CD Review: Rainbow - Live In Munich 1977

A fantastic performance from the Dio era of Rainbow.
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In 1977, Rainbow was filmed live in Munich, Germany, for an appearance on the Rockpalast television show. The show, recorded not long before Ronnie James Dio's final album with the band, Long Live Rock 'N' Roll, was released was, by many accounts, a stunning performance. The audio of this show has been newly remastered for the CD, Rainbow -- Live In Munich 1977.

The show opens with a blistering "Kill The King," one of two songs the band would play from the then yet-to-be-released Long Live Rock 'N' Roll. As concert openers go, few are more intense than this. From Ritchie Blackmore's lightning fast riffing to Dio's powerhouse vocals, it is one of the band's strongest tracks.

Running more than 18 minutes in length, "Catch The Rainbow" nearly triples its studio counterpart. It's easy to take for granted for forget how versatile a singer the late Dio was, but this song shows he was equally adept at emotional ballads as he was at hard rockers. The band, for their part, turns in a spectacular reading of the track. Dio gets to show off his blues chops on a powerful take of the Deep Purple classic, "Mistreated." Blackmore's playing on this track and throughout the show reaffirms his guitar god status.

"Man On The Silver Mountain" is played at a much faster tempo than on record, giving the song an added edge. At 16-plus minutes, it nearly quadruples the studio version's length. While the band takes numerous solos throughout the show, including a lengthy drum solo by the late Cozy Powell, it rarely takes away from the performance -- a testament to the band's musical prowess. Dio has no trouble getting the crowd to sing along to "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll," which is impressive considering they had never heard the track before the show.

The remastered audio on the CD generally sounds great, though it is a little muddy during "Kill The King." This show was originally recorded for a mono television broadcast and really sounds strong considering this fact.

While there are other live concerts from the Dio era available, the band was really on fire on this night. One can never have too much of a good thing anyhow. Rainbow -- Live in Munich 1977 is a must own for any Dio or Rainbow fan.