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Rainbow - 'Monsters Of Rock - Live At Donington 1980' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/f5/1d/d1/rainbow-monsters-of-rock-live-at-donington-1980-83-1474482779.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 21, 2016    
 
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A great document of a short lived, but superb era of a legendary group.

Even though Rainbow only made one album with Graham Bonnet as lead vocalist (the magnificent 'Down To Earth'), they did embark on a successful tour with him and that culminated in their historic headline concert at the very first Monsters Of Rock show at Donington. This release marks the first official release of that concert, as a CD and DVD set.

While Rainbow fans may have begrudged the departure of Ronnie James Dio as vocalist, there can be no doubt that this line-up of Bonnet, Roger Glover (bass), Cozy Powell (drums), Don Airey (keyboards) and the legendary Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, was a world beater of a band. Kicking off with 'Eyes Of The World', the group set their stall out early, opening the show with new material and basing the bulk of their performance around it. 'Since You've Been Gone' goes down a storm, before Bonnet is tasked with his first Dio track, the epic 'Stargazer'. I think he does a creditable job on what is a majestic song so synonymous with Dio, but he's better still on 'Catch The Rainbow'.

'Lost In Hollywood' is a real powerhouse, before the obligatory solo spots from Airey, Powell and Blackmore which range from the impressive to the tedious, as it eats up about twenty minutes of the set. Things get back on track with a brief breakneck rendition of Deep Purple's 'Lazy', before 'All Night Long' explodes. This allows Bonnet to engage in some crowd participation.

Blackmore loved Bonnet's cover of 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow' which was on the singer's debut solo album, and a version of that is included here, albeit it in much heavier form, before 'Long Live Rock 'N' Roll' brings things to an end. Sadly, the renditions of 'Man On The Silver Mountain' and 'Love's No Friend' are missing, as is the instrumental rendition of 'Kill The King' (I would have liked to have heard Bonnet try his hand at that) which originally closed the show.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The DVD portion is less exciting, because like some of the audio, much of the original footage has been lost. Presented here is the surviving thirty minutes, cleaned up and restored, although presented in a totally different order to the actual set. In all honesty, apart from the fireworks intro, the only thing of note worth seeing is Bonnet's attire and appearance, which is completely at odds with the band and their music. Blackmore himself was said to have been furious Bonnet had cut his hair and the singer, decked out in a red shirt and trousers with white jacket, is not what you'd expect to see. Fortunately, he has that voice to make up for it! You also witness Glover and Airey contributing backing vocals on some tracks, but their frail voices are so far down in the mix, they might as well not have bothered.

Those issues aside, for any Rainbow fan, this is a piece of history and a great performance, which has been restored very well. It's a pity some songs are missing, but regardless of that, this is a great document of a short lived, but superb era of a legendary group.

James Gaden

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