DVD Review: Rainbow - Live In Munich 1977

The only complete filmed performance from this legendary lineup of Rainbow.
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In 1977, Rainbow was on tour in Vienna, Austria, when trouble struck. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore didn't take too kindly to a bouncer getting physical with fans and expressed his displeasure by drenching him in beer. Blackmore's actions got him a night in jail, which posed a problem as the band was set to be filmed the following night in Munich. Luckily for fans, the next night was available and the band was filmed as scheduled for the German TV show Rockpalast. That show makes up the DVD, Rainbow -- Live in Munich 1977, and is the only complete concert on film from the Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio and Cozy Powell lineup of the band.

After a brief Wizard Of Oz sound byte and a short interlude by the band of "Over The Rainbow," they launch into a ferocious version of "Kill The King." While it had been the set opener for some time, it hadn't appeared in studio form, making its first appearance on the then yet-to-be-released, Long Live Rock 'N' Roll. For all the talk that Blackmore wasn't into some of the latter shows he played with his previous band, Deep Purple, he plays with fire and passion throughout. Likewise, the late Dio turns in a stunning vocal performance in a night filled with them.

The band makes one nod to Blackmore's past, with a soulful version of the blues workout, "Mistreated," originally from Burn. Dio's vocals do justice to David Coverdale's original and the band extends the track to nearly 12 minutes, allowing for plenty of improvisation. Rainbow was never strangers to long tracks, however, playing only eight songs in a 2-hour concert.

Though the album had not yet been released, the band turns in a spirited version of "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll," with Dio having no trouble getting the audience to participate in a vocal call and response with him. "Man On The Silver Mountain" is played at a barn burning pace, beating the intensity of its studio counterpart while the nearly half-hour "Still I'm Sad," complete with drum solo, expands on the Yardbirds' original in ways they could have never anticipated.

The video quality is surprisingly good for a 36-year old concert that certainly wouldn't have anticipated the digital age when it was first filmed. The biggest visual treat, however, is seeing the band's famed onstage rainbow prop -- giant 28-ft. high by 40 ft. wide electric rainbow that dominated the stage.

The DVD is mostly a reissue, content wise, but adds a bonus feature, Rainbow Over Texas '76 to an already extensive list that includes the promotional videos from the Long Live Rock 'N' Roll album and interviews with Bob Daisley and Colin Hart. In addition, the audio has been remastered and sounds great.

Many fans consider the Dio years to be Rainbow's best. This would prove to be his last tour with the band and he would soon join Black Sabbath. The fact that Rainbow -- Live in Munch 1977 is not only a great performance, but also the only complete concert filmed from this era, makes it a must-own DVD for Dio and Rainbow fans.