Rainbow-Live in Munich 1977 (1977)

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Released 14-Nov-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Music Video-(3)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Colin Hart & Bob Daisley
Gallery-Photo
Featurette-Slide Show with Commentary
Booklet
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 113:04 (Case: 146)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:50) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor
Eagle Eye Media
Sony Music
Starring Ritchie Blackmore
Ronnie James Dio
Cozy Powell
David Stone
Bob Daisley
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Ritchie Blackmore
Ronnie James Dio
David Coverdale


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.0 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Throw away your tired old VHS-quality bootlegs! Now you can own the definitive version of this gargantuan piece of rock history, namely Rainbow performing live in Munich, Germany on 20 October 1977. This performance was taped by the popular Rockpalast program in Germany for broadcast on television and until recently was only available as a bootleg or expensive import. But one must ask, why was the concert recording delayed by one day, and why did guitarist Ritchie Blackmore perform in three-day-old stage clothes? The show stands to this day as an exceptional, arguably legendary, live performance, but it was not without its share of drama, which I'll explain further below.

    For those who aren't familiar with this band, Rainbow began in the mid-seventies as an outlet for Ritchie Blackmore outside his commitments to Deep Purple. Ronnie James Dio was hired as vocalist and initially his group Elf were the backing band for the project. One by one, Elf was fired and Ritchie's choice of musicians were brought in. Ritchie quit Deep Purple prior to the release of Rainbow's first album and the band went from strength to strength. There have been many, many different incarnations of Rainbow, however it is the Dio era that many cite as 'classic'. Dio recorded three studio albums and one live album with the band before being replaced by Graham Bonnet for their Down To Earth album. The musicians performing on this DVD include:

    Bob Daisley is an Australian, who can be seen nowadays performing in Living Loud with Jimmy Barnes and Steve Morse. Bob is interviewed in the extras on this disc and shares some great anecdotes from this period.

    At the time of this European tour, David Stone and Bob Daisley had only been in the band a few weeks, having recently replaced bassist Jimmy Bain and keyboardist Tony Carey. Rainbow did not have a new studio album to promote in 1977 and were essentially touring on the back of their recent live album, On Stage. The bulk of the necessary studio work had already been completed for the band's next album, Long Live Rock And Roll, two tracks of which are performed here. Long Live Rock And Roll was subsequently delayed for various reasons and did not see the light of day until April of the following year. A short tour followed and by the end of 1978 this era of Rainbow was dissolved completely, never to return.

    Besides the magical pairing of Dio and Blackmore, and the band's stunning musicianship across the board, fans who came to see a live Rainbow performance in 1977 were treated to an incredible light display. The stage was lit by a giant Rainbow, spanning forty feet across the stage and reaching more than 29 feet high at its peak. The spectacular display used 3000 bulbs and took more than six months to design and construct. The first of its kind, the lighting rig was operated by a portable computer (albeit primitive by today's standards) that created patterns and impressive waves throughout the length of the structure. It was not without its share of technical issues however, as the structure created a great deal of interference on the stage. Even by today's standards, such a stage arrangement would be both daunting and logistically expensive, but it looks fantastic all the same and is preserved forever here in this show.

    Prior to playing in Germany, the band did a few shows in Austria, the last of which saw Ritchie arrested for breaking the jaw of a staff member at the venue. Plans had originally been made to record the Munich gig on 19 October, but with Ritchie incarcerated, everything was hanging in the air momentarily while the lawyers worked frantically to get him out. Upon his release on the 20th, Ritchie was shuttled at speed to the waiting gig in Munich, still dressed in the stinky stage clothes he was wearing when he was arrested. The Munich performance started rather late and some of the crowd had already left when Rainbow finally began their show. This is why Dio can be heard thanking the crowd for their patience between songs. There's no doubt that the frustration and relief within the band on this night, coupled with the pressure of the cameras, made for an amazing performance.

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Track Listing

1. Kill The King
2. Mistreated
3. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
4. Catch The Rainbow
5. Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
6. Man On The Silver Mountain
7. Still I'm Sad
8. Do You Close Your Eyes

Transfer Quality

Video

    This video transfer has been sourced from an analogue PAL master tape. Despite the age of the source, I was surprised at how great this show has been scrubbed up for DVD. The image is full frame of course, having been originally intended for television broadcast in 1977.

