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Rainbow On Stage album cover
3.86 | 157 ratings | 14 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Live, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Intro: Over the Rainbow / Kill the King (5:31)
2. Man on the Silver Mountain / Blues / Starstruck (11:15)
3. Catch the Rainbow (15:36)
4. Mistreated (13:07)
5. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves (7:37)
6. Still I'm Sad (11:05)

Total Time 64:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Ronnie James Dio / vocals
- Tony Carey / keyboards
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitar
- Jimmy Bain / bass
- Cozy Powell / drums

Releases information


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RAINBOW On Stage ratings distribution

(157 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

RAINBOW On Stage reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars After having established a group he thought would hold up his requirements, Blackmore set out to express his ambition by setting up an impressive light show that included a cool-looking Rainbow. But however impressive this giant lightning fixture was, it was extremely unreliable providing many glitches and interferences on the PA and amplifiers, that it was sometimes impossible to use. So choosing between the recordings to make-up this album was probably no easy task, and this sole official live album for over two decades was rather frustrating on a few points.

Not only were there some very short album sides (the second and third were simply scandalously short), but some of Tony Carey's solos were disastrous, leading to his dismissal, being replaced by the much better classically-trained Canadian David Stone. But on this album we have to put up with Carey's completely inept performance especially on anotherwise excellent Still I'm Sad. And that track is not the only excellent version: as most of the selected songs are well-played and especially well recorded (maybe even a bit of tampering or touch-ups), which is hardly the case of the other more recent release of that era.

We are graced with a Dio version of the Purple blues Mistreated, a vastly different (extended) Catch the Rainbow, a new fantastic Kill The King (Cozy Rules) and a shining (if you except Carey) Still I'm Sad which unlike its studio version regains the vocal parts perfectly sung by Dio, even if those vocals have nothing to do with the original Yardbirds Gregorian chants. But my other main gripe is that in this selection, aside one track thrown in the Medley, there is not one track from the preceding superb Rising on which promotion tour this album is derived. And apparently, on other recordings released from that era, the same flaw occurs almost every time.

Nevertheless and aside from my two main gripes, this writer simply loved this double set and cherished it as much as the three Dio-era studio albums. An ideal complement with the recent Live DVD of Rainbow's Munich performance in Munich in late 77

Review by WaywardSon
5 stars This is an album that has to be heard on headphones.

The concert begins with a sound recording (extract) from the film, The Wizard of Ozz, where Dorothy says "Toto, it looks like wer´re not in Kansas anymore!" Straight after that spoken sentence, the whole band bombard us with the first opening chords to "Somewhere over the rainbow" A thunderous roar from the crowd makes the listener feel that they are actually there!

Suddenly the band break into "Kill the king" and it is interesting to note that Cozy Powell never plays exactly on the beat, but just before the beat, pushing the band like a highly charged freight train! Keyboardist, Tony Carey, and guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore play a melodic solo in unison, Blackmore´s guitar heard in the left speaker, while Carey´s keyboards copy the same pattern as the guitar in the right hand speaker. (Blackmore always stood on the left hand side of the stage)

The Medley, consisting of a speeded up version of "Man on the silver mountain", going into "Blues", and then "Starstruck" keeps the sound interesting as the band chop and change with different time signatures. "Blues" is an interplay of call and respond, between Carey and Blackmore, with the keyboard mimicking the guitar sound. Blackmore´s tone is perfect! (In an interview he once said he would like to make a blues album one day) Ronnie James Dio shows just why he is considered one of the greatest vocalists ever, when he sings "You´re the man" with the audience shouting back their approval, finally building up to "We´re all the maaaan!!!" as the band launches back into "Man on the silver mountain"

"Catch the Rainbow" which is over fifteen minutes, begins softly, slowly building up to the guitar solo which comes in around the six minute mark. Blackmore was never an "in your face" guitarist, so one has to listen carefully for all the hidden details in this unbelievable solo. Definitely my favourite Blackmore solo ever! Ronnie James Dio also shines on this track with some of the most powerful singing in rock history. The song ends with some delicate , soft playing from Blackmore.

