“Monsters Of Rock Live At Donnington 1980” by Rainbow

Artist: Rainbow
Title: “Monsters Of Rock Live At Donnington 1980”
Label: Eagle Vision
Release Date: 4/22/2016
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

Fans of Rainbow and even the legendary Deep Purple should be giving continual thanks to the folks over at Eagle Rock Entertainment because their offerings have allowed them to build up a seriously stocked audio and video library for these bands. This latest release brings us back to the year 1980 where Rainbow was playing the Monsters Of Rock festival at Castle Donnington. This was a headlining set for the group and it was the first ever Monsters Of Rock event so historically speaking it’s a big deal for sure. Dio had moved on and now in his place was singer Graham Bonnet and based on the timing of the recording would still be showcasing material from “Down To Earth” and the forthcoming “Difficult To Cure”. Rainbow was a band that had quite a few members over the years and for this particular offering we have Don Airey (keyboards), Roger Glover (bass) and Cozy Powell (drums) in addition to Blackmore and Bonnet. I’ll be speaking about the DVD/CD version of this particular release so let’s discuss the DVD part first.

The DVD: I’m not going to mince words here but eight songs is barely enough to get me excited about such a concert. I mean this was the first ever Monsters Of Rock and it was a headlining appearance. Yeah the CD has four more tunes but as you watch this very limited presentation you wonder is the rest of the footage out there somewhere. I saw posts around the web about this film existing as a bootleg so I am thinking that it’s nice to have a clean, properly produced edition for the collection as opposed to a mass copied bit of junk. Visually this is very sparse and features numerous side shots and close-ups from either the side of the stage or directly in front of Ritchie. Let’s remember this is 1980 and the ability to capture live video was a lot more limited back then. If you are a Rainbow diehard this might disappoint you a little since it’s not the full show. Now onto the CD part.

The CD: Spanning a full four additional songs than the concert film part comes the audio part which I am assuming features the full set performed by the band and according to the notes this is the first time the show has been made available to the fans. I should admit that while I was never the biggest Graham Bonnet fan, I did have some serious appreciation for the songs “All Night Long” and “Since You’ve Been Gone” and these sound fantastic on the CD. The Dio stuff holds up well enough under Bonnets register but the pipes are very clearly different as you might imagine. We get some solos and its never a problem for me to enjoy a Cozy Powell solo even though the main attraction is the one from Mr. Blackmore. I was scratching my head at the bands inclusion of the “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” tune since that didn’t feel like a good fit for me. Oh well, I wasn’t part of the set list composers back then but I am sure the band wanted to be different with this. The sonic power of the show sounded good to me and some tunes had me singing along.

A twelve-page booklet comes with the release and its loaded with photos from this appearance along with a narrative by noted scribe Malcolm Dome. I liked but didn’t love this release and felt when it all came down to it that it’s a nice addition to the library if you are someone who is a study of the groups body of work. As I write this, the news has been circulating for a while that Blackmore is returning to the live stage to deliver some Heavy Rock with a new lineup of Rainbow players so perhaps we shall see a brand new live video and audio release in the near future. There are less than five shows according to what I have read and they are NOT in the USA so one can only hope. Closing up this is mostly for the completists more than the newbie but it’s still nice to have. “Long Live Rock n Roll”.

Track Listing DVD
1. Lazy
2. All Night Long
3. Catch The Rainbow
4. Eyes Of The World
5. Guitar Solo
6. Difficult To Cure
7. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
8. Long Live Rock n Roll

Track Listing CD:
1. Intro / Eyes Of The World
2. Since You Been Gone
3. Stargazer
4. Catch The Rainbow
5. Lost In Hollywood / Guitar Solo
6. Difficult To Cure / Keyboard Solo 7) Drum Solo / Lost In Hollywood (reprise)
8. Lazy
9. All Night Long
10. Blues
11. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
12. Long Live Rock n Roll:

Official Website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_(rock_band)

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