Purple Pyramid Records has released another live Rainbow package, but have no fear, it looks like they got it right with this one.
In May 2015, the label issued a Denver 1979 set of seven tracks that was fairly decent all the way around. And, in August 2015 they re-issued that Denver set by including it in an extensive Down To Earth Tour 1979 package that featured a set from three different locations - Denver, Long Island, and Chicago - with Denver sounding fairly sharp, Long Island sounding a little dull, and Chicago sounding as sharp as a dirty plastic picnic spoon. Aside from the incredibly massive improvement in sound and production quality on this Boston 1981 offering, we also get what is probably Rainbow’s most versatile vocalist at the helm, Joe Lynn Turner. No matter what Rainbow singer you get, you’re going to get a wealth of talent. Ronnie James Dio being the god-like favorite for most fans, Graham Bonnet being another strong and visceral voice, and Joe Lynn Turner who can be a little of both and then some. I’ve heard this guy pull off a cover of Brian Johnson-era AC/DC. After hearing that, I’m convinced there are no limitations to his capabilities.
Like Bonnet, who was featured on vocals on the two previously mentioned releases from 2015, Turner is energetic and sharp here. We find him trying his hand at every era of the Rainbow legacy, and achieving great success with all of them. Bonnet’s signature song (next to the obvious “Since You Been Gone”) is probably “Love’s No Friend” because of it’s bluesy tone and bite. Turner sinks his own teeth into the tune and really makes it his own. He chews up another Bonnet track (“Lost In Hollywood”) later in the set with continued prowess and poise. The real test comes with the Dio-era though, and JLT rises to that task as well. His higher, smoother tone gives songs like “Long Live Rock N Roll” and “Man On The Silver Mountain” a different slant, but they still work. But, the Dio-era song “Catch The Rainbow” seems tailor-made for Turner. From the delicate beginning, to the mystical blues-tinged bridge, to the soaring finale - clocking in at just over 14 minutes, “Catch The Rainbow” is sheer brilliance.
The rhythm section for this set comes by way of Bobby Rondinelli on drums and Roger Glover on bass. The solid backbone is assumed, and Rondinelli even gets a drum solo to finish of the instrumental based around Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, “Difficult To Cure”. The song also features Blackmore’s genius of course, but after you listen you’ll probably find yourself asking who’s playing keyboards. Don Airey, the longtime Rainbow/Deep Purple keyboardist is absolutely breathtaking throughout this set. When he starts galloping along with Blackmore’s soloing, it just doesn’t get any better. And as far as Blackmore, he’s the perfect guitar god you would expect, but there are highlights here that you have to make sure you absorb. His soloing in “Catch The Rainbow,” “Love’s No Friend,” and “Difficult To Cure” just might be his greatest work. My jaw still hurts from when it slammed to the floor. We also get him toying with an uncharacteristic Nirvana-like feedback session at the end of “Lost In Hollywood” that’s just the epitome of raw and unfiltered. This set is a snapshot of Blackmore at his very best.
The package ends with a nod to Blackmore’s roots in Deep Purple. Before breaking into a raucous rendition of “Smoke On The Water,” we get the band doing a ridiculously fast excerpt from “Lazy” and the opening riff of “Woman From Tokyo”. I really can’t think of a more suitable way to finish a set that showcases Blackmore’s storied career so well.
This package hit retailers on May 13 and is available in many formats, the most inviting of them being the gatefold double LP set featuring a stitched-in 20-page booklet and 3 different colored vinyl options (red, blue, and green).
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