Live in Munich 1977

Rainbow • Live in Munich 1977 (Eagle Records DD0242)

A beautiful relic from the era of the rock album

The BBC recently announced the end of the legendary Top of the Pops. Fortunately, the 'rocky' brother of that program, WDR's Rockpalast, is still very much alive after more than thirty years. The show's archives are a veritable treasure room, from which a live concert recorded with German precision is regularly released. Now it is the turn of the concert that Rainbow gave in the Munich Olympiahalle on October 20, 1977.

Only the line-up of the band on this double CD is enough to make the enthusiast's mouth water: Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Cozy Powell on drums and Bob Daisley on bass. The stranger among these legendary figures is keyboardist Dave Stone, but he remains well afloat in the violence.

The gentlemen in Bavaria learned as they only could in the 1970s; there are only eight songs on this double CD. Yet they only go too far in "Still I'm Sad", because then the inevitable drum solo comes into play. On the other hand, every second of the 17:31 minutes of "Catch the Rainbow", the 14:39 minutes of "Man on the Silver Mountain" and especially the 11:09 minutes of "Mistreated" is justified.

Dio is at the top of his game here. The little man with the hurricane voice sounds more powerful and clear on these live recordings than on many studio records. Blackmore is not inferior to him; his solos here are as essential an addition to the rock guitar canon as those on “Made in Japan”.

For example, Live in Munich 1977, after Led Zeppelin's "How the West Was Won", is yet another magnificent relic that has emerged from the archives of the arena rock era.

Martijn ter Haar, Kinda Muzik, July 6, 2006

Rainbow • Live in Munich 1977 (Eagle Rock Entertainment)

This particular performance was captured live in Munich Germany on October 20th, 1977 and saw Rainbow at their peak with a couple of new members namely Bob Daisley, bass and Canadian Dave Stone on keyboards. This particular concert almost never happened as Ritchie Blackmore had been arrested a few days prior in Austria when he got into a fight with a security guard who was roughing up fans in the front row of one of their shows. After spending a day in jail, bail was posted and he was literally driven straight to this concert and right up onstage. The show would've been scrapped if the German camera crews weren't waiting to film the show for German television and finally, at close to midnight, Rainbow finally took to the stage. Many bootleg versions of this legendary concert (both audio and video) have surfaced throughout the years but now, it's finally being given a proper release with the added feature of Dolby 5.1 surround sound.

Although the track listing is similar, Live In Munich is much superior to the On Stage album in many ways. The band sounds tighter and Ritchie Blackmore sounds and looks totally content and in control as is reflected in his phenomenal and often improvised guitar playing. For a complete concert performance, this only contains 8 songs with Kill The King being the fiery opening track. Deep Purple's Mistreated is given the full treatment and Dio does a great job with the vocals. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves from the debut album is given a little bit of an "extension" as does Catch The Rainbow which has to be one of the most stunning performances by Ritchie Blackmore ever. The track ebbs and flows into many different realms with the band being so in sync that they just follow what Ritchie is doing. His soloing just soars throughout this one and it's a much better version than found on the On Stage live album. The crowd gets into a sing along with Long Live Rock 'N Roll; a new track that many had never heard before and Man On The Silver Mountain begins with some cool "doodling" by Ritchie including a few riffs from the intro to Deep Purple's Lazy before ploughing into the signature riff for the song. This one's a real chameleon with many tangents and tempo changes including slow bluesy interludes, extended jams and improvisation. A few bars of Lady Starstruck make an appearance near the end of the track and we even hear Dio chanting about "Night People" during a dreamy passage near song's end. Interestingly Night People is a track off of his Dream Evil album that would surface some 8 or 9 years later. Still I'm Sad once again gets the full jam/improvisational treatment with the song clocking in at over 25 minutes. The set closer Do You Close Your Eyes is a real barn burner and with extended soloing etc. clocks in at over 9 minutes long.

Although commercial success really didn't happen until the Joe Lynn Turner era of Rainbow with albums like Straight Between The Eyes, Difficult To Cure and Bent Out Of Shape, the Dio era that recorded Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Rising and Long Live Rock 'N Roll will always be the definitive line-up. With Live In Munich, we get to see once again just how brilliant this band was in their prime. To top things off, this show was the only one that was ever filmed during this era of the band...a must for Rainbow fans!!!

Marty, Metal Reviews - July 6, 2006