Rainbow – On Stage – Review


On Stage (Chronicles)
by Martin Popoff

The whole Rainbow-on-CD thing has been done pretty roughshod and slaphappy over the years, but now Chronicles has gone back, grabbed the entire good gracious spread (except the reunion album Stranger In Us All), remastered them and re-released them with “packaging faithful to the original LP releases,” which means you get all the front, back, gatefold, insert, and inner sleeve material, no more and no less. The surprisingly overlooked hits, live and rarities album, Finyl Vinyl, also adds two tracks not on the original CD reissue, but other than that, it’s the straight goods, no bonus tracks. So if you’re missing any of these suckers, now’s the time to enter the majestic realms of Ritchie Blackmore and the catalogue’s three legendary vocalists: Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnet, and Joe Lynn Turner, all captured to perfection in remastered format, all a crucial piece in metal’s historical puzzle. The place to start would be one from each era, beginning perhaps with Rainbow Rising, which is the heaviest, most epic and doomful from the Dio years. Personal fave though is Down To Earth, featuring Bonnet. On this one, Roger Glover’s production is so methodically all businesss, the Purplemeister blessed with perhaps Ritchie’s half dozen or so best riffs, plus the band’s rousing cover of Russ Ballard’s “Since You Been Gone.” All told, a serious piece of rock royalty. The Joe Lynn Turner years marked Rainbow’s pop finesse era, Ritchie focussing on shade and texture around a smooth vocal and keyboard axis. Fave here would be Bent Out Of Shape simply for its cohesion, the record concentrically courting relationship depression with the AOR mastery of “Stranded,” “Can’t Let You Go,” “Desperate Heart,” and the smash single “Street Of Dreams.” But hey, even though there are a few weak links in the chain (the debut and Difficult To Cure, both underproduced and confused), no self-respecting metalhead should be without this catalogue. Go now, my son…