    There are the usual issues we have come to expect of recordings of this vintage, analogue tape artefacts such as microphony are fairly frequent and vary in severity. The camera movements and bright stage lighting combine to create quite a bit of cometing too. Having said that, the image is surprisingly sharp and free of any unsightly MPEG compression issues resulting from the conversion to DVD.

    Colours are a little on the rich side, which is to be expected. Reds are prone to a little bleeding, but on the whole these issues are minor and completely tolerable.

    There are no English subtitle streams provided.

    The disc is dual layered, with the break placed during the concert at 68:50, between Man On The Silver Mountain and Still I'm Sad. The pause was transparent on my system, however it may interrupt audience applause on some machines.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three soundtracks to choose from. The default soundtrack is the original Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix, encoded at 192Kb/s. The inclusion of the original audio is welcome in my opinion, however as I've noted on other music DVDs, it is really a shame the most inferior soundtrack has been made the default. Soundtracks in Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s) and dts 5.0 (768Kb/s) have been derived (or converted) from the stereo master. In the past I've cursed at some of these "surround" mixes of vintage material that have clearly been sourced from a stereo mix rather than a multi-track master. In this case, there was no multi-track source available, however the resulting surround soundtracks blew my expectations out of the water.

    Both the Dolby Digital 5.0 and dts 5.0 soundtracks were converted from the original stereo mix by Steve Scanlon. Both contain depth and brightness that isn't even hinted at in the original soundtrack. It really is amazing to hear, in fact if it were not stated in the booklet, I would not pick these soundtracks as conversions.

    Audio sync seems to vary a little, unfortunately. I noted a few moments, particularly during lengthy shots of Cozy's drumming, where cymbal and snare hits fall out of time with the audio. This may be an editing issue dating back to 1977, because of the fault's intermittent nature.

    The surround channels are used to replicate the acoustics of a live venue via subtle echoes and audience applause between songs. The front soundstage carries the bulk of the work, with most instruments panned evenly to the centre. Dio's voice is always clear and distinct.

    In comparing the three audio options, the dts was loudest and my preferred. The Dolby Digital equivalent doesn't quite match the depth of the dts audio, but is still impressive nonetheless. The stereo audio is flimsy and barely comparable.

    There is no LFE channel provided, however lower frequencies from the bass guitar are handled well by the main speakers.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu pages contain audio clips and are subtly animated.

Music Videos (3)

    There are three promotional clips for the Long Live Rock 'n' Roll album of 1978, which featured the same lineup of musicians. Although the vocals appear to be live, the remainder of the band is undoubtedly miming to a backing track (check out Ritchie's hilarious effort during the intro to L.A. Connection). There are noticeable pitch issues with the audio, but these videos are still great to see.

Interviews - Bob Daisley & Colin Hart (31:02)

    Bob shares some stories about his youth and how he came to play music in England in 1972, joining bands such as Mungo Jerry and Widowmaker. Colin Hart is a veteran of the industry and relays some hilarious anecdotes from his many years of service with Blackmore & Co.

Gallery-Stills (25)

    A collection of band photos and clippings from the era.

Featurette-Slide Show with Audio Commentary (39:51)

   Narrated by Jon Kirkman, this is an interesting and informative insight into Rainbow, from the beginning to the end of the Dio era, accompanied by stills taken from the concert video. Strangely, the commentary seems to end mid-sentence, which is a bit frustrating, but I doubt it is intended to run much longer as it sounds like the narrator is beginning to wrap it up; "The Tour would carry on... after which the band we see here, not to mention the Rainbow itself...". Oh well.

Booklet

    The three-panel colour foldout includes an excellent essay by Simon Robinson of the Deep Purple Appreciation Society, track listing, photos and other information.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This title was originally released in Japan (NTSC, Region 2) as a two-disc set, with the concert on disc one and the extras on the other. Both discs are single layered.

    Our local product is great and at such a fantastic price (seen by this reviewer retailing for less than ten dollars within the first week of release) I don't see any reason to import from another region.

Summary

    Rainbow Live in Munich is an amazing experience. Having loved this band for many years, it is fantastic to see this concert given the treatment it deserves. Not only is it important viewing for the great performances, it is the only known live video recording of this era of the band, which is pretty special. This is a must for fans.

    The video transfer is good despite the analogue source and obviously looks better than any bootleg version I have seen.

    The audio transfer is amazing, considering it was sourced from the tired, old stereo mix.

    The extras add a great deal of value to the package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3806 (via Denon Link 3)
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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