Australia Tour 1976
Melbourne Festival Hall - November 9, 1976
Ritchie their pot of gold
Is it true that good things are found at the end of the rainbow? If the audience at Festival Hall last night was a guide, then Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is their pot of gold.
Under the flashing lights of their huge coloured arch, Rainbow launched into what can only be described as ear-splitting heavy metal rock.
Led by Blackmore, they produced a sound with strong overtones of his former group Deep Purple, an agressive drive broken by small brackets of old standards and blues.
A slow blues followed a short lead break from Lazy which introduced Man on the Silver Mountain.
Ronnie James Dio's vocals and Blackmore's guitar work provided the backbone to most of their numbers including Catch The Rainbow, and, believe it or not, Greensleeves.
Keyboard player Tony Carey created some interesting sound using synthesizer, mellotron and organ during a solo performance of Stargazer.
They will do one more concert at Festival Hall on November 22.
Christine Morris, Melbourne The Age, November 10, 1976
[Thanks to: Tonny Steenhagen for the scan]
Sydney Hordern Pavilion - November 11, 1976
The P.A. stunk on dry ice, but Ritchie was real neat. No two ways about it, Blackmore's Rainbow is the sort of band about which legends are made. More than image they've got presence, more than energy they've got necromancy.
And it's not just Ritchie, no way. Rainbow is a band where strong personalities collide and meld. Thank God Ritchie didn't do a Paul McCartney and put a group of jolly nice but featureless personalities. The P.A. system more often than not, sounded like a berserk concrete mixer chewing a particularly grating mixture of gravel. For one, it had too few treble horns to handle the power Rainbow's amplifiers put out. Two, the bass bins betrayed their age and clapped out condition by reducing the end into a toneless boom.
Blackmore through the concert was throwing his arms in the air and pulling anguished faces as if to say "Oh Jeeeeeee-suuuuuusss!" Yeah, but the buck has to stop somewhere Ritchie, and fairly or unfairly, it ultimately stops at the Top Name. But even though the tone was shithouse, if this review concentrated on this defect, it'd be missing the main point. The main point is that it's always peculiarly thrilling and energising to see truly powerful band stretch it's muscles and hammer home it's magnificence. It's the feeling of been clasped by a gigantic force, there's nothing you can do to escape it and indeed, why try? Go along for the ride.
The front line of force in Rainbow is Blackmore, singer Ronnie James Dio and drummer Cozy Powell. Blackmore, judging from the times he wasn't showing agony over the sound, is a happier player than the cold, mean-eyed bastard that I last saw at Sunbury. Back then he was in the business of holding together a sprawling, untogether Deep Purple whose natural propensity seemed to be towards falling asleep on stage.
This time he has a wide-awake foil in the squat, gnomish form of Ronnie Dio. Ronnie is one of those very rare singers who can scream at the top of exceptionally powerful lungs and stay in absolute tune at the same time. He's so ridiculously, so easily good, you wonder why he wasn't a major leaguer years ago. Then you think, but what would have happened if Robert Plant had never met one James Page Esq.
The point is I guess that perfect rock marriages between singers and guitarists happen only in heaven or hell. Just like Page/Plant or Jagger/Richards, once you see a perfectly matched singer/guitarist combination you suddenly can't imagine them without each other for evermore. The Gillan/Blackmore combination from Purple was once considered a pretty nifty combination, but Dio/Blackmore seem to have some chemistry that's extra special.
And right behind them is Cozy Powell. He hits drums harder and faster than anyone who's been in Oz since John Bonham. His solo was a thunderous showpiece of showmanship and strength, the 1812 Overture came belting through the P.A. and Powell joined in with it and just ploughed through the massed trumpets and cannon roars.
Look, there's just no space to take it much further. Rainbow presented the bulk of their two albums Rainbow and Rainbow Rising and one Deep Purple number, Mistreated. There was Stargazer, Tarot Woman, Man On The Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves and Still I'm Sad. The encore was Do You Close Your Eyes during which Blackmore did the best guitardestructo act I've ever seen. I mean he smashed into pieces like Jack the Ripper running amok in a brothel with a meat axe. As he did it, he keep looking up and shaking his hands in frustration at the sound. Then he'd go back to wrecking his guitar. That's the one good thing the P.A. was responsible for. It lent credibility and anger to Ritchie's guitar smashing routine.
