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Powell to flex their collective muscles  (Roger Glover is on bass in this line-up of the band) but can only serve as a historical document because in truth it’s not really that listenable.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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