Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Veteran rock outfit Rainbow is set to shine again early next month when it releases its latest live recording Live in Birmingham 2016. Set for release Friday, June 9, the recording is the final piece in a collection of performances from the band held last year during the band’s European tour. Two of the performances from that brief tour were initially released on DVD. This recording, while only available on 2CD set and digital platforms – the set’s only negative – rounds out that short stint of live dates. Even being available only on audio-specific platforms, it still boasts its share of positives, beginning with its set list. This will be discussed shortly. The band’s performance of the featured songs is just as important to note as the songs themselves. It will be discussed later. The concert’s sound quality rounds out its most important elements. Each noted element is important in its own right as will be shown. All things considered, they make Live in Birmingham 2016 one more of this year’s top new live CDs.
Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new live Rainbow recording Live in Birmingham 2016 is one of this year’s top new live CDs. An accompaniment to the label’s previously released live Rainbow recordings from the band’s 2016 European tour, this recording boasts plenty of positives beginning with its extensive 15-song (technically 16-song) set list. The set list, which is spread across two discs, features an extensive collection of Rainbow’s hits along with a number of Deep Purple’s biggest hits, too. On the outermost layer of the set list, audiences will appreciate that the set list balances the Deep Purple songs and Rainbow songs quite expertly. Both bands are represented with eight songs. Two of the songs, ‘Black Night’ and ‘Woman From Tokyo’ are joined in a mini-medley. Even with that in mind, they are still two songs, bringing the set list’s total count to 16 songs. Again, this makes the bands’ song count eight each.
The expertly balanced representation of Deep Purple and Rainbow within the set list is just one part of what makes the set list stand out. The range of albums from which the songs are pulled adds even more to the importance of the set list. In regards to the Rainbow portion of the set list, which is interspersed with the Deep Purple portion, audiences will be pleased to see that only two of Rainbow’s records – Bent Out Of Shape (1983) and Stranger In Us All (1995) – are not represented in this concert. The band’s debut 1975 album Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow is represented twice in the form of ‘Catch The Rainbow’ and ‘Man on the Silver Mountain’ while Difficult To Cure (1981) also gets a pair of songs in the form of its title track and ‘Spotlight Kid.’ Rising, Down To Earth, Long Live Rock ‘N Roll and Straight Between The Eyes each get a nod, too.
The set list’s Deep Purple nods obviously don’t pull from every one of that band’s albums. However, It does do a respectable job of representing the band’s early days, reaching all the way back to its seminal 1972 album Machine Head and even to 1995 with the 25th anniversary re-issue of Deep Purple in Rock. That re-issue is represented through the song ‘Black Night,’ which was originally recorded as a B-Side that never made it onto the original album. Stormbringer (1974) is also represented here as are the band’s self-titled 1973 album, Burn (1974) and Perfect Strangers (1984). The latter of the albums, Perfect Strangers marked Blackmore’s return to the band from Rainbow, making it an important record to represent in Blackmore’s return to the stage in this concert. Keeping in mind the Deep Purple and Rainbow records represented here and their equally balanced representation, it becomes clear why the concert’s set list is so important to its overall presentation. The whole of the set list paints a rich, vivid picture of Blackmore’s career while also offering plenty of entertaining compositions. The set list is only one of the elements to be considered in examining the recording’s whole. The band’s performance of the set list is just as important to discuss in examining the concert’s overall presentation.
The set list featured in this recording is a key piece of the recording’s whole. That is proven through its balance of Deep Purple and Rainbow songs as well as the representation of each band’s body of work within the recording. It is not the recording’s only important element. The band’s performance of that extensive, yet well-balanced, set list is just as important to examine as the set list itself. Front man Ronnie Romero keeps audiences completely enthralled with his vocals in every song whether powering through ‘Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and ‘Highway Star,’ soaring through ‘Stargazer’ or driving the band through ‘Burn.’ Blackmore’s work on the guitar is just as powerful in each performance while David Keith (drums) and Bob Nouveau (bass) partner to drive the band’s rhythm section solidly. The band’s collective fire burns bright through each performance, making the concert engaging from start to finish. Even in the occasional interludes, Romero keeps listeners engaged showing his prowess as a front man as he interacts with the audience. The fact that the band doesn’t spend an overt amount of time between songs makes this even more interesting to note. Simply put, the band makes the most of every moment, whether performing or taking time to talk to the audience. The whole of that presentation makes this recording even more enjoyable, even though it can only be enjoyed in an audio-only platform. Despite that, the band’s performance both in-song and between proves to be just as important to this recording as the set list itself. It is not the last of the recording’s most important elements, either. Its sound quality rounds out its most important elements.
The set list that makes up the body of Live in Birmingham 2016 and the band’s performance thereof are both key pieces of the recording’s whole. That has already been pointed out and proven. While both elements are clearly important pieces of the record’s whole, they are not its only important elements. The recording’s sound quality (I.E. its sound engineering/mixing) is also important to note. The concert’s sound starts off a little bit muddled, with Romero’s vocals being somewhat overpowered by the rest of the band’s instrumentation. By the time the band works its way into ‘Mistreated,’ that issue disappears, making the concert an enjoyable listen right to the end. Whether the initial audio issue rose at the concert or in post-production is anyone’s guess. That aside, it thankfully doesn’t last too long before it is finally eliminated. The end result is a recording that balances relatively well each musician’s part with those of his counterparts, making for a concert that expertly highlights each musician and in turn entertains and engages audiences from start to finish. When this is considered along with the equally important set list and band’s performance thereof, the whole of those elements reveals the recording to be an experience that audiences, whether fans of Blackmore, Deep Purple, Rainbow or all three, will appreciate. That is the case even despite the fact that the recording is available only on audio-specific platforms. They reveal the recording to be one of this year’s top new live CDS.
Rainbow: Live in Birmingham 2016 is one of this year’s top new live CDs. That is due in part to a set list that lifts equally from Blackmore’s time with Rainbow and Deep Purple. The band’s performance of the expertly balanced set list adds to the recording’s presentation. The recording’s sound quality rounds out its most important elements. Each element is, as already noted, important in its own right to the recording’s whole. All things considered, they make Live in Birmingham 2016 a presentation that, despite being available exclusively on audio platforms, an enjoyable recording and one that proves to be one of the year’s top new live CDs. It will be available in stores and online Friday, June 9. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:
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