"Mistreated" (which appears on the Deep Purple album, Burn) is up next, with another of Ritchie´s classic solos. With Dio´s powerful vocals, Rainbow actually upstage Deep Purple´s version on "Made in Europe"

"Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" begins with beautiful slow playing from Blackmore. The sound he is able to get out of his Stratocaster is packed with emotion and longing. Eventually the entire band come in and the song takes off in a driving hard rhythm, once again show casing Dio´s incredible vocals.

"Still I´m sad" is the final track, with a well structured , clever solo from Tony Carey. This is the only track on the album that doesn´t have Blackmore´s name on the song credits. It would also appear years later on the album "Stranger in us all" A fine closing number to one of the best live albums ever.

As Yngwie Malmsteen once quoted: "There wasn´t a guitarist in the seventies that could touch Blackmore" This album bears testimony to that quote.

Review by Guillermo
3 stars This is a good live album, but I prefer the original Rainbow line-up. Blackmore added very good drummer Cozy Powell to the band and other two new members, Jimmy Bain and Tony Carey. Powell was a powerful drummer with a lot of experience, and he is the musician who shines more in this album, apart from Dio and Blackmore, IMO. There are very good songs in this album, particularly "Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves". This live version of "Catch the Rainbow" is very long, and because of this, it lost power. I prefer the studio version. The keyboards sound "distant" in the mix, and it sounds like they didn`t use a Mellotron on tour for this song particularly. So, it also lost the "magic" of the studio version. "Still I`m Sad" is played with lyrics this time, also in a long version which has not the power of the studio version.

In conclusion, it is a good live album, but the long versions of some of the songs have not the power of the studio versions, IMO.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Make no mistake this is a good live album, it does not hold up as well as " Made in Japan' for instance. Yes I know they are different bands but the live performances for me are not quite up there with the DP offering. Maybe it was the selection of tracks? Who knows. The line up is as their Rising album so the players know each other perfectly. The music is great, the atmosphere great.Check out ' Intro, Over the Rainbow/Kill The King", ' Catch The Rainbow' and ' Still I'm sad'. A good live album.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A pot of gold

This is how a live album, indeed a live performance should be. It was perhaps a fortunate quirk of fate that with an at the time very limited repertoire to chose from, Ritchie and his new colleagues decided to significantly elongate the tracks they selected for live rendition.

Most of the material here is taken from the first album when the band was called Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Once the marketing people had ensured their public was aware of the legendary guitarist's prime place in the band, the name was quickly abbreviated.

The highlight of the set is the 15+ minute version of "Catch the Rainbow", which affords Ritchie space to extend his input to the track significantly. To his credit, he does not attempt to add blistering licks, but maintains the integrity of this beautifully melodic piece. Ronnie James Dio takes to opportunity to encourage some crowd participation, but even this is done tastefully.

Blackmore also lays claim to the Coverdale/Hughes era Deep Purple song "Mistreated" from the "Burn" album. Once again, the song is significantly extended to 13 minutes. The piece suits Dio's vocal style well, while Ritchie develops what was in any case one of his finest solos while a member of DP.

Both "Sixteenth century Greensleeves" and the cover of Jeff Beck and the Yardbird's "Still I'm sad" are considerably longer than their studio counterparts. The latter also regains the vocal refrain omitted from the first Rainbow album.

There have been further live offerings from Rainbow since this early release, and while they are of a consistently high standard, none has managed to recapture the power and excitement of "On stage". A fine album.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A very memorable rock album... ever!

I had a cassette version of this album and it was lost somewhere - I think someone borrowed my cassette and he forgot to return it back to me. The problem was .. I forgot who borrowed from me. So, I was sad. I tried to re-purchase this live album but I had other rock albums to purchase while I had a very very limited budget as a kid to buy rock albums. So kept delaying to repurchase. During my time of getting back this album I kept singing "Still I'm Sad" from this live version which I thought was very powerful and much much better than the original studio version. Couple of years later I repurchased the cassette and another long years after that I purchased the CD version.

