Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rainbow - 2006 - Live In Köln 1976

Live In Köln 1976

101. Introduction (1:19)
102. Kill the King (4:36)
103. Mistreated (15:02)
104. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves (8:15)
105. Catch the Rainbow (14:03)
106. Man on the Silver Mountain (12:48)

201. Stargazer (1:06)
202. Still I'm Sad (4:33)
203. Do You Close your Eyes (11:16)

- Ronnie James Dio / Vocals
- Ritchie Blackmore / Guitar
- Cozy Powell / Drums
- Tony Carey / Keyboards
- Jimmy Bain / Bass

Rainbow 1976 World Tour 30th Anniversary
Kölner Sporthalle 25.9.1976

Let me start off by saying that while many of these tracks have been released previously on the live albums On Stage and Live In Germany 1976, the remastered sound and complete versions of the tracks alone makes this a worthy addition to any Rainbow fans collection.

The album starts with the standard Somewhere Over The Rainbow intro tape and continues to "Kill The King" (previously unreleased). The drums sound a bit annoying in the beginning, but it'll improve significantly after the first minute or so. Blackmore's solo starts off a tad slow, but once he gets warmed's simply amazing.

After this, the listener gets treated with "Mistreated" (previously on On Stage). If you're familiar with the old version, you'll already know how incredible this performance is, but there's still a surprise waiting for you. This now complete version includes a guitar/vocal jam at the end, that again is nothing less than superb.

After the 15 minute blues, "16th Century Greensleeves" continues the first disc. This is the exact same version as it is on the Live In Germany disc, apart from the remastered sound obviously. The performance in this track is also top notch, though I've personally never been that excited over this track.

The next track, "Catch The Rainbow" on the other hand is different. This song never ceases to amaze me, and the improvised solos on the various live versions, be it on the official releases or on bootlegs, always gives me the chills. This version is perfect, simply put.

The first disc is closed up by "Man On The Silver Mountain" , which was also released on Ritchie Blackmore's  Rock Profile - Volume 2 , where the sound quality was pretty horrible. For those familiar with On Stage, this version too has the fake starts of Lazy along with the Blues jam, which also features Ronnie and Ritchie jamming together (previous official releases have had it as full instrumental).

To start off the second disc, the epic "Stargazer" (from Live In Germany) starts it off with a bang. This sounds like it was recorded yesterday and it's almost impossible to believe that it was infact done 30 years ago. This continues seamlessly into "Still I'm Sad" (from On Stage), where Cozy Powell has a superb improvised drum solo instead of his usual Overture 1812.

To close up the show and the album they carry on with "Do You Close Your Eyes" (previously unreleased), where Ritchie does his usual smashing of the guitar.

To sum it up, this is an incredible performance from a band at their peak. Ritchie's improvisations are a must hear for everyone into hard rock or early heavy rock. That combined with Dio's incredible voice and Cozy Powell's (R.I.P.) stellar drumming is more than enough to drop some jaws right through the floor.

As a Rainbow fan who first started listening to the band as a young teenager in 79, I was never able to see them live in their glorious heyday... But now, thankfully, with the release of the Deutschland Tournee series, I've been able to at least hear how fantastic the band sounded live. And let's face it, whether playing with Purple or Rainbow, it always seems that you get a fuller and wilder sound with Ritchie playing live.

The Tournee series is comprised of three shows recorded on three days over a four day period: Cologne... Nurnberg... Dusseldorf... I've carefully listened to all three and, quite honestly, though the play lists are exactly the same, the performances do vary from show to show in one way or another. Consider disc one: while each show offers great renditions of 16th Century, Catch the Rainbow and Man on the Silver Mountain, I thought the Nurnberg's version of Kill the King edged the other shows with a more energetic and powerful rendition. Yet, the Cologne version of Mistreated was a notch better than the other two shows as it's intro was longer and fuller. In fact, I'd swear it was the same as the version on the On Stage album. On disc two, the Cologne version of Stargazer is hands down the best of the three shows... his solo is a particularly mesmerizing drawn out extravaganza with notes dripping like rich golden bombs of delight. With the silence that I hear after the solo, I can just imagine a thousand jaws dropping in the audience as they try to absorb and believe what they just heard. The energy carries over to the next song, Still I'm Sad, as the band tears it up with forceful aplomb. The only bad track on the Cologne disc is Do You Close Your Eyes - and not so much the performance but, rather, because the recording includes too much feedback and interference. This song sounds much better in the other shows. So overall, if you were only going to get one of Tournee shows, my vote would be for the Cologne show... though if you really love the Rainbow sound, try to find a way to get all three - I don't think you'll be disappointed!
Steven Shaw

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