On This Day (February 20)…Rainbow in Newcastle Again

Rainbow performed on this day in 1980 at the Newcastle City Hall in Newcastle, England.

Autographed guest pass. Retrieved from here.

The group were at this time on their Down to Earth tour, undertaken to support the album of the same name. After successful legs in the United States and Continental Europe, the band had finally reached England the night before. This concert came at an interesting time for Rainbow, who were in the process of transitioning to a different sound from their proto-Heavy Mithril sound of the Dio era to a more chart-friendly sound (and, often, subject matter).

A review of the concert, as usual, praised the whole group. However, the writer may have accidentally insulted keyboardist Don Airey when cheekily conflating Newcastle with Airey’s native Sunderland. While the two are geographically quite close, they’re also football rivals, and to this day Airey is known for his loyalty to Sunderland AFC. He even wore the colors onstage from time to time, though did not at this concert.

A good set of photos from the night, taken by Alan Perry, can be found here. There is no known recording of this particular concert.

This was Rainbow’s second consecutive night at Newcastle City Hall on this tour. I talk more about the City Hall here.

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