'Rainbow: Monsters of Rock Live at Donington 1980'
(Rainbow / DVD+CD / NR / (1980) 2016 / Eagle Vision)
Overview: On Saturday, August 16th, 1980 Rainbow took to the stage to headline the first rock festival to be staged at Castle Donington. It was the culmination of the band's tour in support of the hugely successful Down To Earth album, released in 1979, and would prove to be the last live show featuring this particular line-up of the band: Ritchie Blackmore (guitars), Don Airey (keyboards), Graham Bonnet (vocals), Roger Glover (bass) and Cozy Powell (drums).
DVD Verdict: As the crowd roar, the countdown comes from 10 down to 1, the drums of Cozy Powell light up the cold, dark open air night. Dorothy informs everyone that "We're not in Kansas anymore," adds that they "must be over the Rainbow" (cue repeated Rainbow's), and then the guitar from Ritchie Blackmore strikes up; as do the screams of the sold out crowd.
Backed now by the bass of Roger Glover, the keyboard strokes of Don Airey (man, it sounds more and more like an old school Whitesnake line-up reunion here ala Back To The Future style!), and then, as the vocals of Graham Bonnet light up the night, Rainbow life off from the 'Intro' into 'Eyes Of The World'.
"Hello Castle Donington," Bonnet introduces himself to the baying crowd, complete with air horns. "Are you still drunk? Are you sure you're still drunk? You better be," he adds as the band launch into a stirring 'Since You've Been Gone', complete with 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' ending. Next up is a thunderous 'Stargazer', which contains the ultimate guitar solo of all time, before Bonnet introduces the next song: "OK, you're drunk, now I'm drunk. OK, we're gonna slow it down a little bit with an old Rainbow song called 'Catch The Rainbow'."
With the set featuring tracks from the new album, Down To Earth alongside classics from earlier in their career, as you could only expect knowing the band, and these musicians, 'Rainbow: Monsters of Rock Live at Donington 1980' also features en masse of virtuoso solo spots for Blackmore, Airey and Powell. And two of those come to the fore next, the first being Airey on 'Lost In Hollywood'. "I'd like to say hello to some people from Germany and Japan," Bonnet says, "some very good friends of ours, before I introduce you to this man on my right," he says looking at Airey. "We all know Don Airey," he ends, as the man himself then gives us some varied intro snippets of other famous stuff (ie: The Nutcracker), before the band launch into the aforementioned song. Complete with a stunning Blackmore guitar solo, of course, that bleeds neatly into 'Difficult To Cure,' complete with yet another Airey keyboard solo blitz, a frenetic Cozy Powell drum solo (complete with the American National Anthem), before reprising (seemingly hours later!) 'Lost In Hollywood'.
"Cozy, we're gonna miss ya," Bonnet announces to the drummer, whose last gig as a member of Rainbow it was to be [little did Bonnet know he wasn't far behind him!] "Cozy Powell! Cozy Powell! Cozy Powell!" Bonnet screams, before some fireworks go off and the band leave the stage. Quickly back on, Blackmore strikes up and we're soon into the drum-heavy instrumental quickie 'Lazy', which then leads into the powerhaus 'All Night Long' ("I need a girl who can give me head, all night long".) Complete with an extended sing-along, orchestrated by Bonnet himself, and inclusive of a Percy Edwards whistling audition, a girls vs boys singing contest, and Bonnet himself in danger of losing his voice, it is a true live stand out cut from this Donington performance.
After a brief 'Blues', Bonnet wraps his still-in-fine-working-order vocals around The Shirelles' 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow' (a cut I never thought I'd hear Rainbow perform EVER, trust me), before wrapping the entire Donington show up with an electric, spinetingling 'Long Live Rock 'N' Roll.'
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
CD: 1. Intro / Eyes Of The World
2. Since You Been Gone
4. Catch The Rainbow
5. Lost In Hollywood / Guitar Solo
6. Difficult To Cure / Keyboard Solo
7. Drum Solo / Lost In Hollywood (reprise)
9. All Night Long
11. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
12. Long Live Rock 'N' Roll
In truth, I'm a HUGE Rainbow fan. HUGE. So I have to tell you, in my humble opinion, that as much as this release is billed as a Monsters of Rock Live at Donington 1980 Rainbow DVD, your true value for money comes with the audio CD side of things. There are only 8 tracks, weirdly, on the DVD, whereas there are 12 tracks on the CD! And for you lovers of this Rainbow musical time frame re: Graham Bonnet singing hit singles from the hugely successful Down To Earth album, well, the CD is for you, and you alone. However, those who loved the old school Rainbow, the DVD is for you as it not only showcases truly classic Rainbow, but allows Blackmore to visually rock out rather more too.
That said, the DVD is the only place to fully become locked in a vision of awe, for when the show climaxes Ritchie Blackmore DESTROYS his guitar, trusts it into an amp (which promptly bursts into flames), and then fireworks burst overhead at the conclusion of one EXTREMELY "explosive" show! This is a Full Screen Presentation (4x3 Screen Format) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.