RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Rainbow – Boston 1981 
Cleopatra Records

Rating: B

In the year 2016, a band called ‘Rainbow’ may not bring to mind a British guitar god, the color purple, and hard rock music.  No, times have changed... as has the meaning of the colors of the rainbow!  We should remember, however, that before everything had to have a category, a symbol and be accepted as normal, there was this thing called rock ‘n’ roll.  In context, Rainbow was a great hard rock band lead by Ritchie Blackmore, the guitarist for Deep Purple.  It was, as I say, a different time.   

The band had gone through a few changes by 1981, when this concert CD was recorded.  Gone was Ronnie James Dio and the mystical demons and dragons lyrics.  Gone was his replacement, Graham Bonnet, who was too poppy for the band.  Enter a good looking East Coast kid named Joe Lynn Turner who liked being on center stage and was the real life Spotlight Kid!   

The band was tight and Blackmore was on a mission to bring his guitar prowess to the Top 40 with a Foreigner-esque sound.  He succeeded with “Stone Cold” the following year, 1982 from the album Straight Between the Eyes.  For now, the band was still finding its place and its sound.  They came close with 1981’s “Can’t Happen Here” from Difficult to Cure.  The band was on the right track and they were kicking ass live.  The band consisted of Blackmore on guitar, Turner on vocals, Deep Purple alum Roger Glover on bass, Don Airey on keyboards and Bobby Rondinelli on drums.  Damn... that’s a band!  No wonder this sucker rocks hard. 

Turner sounds magnificent on songs he originally recorded, including “Spotlight Kid,” “I Surrender” and “Can’t Happen Here.”  He holds his own on the Dio era tunes “Man on the Silver Mountain,” “Catch the Rainbow” and “Long Live Rock N’ Roll.”  Having to even take those songs on for Turner was a tall task, as Ronnie James Dio was born to sing the way he did and Ronnie shined on those tunes.  Joe just does not have sinister in his throat so, he sounds a bit different.  Still, he sounds good.  The band tears up “Catch the Rainbow,” making it one of the best recorded versions out there.  

At the end of the day, this is classic Rainbow, which is really cool.  It is a great band on a good night and the sound is good as well.  Vinyl nuts will be excited to learn the release is available in a variety of formats including a limited edition mini-LP wallet for the CD as well as a gorgeous gatefold double LP set featuring a stitched-in 20-page booklet and 3 different colored vinyl options (red, blue, and green)!

Track listing:
    Spotlight Kid
    Love’s No Friend
    I Surrender
    Man On The Silver Mountain
    Catch The Rainbow
    Can’t Happen Here
    Lost In Hollywood
    Difficult To Cure
    Long Live Rock N’ Roll
    Smoke On The Water

By Jeb “Difficult To Cure” Wright