where’s (the) Wally?

Rainbow Bristol 1976

Every so often something takes you right back in time. This unusual photograph of a rock crowd came from Tonny Steenhagen, with the cryptic message “are you in it?”. Turns out the shot was of the audience at Rainbow’s very first British concert in Bristol back in August 1976. I’ve only ever been to the venue this once, and it was 38 years ago. I do remember the really good rake in the stalls which gave everyone a clear view, and I was somewhere around where the two arms in the distance are in the photo. I think! I love the guy near the front centre left with his finger stuffed in his ear, and the one on the right gazing up at the amazing rainbow stage piece (something which we all did – it was hypnotic). The tickets (inset) were not very exciting as you can see, and don’t even mention the band’s name. I kept it anyway.

The photographer then turned round and went back to snapping the band. Shame Polydor didn’t know about if for the Long Live album inner gatefold. Let us know if you or any of your mates are in it!


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21 Responses to “where’s (the) Wally?”

  1. Jerry Says:

    Oh my word! I’ve just found this by pure chance and I can tell you that I am in the picture – very clear just behind the guy at the front’s right arm – longish fair hair and glasses – broad smile. With me and my mates Geoff and Chalky, who both about visible. We were in the fourth row, right in front of Ritchie. Geoff managed to get a huge chunk of RB’s smashed guitar. Incredible night, never forgotten. Many thanks!

    • Jerry Says:

      By the way…it’s me with my finger in my ear. Can’t think why, I was loving it. Where can I get the original? Not much hope, I suppose.

      • simon robinson Says:

        I’ll have a quiet word with the guy who owns the negatives and see what we can do Jerry!

      • Jerry Says:

        Cheers, Simon. By the way, you gave me a name check in the liner notes for ‘Live In London’ a few years ago. Time I said thanks!

  2. Les Hedger Says:

    I remember seeing Rainbow in Chicago in 1978. My ears rang for days!! Great show!! This is the show where Glover was backstage. Wish I had known that back then.

  3. George Martin Says:

    I saw the 2nd show on that 1st tour at the Beacon Theater in New York. If you don’t like R & R was done as a encore. I took some pictures but they did not turn out that great. Cameras were not the same as they are today. 4th row right in front of Ritchie. Awesome night!

    • Roy Davies Says:

      Cheers George, I’ve been wondering where the live version recently uploaded on youtube had originated. The French press review of the time mentioned IYDLRnR as being done, but then again they also listed “Temple of the King” in the set too!

      • simon robinson Says:

        Always dangerous to reply on journalist’s live reviews when compiling set lists…

  4. Andrew Naish Says:

    I was there! I think we were in the balcony but very difficult to see faces up there in this photo. Brilliant to see a picture though. I believe Alan “Fluff” Freeman was also there near the front. Still remains one of the best gigs I ever went to and I was only 15 at the time – Happy Days. Oh and I still have the ticket!

  5. Gary Says:

    I wasn’t at that show but I was at the very first North American show in Montreal at the Montreal Forum! I was first row , Jimmy Bain’s side but perfect angle to see Ritchie in all his red booted glory. Yee Haa! By the way – the guy with a finger in his ear – I fully understand the affect of the immense wall of blistering sound was like!
    Gary (still) in Montreal

    • simon robinson Says:

      Got any souvenirs for us to see then?!

      • Gary Says:

        To this day, I wish I had the wits about me to record that show!! The only souvenirs I have is the torn ticket stub and the newspaper advert for the show.

      • simon robinson Says:

        I was too busy trying to get a few pictures on the tour to try and record, hard to do both. There was a tour programme too.

      • Jerry Says:

        How I wish I’d held on to my programme and badge!

      • simon robinson Says:

        Yes, very collectable now.

    • Roy Davies Says:

      …and did they do “If You Dont like Rock n Roll” as an encore?

      • simon robinson Says:

        That’s a big ask for my old brain Roy, I’ll see if I made a note of it in my scrapbook at the time…

      • Gary Says:

        Hi Roy, I would suspect yes as they played it in Montreal for the same tour (it was an ear bleedingly 15 min encore). But with Ritchie, who knows – he may have changed his mind.

  6. vincent chong Says:

    Love the photo….but i do wish i was there.

  7. Roy Davies Says:

    Ahhh, proper theatre venues…those were the days!!
    I did the Bham odeon concert on 11 September 1976 – a night that changed my musical tastes for ever and kept me skint ever since!!

    • simon robinson Says:

      Yep, great tour. Leicester was stunning, stood right under Ritchie as he started to trash the Strat. Then he realised he was likely to seriously injure everyone pressed against the stage and took a few steps back!

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