Rainbow – Long Live Rock’n’Roll (Deluxe Edition)

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Review by Brian McGowan

Although ‘Rising’ is considered – by critics at least – to be the classic Rainbow album, arguably, ‘LLRNR’ was their last great studio album.

Fans will well know that many of the tracks on LLRNR have been covered by Malmsteen, Dream Theater, Stratovarius, Gamma Ray, Primal Fear and many others.

Fans of those bands, unaware of the material’s provenance, may well be surprised to find LLRNR at the end of the Rainbow. A pot of gold. As metal goes, none heavier (give or take). As music goes, none better.

Those same fans will hear Blackmore easing open the door of his hard rock airlock, allowing a softer rocking, US flavoured sound to filter through, as he searches for that elusive commercial breakthrough.

And in amongst the recording’s more epic forms – especially the rousing, magical ‘Gates Of Babylon‘ – some will detect the birth pangs of Symphonic Rock.

Accordingly, the album has been replastered and reissued by Universal as a Deluxe Edition with an avalanche of bonus tracks on a second disc, some 34 years after its original release.

Martin Birch’s slick, widescreen production, now buffed up to a mirror like sheen, clearly colluded with Blackmore in his ambition to break into the musical mainstream.

In support, his equally talented accomplice, Ronnie James Dio (RIP) largely jettisoned his usual lyrical fantasies in search of something (a little) more romantic, although ‘Lady Of The Lake‘ and ‘Kill The King‘ show he can‘t quite shake off the baroque. And while vocally, Dio’s operatic tendencies were one of the key ingredients in making Rainbow great, they hampered Blackmore’s desire to gain a wider audience.

The 14 track second disc is clearly one for completists, containing rough mixes of all the tracks on Disc 1 except ‘Gates Of Babylon’.

In themselves, arguably they are redundant additions, but they show off a band dynamic in the studio that needed little tweaking to reach finished form. That’s a clumsy way of saying that there’s almost no discernible difference between the tracks on disc 1 and disc 2. But that’s what makes them interesting.

The 3 live tracks – ‘LLRNR’, ‘LA Connection’ and ‘Gates Of Babylon’ – are taken from Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert in 1978 and are disposable, but they give us a glimpse of the sheer power and energy of the band on stage. For anyone who wonders what Rainbow were all about, this is the dictionary definition.

rainbow long liveThe 2 rehearsal takes and the final 2 tracks – respectively, ’LLRNR’ & ’Kill The King’, and outtakes of ‘LA Connection’ & ‘Gates Of Babylon’ – are the gold dust on this release.

Undeniably heavy and unequivocally inventive, all offer a different perspective on tracks that we didn’t think could be improved upon, emphatically adding weight and meaning to the legend.

Recommended.

9 out of 10

Released: Polydor/Universal

CD1:

  1. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
  2. Lady Of The Lake
  3. LA Connection
  4. Gates Of Babylon
  5. Kill The King
  6. The Shed (subtle)
  7. Sensitive To Light
  8. Rainbow Eyes

CD2:

  1. Lady Of The Lake
  2. Sensitive To Light
  3. LA Connection
  4. Kill The King
  5. The Shed (subtle)
  6. Long Live Rock N Roll
  7. Kill The King

Shepperton Studios Rehearsals

  1. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (Take 1)
  2. Rainbow Eyes (Rehearsal 1977)

Don Kirschner Show

  1. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (Live 1978)
  2. Kill The King (Live 1978)
  3. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (Live 1978)
  4. LA Connection (Outtake Version) (Live 1978)
  5. Gates Of Babylon (Outtake Version) (Live 1978)