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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rainbow - Rockin' Night - Live in Japan 1984 DVD review

Rainbow – Rockin’ Night – Live in Japan 1984 DVD review
Released on: XXL Media via MVD Entertainment. Release date: Available now.

Well, following Deep Purple’s constant Japanese success stories, once Ritchie Blackmore had Rainbow, he wasted no time in getting the Japanese audiences acquainted with his band and Rainbow, repeatedly returned to the country over the years.

This show must’ve been one of the very last in 1984 as Deep Purple reformed the same year.
This DVD though … (Heavy sigh), it seriously seemed like …, well almost like ‘who cares?!’
Read on and you’ll get my meaning …

The band starts with a brief instrumental jam over ‘Over the Rainbow,’ before kicking in with an ‘intense’ version of ‘Spotlight Kid.’ It is seriously fast and this trend tends to sadly repeat throughout the performance here.
‘Miss Mistreated’ is next and it too is still a little quick and all too clearly the female backing vocalists become apparent, over singing some of Joe Lynn Turner's parts.

While I know this was Ritchie’s band, his playing at this gig in certain solo spots really leaves a lot to be desired and seems all over the place at times. I am surprised that this has got to see the light of day, which makes me question how ‘official’ this release is?

‘I Surrender’ next and Blackmore perhaps sounds at his most off here, throughout the track. It starts reasonably and then seems to rapidly suffer from either his Stratocaster being out of tune or him being messed up. It really sounds bad at times and the solo is all over the place? Sad indeed!
With ‘Can’t Happen Here’ up next, it sounds like a freight train! Way too fast, with both Roger Glover (Bass) and Chuck Burghi (Drums) going all out here!

With early Rainbow classic ‘Catch the Rainbow’ next, that’s starts nice and soulful and Joe Lynn Turner sounds great.
It seems that Ritchie Blackmore could be back on track …

1982’s ‘Power’ is next from ‘Straight between the Eyes’ and I’ve always thought that Mr. Blackmore could’ve sued Queen for royalties after they released ‘Hammer to Fall’ in 1984!
Seriously! Listen to these two songs side to side ...
‘Power’ sounds OK and then it’s a brief solo for David Rosenthal (Keyboards) next that leads into ‘Street of Dreams.' Guess what? It’s another quick version?!
Were the band under some time constraints or something?!

It’s a real shame that the band is rushing so many of these songs as there's some classics here.
I know when bands do play live, that tracks become a little edgier, punchier and sometimes can sound a little quicker, but with seasoned musicians like Rainbow, I’m stunned by this?
Maybe if someone from the band was honest today, they’d maybe admit that they were a little ‘lit’ before they hit the stage that night!

‘Fool for the Night’ is next from the ‘Bent out of Shape’ release and I haven’t heard this in year and I’m reminded what a great track it is, even played at this quicker pace! I wonder if the tape ran fast, from the recording!

Time for Blackmore to take a solo spot, with some weird and interesting sounds, before the band join him for ‘Difficult to Cure,’ when the full orchestra is revealed behind the band, impressive!

Blackmore then gets into his element and gets completely carried away with some ‘Guitar Improvisation,’ so describes the DVD case and then he lets the orchestra play for a little on their own, before the band comes back in to join them.
This then covers around fifteen minutes of the show and a little more self-indulgence here for the pleasure of Mr. Blackmore!

Blackmore always had a reputation for trashing his guitars at the end of live performances and he teases the crowd right here, before handing the stage over to Chuck Burghi who manages to get a drum solo in and laps it up, the audience seems to as well!
Time for Joe Lynn Turner to take a moment to introduce the band and then a brief blues jam before the band crank out an eight minute version of ‘Stranded,’ that also captures a little of Hendrix‘Hey Joe’ in there for good measure!

A rushed ‘Death Alley Driver’ keeps things moving and this track ends the main set.

The band comes back out and Joe Lynn Turner almost misses his first line to ‘Fire Dance’ and he’s sounding a little ragged in the vocal department.
The band briefly start the excellent laid back instrumental ‘Maybe Next Time,’ but then it’s cut short as ‘All Night Long’ comes next, yes, racing along …! Joe Lynn Turner finds himself getting some serious help from the backing vocalists during the chorus here.
Sadly, it sounds very throwaway, even snatches of ‘Woman from Tokyo,’ really can’t save it and then they wrap it up.

They leave the stage once more and when they come back out, Blackmore teases yet more with snippets of ‘Lazy’ before they jam a short version of ‘Since You Been Gone.’
Blackmore and Turner then get close and a very different version of ‘Smoke on the Water’ is started and then …. The DVD stops?! What!?!
The track stopped before the end of the show, there's no credits ..., that's it?! Bad copy or are they all like this?!

There’s no sleeve insert with the DVD, the cover information is incredibly sparse so that seems to be it.
Seriously, this is not essential for Rainbow fans, it’s disappointing to me from a once very talented band.


  1. If your copy of this DVD actually contained the 1984 Japan concert, you're lucky. My copy from Amazon actually contained the wrong show (a 1995 German Rainbow concert) -- I kid you not! Amazon sent me a replacement, but it too contained the latter show. Somebody screwed up somewhere in the manufacturing process, big time, and now it seems impossible to get hold of a copy that actually contains the correct Japan 1984 performance. (Wanna sell me your copy?)

    1. me too mine's got the 1995 rockapalast rainbow concert!!