Give Ritchie Blackmore credit on one point; throughout the years and lineup changes, he was not one to look back on Rainbow’s accomplishments, unlike other bands who get bogged down in time warps within the studio and on stage.
This retrospective – released in 1986 when Blackmore disbanded his group (the band reformed and disbanded again in the 1990s) – emphasizes Blackmore’s vision on the present, as it is heavy on the late 1970s-1980s post-Ronnie James Dio years. There are two selections when Dio was lead vocalist, a period when the band was perhaps at its most creative lyrically and musically.
What shines throughout is the technical proficiency Blackmore brought to the electric guitar and his fascination with merging classical music elements into a rock framework.
This is not a place to start for fans checking out Rainbow for the first time. It is a nice collection of live performances, though from the latter lineups that may have been strong in delivering the generic 1980s AOR sound, but quite weak in forging a new frontier musically/lyrically.