From our great friends over at Eagle Rock comes this wild archival live Rainbow document from 1980, when the band, hot on the heels of the release of their Down to Earth album, headlined the Monsters of Rock Festival at Castle Donington on April 16th, which also featured Judas Priest, Scorpions, April Wine, Saxon, Rioit, and Touch. As the one and only album & tour to feature lead vocalist Graham Bonnet, it also marked the last hurrah for drummer Cozy Powell (and in fact this was his last show with the band), who left the band to play with the Michael Schenker Group, Whitesnake, and Black Sabbath. With a line-up that of course also featured lead guitarist extraordinaire Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Roger Glover, and keyboard maestro Don Airey (the latter now both together in Deep Purple), the band are in fine form here in front of an enormous crowd of pumped up metalheads.
Let's start with the good; the CD portion of this set looks to feature most of Rainbow's set that day at Donington, but with the limitations of the format, only about 80 minutes could fit onto the disc, so "Man on a Silver Mountain" and "Love's No Friend" have been omitted, which is kind of a shame, instead giving way to a lot of solos and jamming. However, there are KILLER renditions of "Eyes of the World", "Stargazer", "Catch the Rainbow", and "All Night Long", which sees Bonnet, though no Ronnie James Dio, in fine form. He especially handles the Dio era material quite well, and appears to be having an alcohol fueled blast on the closer "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll". In fact, he no doubt was having the time of his life here, playing in front of the largest crowd of his career, and his between song banter seemed like he was probably feeling no pain from all the pre-show partying he was no doubt partaking in. Blackmore lends his always masterful talents throughout, delivering some scorching guitar work on "Difficult to Cure", "Lost in Hollywood" and of course "Catch the Rainbow". Powell and Airey also get plenty of room to shine here, especially the departing Cozy, who thunders along with incredible precision, and was certainly missed in this band going forward, but with their direction into more commercial waters he wanted to continue to rock out, and did so elsewhere. The sound quality of the CD is decent, and like I mentioned, other than the omission of a few tracks, it's a very good live Rainbow album from an often forgotten era of the bands history.
Now, the DVD is another story. At just less than 30 minutes, it's basically a drastically edited down version of the show, with snippets of a few songs, all out of order and with middling video quality. I'm not sure if the whole concert was filmed, or if not much has survived the years, but overall it's pretty unsatisfying, regardless of how good it is to see this version of the band in this format. Surprisingly, their cover of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" is very strong, and here in it's entirety, but "Catch the Rainbow" is cut in half, as is "Eyes of the World", and "Stargazer", "Since You've Been Gone", and "Lost in Hollywood" are nowhere to be found. Whether we see more from this concert released in the future remains to be seen, but as fun as it is to see the roughly 25 minutes of this show here, you will be left longing for more.
Despite that, it's hard to look at this as anything but a winner, as the Bonnet era of Rainbow often gets overlooked by the superior Dio years and the more commercial Joe Lynn Turner version of the band. If you are a Rainbow fan, you are going to need this in your collection, just keep your expectations in check a little bit.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
2. "All Night Long"
3. "Catch the Rainbow"
4. "Eyes of the World"
5. "Guitar Solo"
6. "Difficult to Cure"
7. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
8. "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll"
1. "Intro / Eyes of the World"
2. "Since You Been Gone"
4. "Catch the Rainbow"
5. "Lost in Hollywood" / "Guitar Solo"
6. "Difficult to Cure" / "Keyboard Solo"
7. "Drum Solo" / "Lost in Hollywood (reprise)"
9. "All Night Long"
11. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
12. "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll"