Rainbow – (“Onstage” / “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”) Deluxe

Rainbow – (“Onstage” / “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”) Deluxe Editions (UMC / Universal)

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow are as legendary as the man in black himself – the sheer number of famed personnel who’ve passed thru it’s ranks speaks bounds in itself! If you were into rock back in the 70s then going to see Rainbow was probably one of the highlights of many a young rock fans dream. Coming out’ve Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore had already established his solo band with their debut and famed sophomore “Rising” but in typical Blackmore unconventionality decided to make their 3rd album a live one. Besides being Blackmore, there was some real reasoning behind it as well: in the days when bands were expected to release an album a year it would give Rainbow some breathing space; there were already hints that Blackmore wanted to move away from their current swords n sorcery theme; and most importantly, that Rainbow had gained a successful reputation as a live act and Blackmore wanted to convey the magnitude of their live show in stupendous fashion, which in the days preceding video, took the form of the classic double live album. “Onstage” definitely achieves that! Opening with the blistering ‘Kill The King’ (my personal fave btw), it captures not only Blackmore’s undisputed talent, but also the brilliance of Dio’s vocals and the master of double bass drum work, Cozy Powell on the majestic ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’ and the shakin’ ‘Starstruck’! This deluxe version both contains the original album (untouched to the best of my knowledge), as well as live bonus tracks – almost the same ones in fact – taken from the Osaka 1976 concert. Sadly, one of the key songs to the Rainbow live set – Stargazer – is (still) amiss which would be my definition of a definitive (and complete) version of this album. The lavish booklet and bonus tracks do definitely enhance the album, but I would’ve preferred famed producer Martin Birch to have scoured the reels of archive footage (perhaps even from another show) for this elusive track but alas… “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll” is a similar venture, the follow up to the live album and also the final album featuring Dio, it was arguably the most difficult album for the band to record (not withstanding the spirits they conjured up during studios seances lol – Ed), taking the longest time. Disc 1 is as ever the original album, but Disc 2 contains some 14 extra tracks from rough mixes to outtakes to a live set with alternative vocals on the likes of ‘Gates Of Babylon’, LA Connection’ and the anthemic ‘Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll’. Purists and Rainbow fans will no doubt be snapping up both, but anyone new having to choose between the two should opt for “Onstage”, still the definitive capture of the glory that was Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow!

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