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Back On Vinyl, A Classic Rainbow Live Album:
on 19 September 2010
I was very fortunate to seen the band live on the UK leg of the World Tour back in Sept 1976. This album was taken from Japanese and German concerts from this World Tour and released in 1977. I had the original vinyl but it got lost with various house moves over the years. I have been listening to the 1999 CD re-mastered version prior to purchasing this vinyl copy, which is not bad quality but for me vinyl will always be the preferred music format for listening to rock albums.
This album is a part of the Black on Black; rock classic, Rainbow vinyl series. The first 1000 pressings of each release are done on coloured vinyl. This release is white vinyl. The original cover has been beautifully restored and reinforced to carry the heavy vinyl disks. Great to read again the list of equipment they had for tour on the back cover of the album. Unfortunately like many vinyl LPs today they have used very thin paper inner sleeves that I rip to remove the record to limited the risk of scratching on removal and replace it with a heavier weight plastic covered, antistatic, paper inner sleeve. The weight of both vinyl records is 188g each. The album contains the original eight tracks released in 1977 over the two-vinyl albums. This makes sense in terms of optimised audio quality for the total running time. `Catch the Rainbow' (excellent vocals) and `Mistreated' (great guitar work) take up one full side each.
The audio quality over the whole album is excellent. The records are virtually flat with minimal surface noise. The sound is clean, clear and very sharp. Guitar is hard right and organ hard left with drums perfectly balance, thundering from both channels giving a wall of sound directly across the speakers. The vocals are crystal clear with lots of fine detail. You can really feel and picture the band directly in front of you such is the detail from the speakers. Even after 33 years hearing again the `Wizard of Oz' dialog then the band playing `Over the Rainbow' and into `Kill the King' at the start of the record sounds sonically amazing. For me this has never been bettered on any intro to a live rock album, absolutely brilliant.
All the early live stage favourites are here and although there are less instrumental solos than on the `Live in Munich' album (recorded on the next European tour in 1977 with a change in personnel), it does not reduce the listening pleasure of the album. On listening to this version again it makes me appreciate more the contribution to the band's live sound made by Tony Carey on keyboards. It is something that does not stand out as much on the CD version. Although I no longer have an original vinyl copy to compare, l get the impression there is minimal (if any) sound compression on this re-issue. In fact it sounds better on vinyl than I can remember.
In conclusion, I strongly recommend this vinyl re-issue. The team at `Back on Black Rock Classics' have done an outstanding job recreating this vinyl album of Rainbow, `On Stage'. Even if you have the `Live in Munich' record, I would still buy this as well (and vice versa). There is only one way to listen to Rainbow and that's on vinyl played loud then you can really appreciate what a great band they were.