For me personally, Rainbow is a great band with its own sound. This live album strats wonderfully with the intro and kid's voice ... and the music suddenly BLASTS off through "Kill The King". WOW! What a great opening track that is well positioned for a live performance. It's so powerful in terms of live vibes as well as energy. Musically, there is a great combination of Ritchie guitr riffs, Tony Carey's keyboard, and jaw dropping drum work by Cozy Powell (RIP). As far as bet concern, I think, this song has then inspired other musicians in the sub genre of pwer metal. The drum beat is so fast and it's very energetic, Ronnie James Dio vocal quality is unique and so powerful. This is a masterpiece track and it's well positioned to open the live album.

The meddley of "Man on the Silver Mountain" followed with Ritchie's blues interpretation and closed with "Starstruck" is another great live record. It's so rocking and so powerful. The ballad "Catch The Rainbow" has become very different in terms of duration and style where there is a long musical interlude in the middle of the track. What a surprise was the inclusion of Deep Purple's (Burn album) "Mistreated" in which Dio sings it beautifully.

Overall, this is truly an excellent and very memorable live record I have ever heard even though this album came out way after Uriah Heep "Live 73" or Deep Purple's "Made In Japan" or Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same". It's a pity if you claim yourself as a true rocker but you don't own this copy. It's a legendary live record!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This live album is mainly made of songs from their debut album which I find completely overrated. This fact being taken into account, these numbers sound better live than in the studio. This album is also made of tracks recorded during different concerts. Which means no unity as far as the atmosphere.

The so-called reason for Ritchie to leave "Purple" was their new bluesy orientation. Great. So please tell me why he needed to add a bluesy guitar solo (completely useless) in the medley "Man on the Silver Mountain, Blues, Starstruck" ? But that's not all. There will be a cover version for "Mistreated". The most blues-rock song and also one of the best with "Burn" from the Purple Mark III era.

I'm not even complaining about the lenght of this version (almost double the original) since "Purple Mark III" did the same during their "Burn" and "Stormbringer" tours. A trace of this can be heard on "Live In London" which was released in 2002 but recorded in 1974 as well as on "Made in Europe" (1975).

Only that a part of Ritchie guitar solo here is just a waste of time. Apart from that, Dio does a great vocal performance.

I can only agree with some other fellow reviewers as of the ridiculous lenght of this album. Just over one hour for a double vinyl album ! This is even more a shame that only one song from their great album "Rising" is featured here. No "Tarot Woman, "Stargazer" nor "Light in the Black" which are three of their best songs ever written ! superb hard-rock ones. Only "Starstruck" will be included in a medley. Fans will need to wait for about twenty years to be able to listen to a live version of "Stargazer". It is featured on "Live In Germany 76" (released in ...1994).

On the other hand, one song from their third album will be featured as a preview "Kill The King". A great rendition of this excellent track.

This live album holds every aspect of a hard-rock concert in the late mid-seventies : lenghty improvisations (just look how much "Still I'm Sad" is extended (still being very good but almost tripled in lenght) to fill the concerts. This is again a pity since "Rainbow" would have been inspired to include some "Rising" songs. FYI, this live album was recorded during the "Rising" promo tour so it's difficult to believe that almost none of the album was played. It is a deliberate choice from dear Rtchie I guess. But why the hell did he do this ???

Noneteless, it is a good hard-rock live album. It is not yet with this album that we'll to discover the prog side of the band, I guess that we'll have to wait for later releases.

Three stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Probably one of the last great live albums of the 70's (the decade of the great live albums, by the way). Recorded with what now is regarded as the best ever Rainbow line up, this is a CD that is up to Ritchie Blackmore's best works, inlcuding Made In Japan. When it was released in Brazil it was reduced to a single LP, intead of the double album format elsewhere. It was a butcher's work that fans never forgave. I had to wait the arrival of the CD version of this masterpiece to finally have the complete recording. Things of the past, I Hope!

