Breaking with '70s heavy metal tradition by releasing a live album after only two studio efforts (you're supposed to have three before the live one), Rainbow served up this double platter in 1977. On Stage is full of great songs and playing, but somehow it lacks some of the excitement that existed at those early Ritchie Blackmore concerts. The production is just kind of flat. That doesn't change the fact that there is some great material to be found here and nowhere else, such as the side-long version of "Mistreated," from Deep Purple's Burn. Similarly epic is a version of "Catch the Rainbow" containing some awesome guitar work -- although it's a little too long for its own good. In another break with metal tradition, the album kicks off with "Kill the King," a blazing rocker from their next platter, Long Live Rock 'n' Roll. (The idea of opening your show with a song no one knows is very foreign to both heavy metal and double live albums.) On the band's classic song, "Man on the Silver Mountain," Ronnie Dio cries out in his over-the-top vocal finale, "I'm the man, I'm the man, I'm the man....we're all the maaaaaaaaaannnn." That is unconsciously funny enough to make the disc worthwhile all by itself.
AllMusic Review by Geoff Ginsberg