Rainbow (London)

Rainbow (London)

The Rainbow was a live rock music venue in north London that opened in September 1971 with a concert by The Who, supported by Quiver and closed for the last time in January 1982.

Built on an island site at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and Isledon Road, in Finsbury Park, it was a cinema of the London Astoria chain and opened on 29 September 1930. There were three other Astorias, Streatham, Old Kent Road and Brixton. It was in use as a cinema until September 1971 when it was permanently given over to live music - although rock concerts had been a feature throughout the 1960s.

It was at this theatre that Jimi Hendrix first burnt a guitar, with the collusion of his manager Chas Chandler and a journalist from "NME", press officer Anthony Garland was dispatched to purchase lighter fluid and Jimi proceeded to set fire to his Fender Stratocaster guitar on 31st March 1967 on the opening night of the Walker Brothers tour, resulting in a hospital appointment for Jimi's burnt fingers and a moment that set the precedent for rock performances. Jimi later repeated the stunt at Monterey. Despite press commentary that Frank Zappa was handed the burnt Astoria/Miami guitar it is highly unlikely that months after the stunt, the guitar was taken to Miami. When Jimi left the stage at The Finsbury Astoria, the guitar was intact apart from burns. The guitar handed to Frank Zappa in Miami was a burnt body without a neck.

The fine building had been the subject of a preservation order in the 1970s and the management company that operated the venue was unable to maintain it to the required standard. The building was closed permanently in 1982, although there were plans for its conversion to a bingo hall.

In 1995, the building was bought by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God and is now used for religious ceremonies.


*cite book | author=Gray, Richard | title=Cinemas In Britain - One Hundred Years of Cinema Architecture |publisher =Lund Humphries |year=1996 | id=ISBN 0853316856
*cite web |url=http://www.uncut.co.uk/news/the_jimi_hendrix_experience/news/12073 |title=Uncut.co.uk - News |accessdate=

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