Although the set list is a bit confusing (Kill the King was still an unreleased song, while the recent Rising is represented here with only a short version of Starstruck, in the middle of a medley), the playing is absolute superb (with apologies to Sean Trane, I still think Tony Carey is a great keyboards player, even though his rumored problems with drugs and alcohool did some damage in concerts). I used to hear this record almost non stop after I got it.

Ok, the long versions may hint some self indulgency, but that's not the case. When you're dealing with such gifted and talented people like those ones, they really could extend the songs and make them sound even better than the studio counterparts. Rainbow was one of the last bands to actually have the chops to do such thing and come out unscathed. Highlights: Kill The King (they would later record this one in studio, but never matched this live rendition. Great Hammond organ and guitar interplay, while Cozy Powell shows why he was so legendary among his peers), the long Catch The Rainbow and the 11 minute version of Still I'm Sad.

If you think that heavy music could not be progressive (and if you doubt that some of its best musicians could not match your best prog heroes in terms of technique and creativeness) just hear this CD. You'll be surprised. I only wished they played more stuff from Rising, but nothing's perfect. A strong four stars rating, no less.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars On Stage is one of those rare compulsory live albums in rock history. It features mainly tracks from the debut but you'll have a hard time recognizing them.

Things start with the overwhelming Kill the King which appears here before its actual studio release. Next on is a medley (or rather an extended improvisation with some other short parts intersected) of Man On The Silver Mountain, one of Blackmore's best hard rock songs, .

Catch the Rainbow is the first of the 3 must-haves here. It's a complete remake. The dreamy atmosphere of the original is substituted with an impressive journey through both calm melodic sections, noodling, more noodling and heavy outbursts of power and emotion. And do we like it! The same can be said for Mistreated from Deep Purple's Burn. The band just blazes through this excellent blues rock track.

16th Century Greensleeves is another song from the debut. It's a great performance again but for once I prefer the gentle medieval leanings of the original to the live version here. The third gem is of course Still I'm Sad which has really nothing to do anymore with the original album version. I get chills just thinking about the emotional power of the ending section, which I admit, is partly due to nostalgia thinking back at my boarding school days when I blasted this album daily through my cassette player. Poor fellows in the rooms next door, overpowering their Fine Young Cannibals like this :-)

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second best Rainbow album, after "Rising". The same line up and track list from two first band's album.

Very classic hard-rock live album from it's era. Musicians are great, songs are in much longer versions, than on studio albums. You can listen for minutes and minutes of live solos, what is really great. I think that Rainbow best studio album ( and line-up) is "Rising", there are many songs from it with extended versions. Songs are different, very melodic, Blackmore's guitar is good and Dio's voice became better and better with every album.

Just two moments are on the band side - album isn't focused enough, even with many hard and energetic moments, it looks a bit bulky. And the sound quality isn't good enough ( though at the standard of it's time).

If you like classic melodic hard rock with excellent vocal and strong guitar , just take it! One of strong live recordings of it's time and style.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I get the feeling that Ritchie Blackmore's intension with this release was to recreate the magic of Deep Purple's Made In Japan. If anything at least On Stage should be regarded as a bold statement from Rainbow!

I think that it was a good idea to create space for some extensive solo spot moments but unlike Made In Japan this record misses the mark by lacking in the material department. It's true that most of these performances don't have much of a connection to their studio versions but I still would have appreciated it more if some of the material off Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow would have been substituted for a few highlights from the two follow-up releases. Instead, this classic lineup from the album Rising don't play a single song off that album! There is a brief 2 minute glimpse of Starstruck towards the end of the Man On The Silver Mountain-medley but that's pretty much it. The rest of the material comes from the debut album plus the excellent performance of Kill The King from then unreleased Long Live Rock & Roll and Mistreated from Deep Purple's Burn.

