Five great musicians at their most extravagant, self indulgent jamming best...
Yet another live album from Germany - it's the band's third, but I have to say it is definitely worth it. For music fans, for fans of Ritchie's guitar, Cozy Powell's drumming, it's a great listen. Just don't expect a greatest hits set or tracks that sound anything like they do on record. This is five great musicians at their most extravagant, self indulgent jamming best. In fact opener 'Kill The King' is the only number under 7 minutes long.
The tour was done shortly after the recording of the Long Live Rock'n'Roll LP, with pianist David Stone and bassist Bob Daisley (both who barely contributed to the album) completing the Blackmore / Dio / Powell set up.
Stone's keyboards are more intricate than predecessor Tony Carey's, so with the slightly rougher recording and performance than On Stage, they don't always stand out. But when heard they fit in very well, especially on 15 minute 'Man On The Silver Mountain' which opens Disc 2, where Blackmore kicks off with a few bars of 'Lazy' and there's a segment of the classic 'Starstruck' midway through.
Back to Disc 1 and 'Mistreated', 'Sixteen Century Greensleeves' and a very extended 'Catch The Rainbow' get the works, with Blackmore's guitar ranging from gentle to hard extremes. Daisley's bass is excellent too and Powell's drumming is solid, heavy and recognisable throughout. The disc closes with one of the more commercial numbers here, 'Long Live Rock'n'Roll'.
Dio gives us the usual vocal workouts too.
The rendition of 'Still I'm Sad' runs at over 25 minutes and opens with a keyboard solo, but when the band let rip it's one of their heaviest and best moments. Another keyboard extravagance mid song leads to a drum solo of Over The Top proportions. Cue backing tapes and an early example of the 1812 Overture.
Remember when Cozy proclaimed 'Absolutely nobody is ever going to blow me off stage'? Well here's the proof! Back to 'Still I'm Sad' and it's just such a great tune, and given the Rainbow treatment it's just divine.
The set closes with 'Do You Close Your Eyes', running at nearly 10 minutes, and is another electric eclectic work out. Blackmore solos at every opportunity, as does Stone, his keyboards very clear and outstanding. Another oft overlooked and underrated song. A real thrash.
This extended set is probably too long and very hard work if you're not real diehard, especially of the earlier material, but conclusive proof that this era was the band's best work by a long way. It's such a shame they had to change direction so much to break America.
Review by Joe Geesin