cover of the Goffin-King song ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ and you could feel short changed.  Even liner note king Malcolm Dome struggles to say anything enlightening.  I suppose you just had to be there.

In this respect, the gig is better seen and heard and the DVD in this CD/DVD package includes the surviving footage and enables listeners to see Ritchie trashing his guitar at the end, a la Hendrix.

Let’s hope that his Rainbow revival this summer will focus as much on the songs as the showmanship.  ***1/2

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.


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Power Plays w/c 7 July (Mon-Fri)

CROBOT Low Life (Mascot)
JAILBIRDS Thrill Of The Chase (Golden Robot Records)
SCARLET REBELS No One Else To Blame(indie)
WICKED STONE Unchained (indie)
JARED JAMES NICHOLS Nails In the Coffin (Listenable Records)

Featured Albums w/c 7 July (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 RESTLESS SPIRITS (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 LICENCE N.2.O.2.R (Metalapolis)
14:00-16:00 ANGELA PERLEY 4:30 (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

STEVE HILLAGE Open (1979)



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