Unlike the studio album from the previous year this live album gives us the complete overview of what Rainbow was all about. It's true that I was hoping that their studio albums would incorporate some of these wild and over-the-top jams sessions but to have a whole album filled with this material gets quite excessive. Especially since On Stage is almost double as long Rising!

Considering that Rainbow has undergone some major changes in its lineup over their brief career I am very grateful that the only official live album was actually recorded with the classic lineup of Blackmore/Bain/Carey/Dio/Powell. The Live In Munich 1977 DVD might feel less excessive than this release but it captures an unenthusiastic Rainbow performance which is another reason to check out On Stage if you're looking for the best representation of the band in a live setting.

***** star songs: Intro: Over The Rainbow/Kill The King (5:32)

**** star songs: Mistreated (13:08) Sixteenth Century Greensleeves (7:38) Still I'm Sad (11:01)

*** star songs: Man On The Silver Mountain/Blues/Starstruck (11:15) Catch The Rainbow (15:36)

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars The pendulum of quality swings very far both ways in this uneven live album by vintage hard- rock band Rainbow. On one hand, we're given oustanding, heavy, driving rock tunes showcasing a winning combination of musicianship and energy. The excellent opener, "Kill the King" starts things off with a bang, as does the classic "Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Greensleeves". These songs kick the listener's ass, thanks to strong performances by Dio, Blackmoore and the rhythm section. Every song on this album has at least one section of masterful rockin'... it's the other parts that drag the rest down.

"On Stage" positively smacks of indulgence on the part of Blackmoor, who fills what must be half the album with solo noddling-- especially during the quite dynamics of songs-- which is neither exciting, interesting, nor effective. Combine this with the sad pairing and exchanges he often makes with the amateurish keyboards of Tony Carey, and I found myself wanting to skip tracks very often. The fact that many of these songs are extended versions of their studio counterparts is great, but they should have something more than one-handed keyboard work and empty space with mewling guitar effects.

It's too bad, because when "On Stage" is good-- it's very good, and a lot of fun. It's production is first-rate, despite the obvious incohesion of its setlist (and even between song sections). Honestly, this live album is nearly for fans only, but Dio single-handedly adds another star because of his boisterous vocals and enthusiasm. R(ock) I.P Dio!

Setlist 3 Instrumental Performances 2 Stage Energy 3 Live Experience 4

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars As much as i'm a big Ronnie James Dio fan I must admit that RAINBOW really failed to capture my imagination. Sure "Rising" was a very good album but it's the only one from that band I still listen to. And even then I much prefer Dio's work with BLACK SABBATH along with his "Holy Diver" album. I don't know why exactly but I can't get into the organ work on this live release at all. This album consists mostly of tracks from their debut, and it's hard to believe this was a double album when it came out as it's only 64 minutes long.

"Kill The King" has a DEEP PURPLE vibe to it with the guitar and organ. It's an uptempo track with some samples to begin with. Next up is a medley of "Man On The Silver Mountain" / "Blues" / "Starstruck". The latter is the only "Rising" track on here for some reason. "Man On The Silver Mountain" is such a great tune. Nice guitar to end it too. They reprise it after "Starstruck" as well.

"Catch The Rainbow" is slow to get going much like the opening song on this album. It kicks in before 6 1/2 minutes. "Mistreated" has bluesy lyrics and Blackmore shines on it. An excellent track. "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" again is slow to get going until after 2 1/2 minutes when the organ and drums kick in. Great sound before 5 1/2 minutes, I like the guitar. "Still I'm Sad" opens with some amazing guitar the rest is just okay.

I'm sure RAINBOW fans will love this record, i'll stick with "Rising" though as this didn't impress me a whole lot.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This is one of the most powerful live albums ever released, highly recommended for everyone, and especially if you're a big Deep Purple fan (because of Blackmore, and because of the style). No weak moments here, and Kill The King, though short, is perfect - a studio versions would be released on ... (read more)

Report this review (#164219) | Posted by Zardoz | Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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