Bassist Jimmy bain and keyboard player Tony Carey were solid, though relatively unspectacular. And the lights and the computer electronic Rainbow? Sure they were pretty and all, although not quite as spectacular as their pre-promotion suggested they'd be. But who wants to look at an electronic rainbow when Cozy's drumming, Ronnie's singing and Ritchie Blackmore is working his fingers over his guitar in a fashion that's half karma sutra and half karate.
Australian Newspaper, November 1976
Sydney Hordern Pavilion - November 16, 1976
NO FIRE... SO POP FANS GO BERSERK
SYDNEY: Pop fans brawled and smashed seats at the Hordern Pavilion last night - because visiting pop star Ritchie Blackmore couldn't get petrol to set fire to his guitar.
Blackmore, formerly leadguitarist with the top group Deep Purple, always ends his stage act by smashing his guitar. Last night Blackmore had planned to end his act by setting fire to his guitar, but was beaten by the oil strike. The fans rioted when Blackmore and his group ended their season and walked off the stage without returning for the guitar-smashing encore.
Blackmore and his group arrive in Adelaide tomorrow night. They are scheduled to give two near sell-out concerts at Festival Theatre Friday and Saturday nights. Last night crowd of 4,000 hooted, catcalled and began tearing out chairs and throwing them at the stage.
As brawls broke out all over the hall, the pavilion manager, Mr. Alf Fryer, moved among the crowd explaining that the pavilion management was not responsible for Blackmore's actions. The fans kept brawling, and Mr. Fryer was forced to call police, who dispersed the crowd. No arrest were made.
Mr. Fryer said today the riot was the ugliest he had seen at the Hordern Pavilion. "The crowd was really angry with Blackmore and I called the police because it looked as though someone was going to get badly hurt." he said. If Blackmore had explained that he was not coming back for an encore, everything would probably have been okay."
Australian Newspaper, November 1976
Adelaide Festival Theatre - November 18, 1976
So in 1975 Ritchie Blackmore has decided to part ways with Deep Purple, yes the same Ritchie that gave us the most recognizable and played guitar riff in rock history, Smoke on the Water!!!!
After leaving Purple, Ritchie teams up with the singer of ELF, Ronnie James Dio, a band that often supported DP. Both muso’s had a fascination for the medieval and mystic sounds, which when blended with Ritchie’s guitar playing and Ronnie’s hard rock vocals, created the sound that was, Rainbow.
The 1976 world tour was the result of two albums and one in the making, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Rainbow Rising and Long Live Rock n Roll. The line up I saw, was the Mark11 version, Ritchie, Ronnie, Cozy Powell on drums, Jimmy Bain on bass and Tony Carey on keyboards, and what a line up.
First the stage setup, a huge computerized rainbow spanning from one side to the other side of the stage, nearest to the front, stacks of Marshalls, Cozy’s huge double bass drum kit, Tony’s keyboards in a near full circle, album cover back drops.
The show ebbed and flowed amazingly from the seering Kill the King to the slower Catch the Rainbow, while occasionally being mesmerized by a Ritchie solo. Speaking of solo’s, Cozy unleashed such a drum solo, which when infused with the lighting effects, that to this day I have never seen replicated.
This was without doubt the best gig I had seen and stood at No.1 until 1988, when a legendary English band took the mantle.
Awesome, amazing, I’ll never forget this one. RIP Cozy Powell
Set List - 1976 November 18:
Over the Rainbow (Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz)
Kill the King
Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
Catch the Rainbow
Long Live Rock n Roll
Man on the Silver Mountain
Still I’m Sad
Do you Close your Eyes
Concert rating: 9.5 out of 10 near perfect.
Adelaide Festival Theatre - November 19, 1976
WANTED: For assault and battery - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, late of heavyweight Deep Purple, and his ear-shattering Anglo-American outfit took rock-'n-roll by the seat of pants and kicked it unmercifully around Festival Theatre for an hour and a half last night. All, however, to the audible delight of the capacity crowd.
