Episode #116 – Ian Gillan Band – Live at the Rainbow 1977

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Lead up to the Album:

  • Short concert recorded on 14th May 1977 at the Rainbow in London.
  • The Rainbow:
    • The Rainbow used to be The Finsbury Park Astoria which was a large cinema complex build in the 1930s.  It had a theater and a cafe as part of the structure.  In the 1960s it began being used for rock bands, notably bands from the Stax and Volt label who performed the first ever large format American soul music show in the UK.
    • The venue closed in 1970 and was filled with guard dogs to prevent people from trying to live there.
    • Chrysalis bought the venue in 1972 and improved its acoustics so that it could be reopened as a rock venue.
    • It was renamed The Rainbow and “The Who” opened the new venue with its first show.
    • It quickly became one of the boat well renowned venues for rock music in London.
    • In 1975 Chrysalis pulled out due to the expenses needed for maintenance and new fire regulations.
    • 1975 – The theatre ran into money trouble, with Biffo facing a bill for £180,000 to keep the building in a preserved state.
    • 1976 – Hernweave, a company owned by Jamie & Lawrence Bloom, Alan Shievren & Sean Casey take over management of the theatre.
    • It reopened briefly in the 1980s but is now owned by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.
  • On June 30, 1972 Deep Purple played there where their noise level was recorded earning them an entry in 1974’s Guinness Book of World Records as the loudest band in the world, a fact much lamented by the members of the band.
  • On June 4, 2021 this was released on SingSong Music:
  • I was curious as to the length of the show. Was this just a short promo show or was this video part of a longer performance.  I asked Ray Fenwcik about it and he responded: “The show was edited ..a lot of the lengthy solos were shortened..it was a normal show, but Chris Blackwell CEO of Island Records was in the audience overseeing his new signing.”
  • This was indeed a full show with Strapps opening for them.
  • Ray Fenwick from the CD liner notes: “Apart from many premier rock festivals we performed at, certain “highlight concerts” come to mind, one was a two night show at The Budokan in Tokyo and the other was at the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park in London.
  • “It was on the 14th of May 1977, in front of a fullhouse. We were promoting the “Clear Air Turbulence” album on Island Records; Chris Blackwell the label owner was there that night checking-out his investment!”
  • Ray Fenwick interview 4:19


  • Ian Gillan
  • Ray Fenwick
  • John Gustafson
  • Colin Towns
  • Mark Nauseef

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Video Setlist:

  1. Twin Exhausted (Intro)
  2. Clear Air Turbulence
  3. Money Lender
  4. Child in Time
  5. Smoke on the Water
  6. Woman From Tokyo
  7. Twin Exhausted (Outro)

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Reception and Review

  • From CD Liner Notes: “Though considered terribly unfashionable in their day, the Ian Gillan Band of the mid to late seventies remains one of the few non-NEwWave/Punk bands of the era who were able to produce music, which still remains interesting and intriguing. I suggest you offer yourself the opportunity to find out just how good they really were on stage.” — CLAES JOHANSEN

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Listener Mail/Comments

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