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Powell to flex their collective muscles (Roger Glover is on bass in this line-up of the band) but can only serve as a historical document because in truth it’s not really that listenable.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