With the video age well and truly upon us we find ourselves now confronted with a tasty selection of A-1 music tapes (one waits in trepidation for a deluge of bootlegs that lurk around some crooked corner) and here, surprisingly enough, amongst the for-runners is a bonafide Rainbow tape catching the band midway through an American tour.

The reason for this hack's astonishment at the release of this gem is due to Blackmore's renowned reticence towards any form of contact with a camera lens, one only has to recall the California Jam where some TV cameras came in for the full wrath from themaninblack's Stratocaster neck. Recently, though, he seems to have contradicted his mean, moody persona by being unusually co-operative as demonstrated here where the video team manage to capture the full dynamics, histrionics and general flavour of a Rainbow show, with plenty of close up shots of Blackmore in raving form, and remain intact which is quite an achievement in itself.

Apart from some specially put together footage for the intro the rest is essentially the show as witnessed by the San Antonio audience that night. No smart edits and not too much juggling with sound as one might normally expect; this is the real, raw and live stuff - as it happened, and until we've got 3D perfected this is the closest you'll get to seeing Blackmore and his merry mayhem inducing cohorts in the comfort of your living room.

My video doesn't posess the stereo facilities necessary to hear the full potential of the recording and to be honest I prefer a direct 'straight between the ears' mono sound. Kicking off with 'Spotlight Kid' and culminating with an axe splintering rendition of 'Smoke On The Water' amongst the 1,001 reasons that make this an imperative purchase is that although you've probably seen the group live I doubt that you'll ever get such a grandstand panoramic view of Blackmore and his theatrics - the various gestures and cues for the rest of the group to follow. The cameras have obviously been given full access of the stage area and they certainly make good use of this privilege.

The main success of this whole affair is that it's actually impressed and interested people I know who prior to seeing it wouldn't have dreamed of putting a Rainbow record on their deck. Since having a viddy of this I know there'll be lots of new faces the next time Rainbow tour England (an event that is long overdue). The band live and on vinyl are situations worlds apart due to commercial pressures and their artistic integrities being held hostage by the ever growing menace of American AOR radio. This video encapsulates a happy medium of both facets and successfully - check it out.

Pete Makowski, Kerrang 1983