The Rainbow is directed by Zak Knutson. Interviewees in the film include; Wendy Dio, Mickey Dolenz, Lita Ford, Ron Jeremy, Robert Lamm, Lemmy Kilmister, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Riley, Gene Simmons, Slash, and Matt Sorum; as well as members of the Maglieri Family who opened and run the venue.
Since the early 1970s, the Rainbow Bar and Grill has been a legendary mecca for all things rock and roll; as a famous rock star hangout, bar, and restaurant. In this documentary, many of the people who were a part of the famed Hollywood locale; which still stands and operates to this day; share their tales of debauchery and unexpected encounters and events, over the course of the years. The movie also takes a look at and interviews the Maglieri Family; which for three generations has run the Rainbow, as well as the early genesis of rock and roll entertainment on the Sunset Strip leading up to its creation; and the state of music venues and the surroundings in the modern day.
I’m a die-hard rock and roll fan, and learning about the hot spots over the years is always fun. Two years ago, I went on a road trip from Vegas to Hollywood to review the 2017 RockGodz Hall of Fame Awards; (to this day it remains the only out-of-state event I’ve covered for this website); and decided to spend an extra day in Southern California; which included trips to several hot music-related locales in the area; (sadly many of the actual venues were closed and apparently do not open to public unless a show is going on); but stopping by the Rainbow was on the top of my list.
When I heard a documentary was being made on the history of this fabled venue, I know it’s something I absolutely had to get my hands on and cover. And while I wouldn’t say the doc; which runs just over 70 minutes, offers much in the way of startling revelations; it’s a great flashback piece, looking at the past and present; as well as the potential future of one of rock’s most iconic hangouts.
The sheer variety of everyone assembled for the presentation is one of its greatest highlights. Did you know Lemmy Kilmister got a place in Hollywood so he’d always be within walking distance of the Rainbow? What about that it’s the place where many bands started and were discovered, and filmed their music videos? The rock star stories are fantastic; but for this viewer the true surprise of this documentary is the look into the lives of the Maglieri Family; who’ve turned it into a third-generation business, opened for nearly half a century.
The story itself is told in the form of newly-filmed interview and scenery footage; as well as archival footage of music videos, interviews, and events over the years. Following the conclusion of the movie itself, there are dedications to deceased members of the Rainbow family; from venue staff to rockers who called the hangout their own over the years; as well as a segment listing the current fates of many iconic venues which are no more; and what now inhabits said properties. That the Rainbow has stood longer than them and remains largely unchained is a testament to its longevity and reputation in the eyes of rockers and the fans alike.
The newly-filmed footage looks fantastic on this Blu-ray disc; though not surprisingly, the archival footage is in varied shape, from very good to very rough and artifact-ridden; though in many cases that said footage exists in any shape or form is remarkable. Disappointingly, there are no bonus features on the disc outside of a trailer.
The Rainbow tells the story of one of the most iconic locales in the history of rock and roll; and you’ll get to hear plenty of interesting stories about the long-lasting establishment in this doc. It’s not exactly chock full of earth-shattering revelations, but rock and roll fans will love what they see and hear here. Very highly recommended!
DISCLAIMER: All photos in this review are from the author’s personal collection; taken in October 2017, except for the documentary cover art, which is the property of respective copyright holders. All rights reserved.