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Rainbow: Monsters Of Rock: Live At Donington 1980

Fabled Donington debut, now repackaged on DVD and CD.

Rainbow Monsters Of Rock: Live At Donington 1980 album cover

Even now, more than three decades later, respect is due to Graham Bonnet for headlining the inaugural Monsters Of Rock festival at muddy Castle Donington while dressed in a pristine white blazer and eye-watering red trousers. Punk rock.

Marking Cozy Powell’s final appearance drumming for Rainbow, this historic performance has been immortalised on album and video before, but this new DVD and CD package collects together the full live audio for the first time.

Bonnet musters an effortlessly operatic roar on All Night Long and Catch The Rainbow, even nodding to his pop-soul roots on a revved-up cover of the Goffin/King classic Will You Love Me Tomorrow?.

But there’s no doubt that this high-energy show belongs to Ritchie Blackmore, who summons up some Hendrix-level pryotechnics on Eyes Of The World and audacious Beethoven homages on Difficult To Cure before trashing his guitar and setting his amps ablaze. The festival promoters lost money during this debut year, but a legend was born.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.