Released: 1990, Eagle Rock
The slew of Rainbow live albums is getting a bit ridiculous. Back in 1976 after Richie left Deep Purple he formed Rainbow and started touring. They hired the Rolling Stones Mobile unit recorded a whole lot of shows during their triumphant march across Germany. This album was released as a compilation of various shows in Germany in late September 1976 and was originally released as Rainbows second live album in 1990. It was also released as LIVE IN EUROPE that same year.
Since then tapes keep emerging from the vaults and all of those concerts are getting released as live albums as the full concerts. In the past few years there has been LIVE IN KOLN, LIVE IN MUNICH, LIVE IN DUSSELDORF, LIVE IN NURNBERG and a Live in Germany boxset as well. Part of the ‘problem’ of releasing so many of these concerts as a live album is that there is virtually no variation in set-list from night to night. The band played it pretty straight and the set-lists are practically identical.
This 2011 reissue of LIVE IN GERMANY 1976, is kind of the best of all worlds for a casual fan. It has some liner notes explaining things and a handful of pictures as well. You get a cross selection of cuts from across Munich, Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Mannheim, the best of the best so to speak. Alternately, if you are not a fan of the ‘tour representation’ style of live albums, then you won’t like this. Die-hards already own this. I don’t know what to think about this album. Who is it being marketed too?
As should be the case, technical data aside and label reissue politics aside, the music should be the most important factor. Fortunately, on LIVE IN GERMANY 1976 that is just the case. Richie is on fire. His young, hungry band is on fire. Dio is always consistently great. If you compare Richie’s guitar playing on this album compared to his efforts on Deep Purple’s live album, MK III-THE FINAL CONCERTS (which as a side note I also reviewed this month), the difference is night and day.
Richie and gang continue the grand 70’s tradition of taking a simple, short song and in the live environment letting it wander, ebb and flow, laced with a multitude of solos and before you know it Stargazer is 17 minutes long! The sound is good, the playing superb and these now all-too familiar ‘classic’ songs have a new life and a new vibrancy, being trotted out and tested on the German for the first time. This is a real treat. Of the seven or so Live Rainbow albums to date, this sampler is probably the one you need the most, following of course ON STAGE.