It was an awesome, unforgettable experience. Aboard a stage crammed with 26 tonnes of speakers and equipment was a starting new device - an enormous are towering around and above the five-man band, and firing a frenzied tusion of cascading colored lights. And at one end of the rainbow stood 31-year-old, black-suited, pokerfaced Blackmore, unpretentiously, peeling off mesmerizing runs from his white guitar, which, contrary to speculation was neither broken nor burnt by the end of the show.
Blackmore, a veteran of 20 years playing and an unlikely admirer of German Baroque music, interweaves an enormous variety of styles into his outwardly heavy metal image. Among his best were "Stargazer" and "Man on the Silver Mountain".
Another surprise was rainbow's explosive drummer Cozy Powell, a non-stop powerhouse, underpinning every song with an unmistakable drive from his oversize drumkit. Powell, 29, a much-lauded drummer and sometime racing driver, smashes the senses with a mind-boggling drum solo that hits a thumping crescendo as he spars with a taped orchestra through the fiery closing stages of the "1812 Overture".
Unhappily, at the end of the Rainbow there was no encore, just the strains of Judy Garland accompanied by the boos of some understandably disappointed patrons.
Ian Moikle, Australian Newspaper, November 1976
Adelaide Festival Theatre - November 20, 1976
Having arrived from England on the 19th Nov, both the Rainbow concerts within reach were sold out. Luckily though they decided to include an extra afternoon concert starting at 5pm, and I was able to get to this. The support group, Buffalo, were yer average chord bashing bunch, and got half an hour, Then came Judy Garland and "The Boys". As it was an extra concert, they weren't exactly leaping about or delivering manic solo's, as they had the 8pm show to think about.
This didn't detract from the performance though, great stuff! My only gripe was that Ritchie was mixed down too far, especially during Stargazer which was one of the high spots. The set was basically the same as the UK tour, but no encore. During Carey's solo intro to the number a broomstick appeared and started poking Carey in the back and other places!, he carried on but kept one eye on the culprits..... lurking in the shadows were Dio and Blackmore!
When Dio came out to sing he brought the broom with him and lent on it, finally riding off on it while Ritchie went into his solo. This type of looning was evident throughout the gig. There couldn't have been more than 200 people there, of whom only half a dozen had any idea what was going on. They didn't even recognize the Lazy bit!
Silver Mountain was dedicated to half the audience, "Bob Adcocks family", and Dio changed the lyrics about so that it was "lift my rubbish higher", causing Ritchie to grin. Ritchie got the press going with stories of a grand guitar burning climax which never happened. In fact he didn't wreck a thing in three gigs in Adelaide, maybe because strats are 825 dollars retail here!
Australian Tour 1976
In November '76, BUFFALO supported RAINBOW on their Australian tour, although due to financial constraints, BUFFALO did not support them on the Perth or Adelaide gigs. Dates BUFFALO played:
MELBOURNE, Festival Hall, Tuesday 9th November
SYDNEY, Hordern Pavilion, Thursday 11th November
NEWCASTLE, Civic Theatre, Friday 12th November
BRISBANE, Festival Hall, Saturday 13th November
SYDNEY, Hordern Pavilion, Tuesday 16th November
Just prior to the tour, the band had decided to call it a day, so the boys wanted to make it a memorable one. And one it was, the tour wasn't easy. Grahame 'Yogi' Harrison recalls that while RAINBOW and their crew flew everywhere, the BUFFALO 'herd' were relegated to driving between each gig, even doing over-nighters all the way with virtually no sleep. Still they had fun & played some great shows.
The major highlight was the last show in Sydney where disgruntled "Rainbow" fans trashed several rows of the Hordern Pavilion seating after Ritchie Blackmore refused to return for an encore. Blackmore's reputation as a difficult musician was well-known and his temper tantrums were as legendary as his playing. At the Hordern, Blackmore had a small, private dressing room directly next to the room occupied by BUFALLO.
While BUFFALO were in party-mode, Blackmore was decidedly upset. He launched a telephone book over the wall separating the two rooms and it hit Yogi on the shoulder. The irate roadie pounded on the next room's door which was opened by a surprisingly timid Blackmore. After getting his ears pinned back by a volley of abuse from Yogi, Blackmore meekly apologised and closed the door. It was only some time later that Yogi realised that he had abused one of the world's most legendary guitarists and had gotten away with it!
Eagle, The Buffalo Story