SCANDAL FOR RITCHIE
As a rock-star with two faces guitarist Ritchie Blackmore emerged: In Munich he offered a sensational super concert. In Vienna however he had specified himself before as intemperate rascal. He even landed in jail. BRAVO describes his escapades....
20.45 O'Clock in the Munich Olympia halle. The American band "Kingfish" starts with substantial delay. They are the warm-up band for Rainbow, and now they must help to avoid riots. "Time stretching" is the motto. The fans do not suspect that the star of the evening, Ritchie Blackmore, is still somewhere at this time on the motorway and races toward Munich.
Only against 22 o'clock they will begin to get impatiently and start to whistle. "I must go home, otherwise there is trouble, and I may never again to a concert", means the 16 years old Gabi. Then finally the organizer decides to come up with the truth. "Ritchie Blackmore was arrested in Vienna, however he already is on the way to Munich. We do not know however when he arrives. Who want to go home can get the admission fee back."
At 28.26 O'Clock is it finally so far: With loud brakes a Mercedes holds before the stagedoor. Ritchie jumps out, on his face a two-day beard, his hair greasily, unwashed and with together-pinched lips he goes to the dressingroom. For tuning the guitars it takes him a half hour time. He does not consider the hasty brought in warm meal. With empty stomach he rises around midnight to the stage, thus ends exactly a 48-hours-adventure of police stations, prisons, by night and fog...
The adventure began two days before with a kick in the Vienna Town Hall. "The fans were so excited and wanted to come closer to the stage, but the security did not permit it. I shouted at them, told them they should disappear - however it interested them not."
Then Ritchie revved up: His feet left the stage, to the security. One got it on the head - exactly the head of security. Doctors examined him and concluded a broken jaw and cheeckbone after detailed investigation of the man. He immediately gave a declaration because of bodily injury. When Ritchie Blackmore wanted to leave the stage after the concert, policemen with dogs were waiting for him. But the star had disappeared suddenly. His roadie Gerald Oxford had let him slip into an instrument container, in order to prevent the arrest.
Everywhere the police looked for Ritchie. All doors were locked, dogs were rushed on his trace. Meanwhile Gerald rolled the container to the door. A German shepherd dog smelled the "roast" nevertheless there and gave by loud barking to understand that something suspicious was in the container. The Roadie boxed himself a way outside freely. But when Ritchie wanted to jump out of the container in the waiting taxi, he was arrested by the police. The roadie and Ritchie had to go in Vienna remand...
The for the next day concert planned in Munich had to be shifted. Fortunately a day off had been taken into account. Manager Bruce Payne flew with a suit-case full of money to Vienna, in order to get Ritchie released. The detention judge set the bail on approx 35,000 Marks.
At 17 o'clock Ritchie was allowed to leave the prison. In full speed he went to the airport, but the last machine to Munich did not fly anymore - the fog was too thick. "At something like 19 o'clock we got finally a hired car, and we drove away", tells Ritchie. It became a risky hunt in the fog.
About 1000 fans were at this time still in Olympia halle, and their perseverance made itself paid: Never before was the just out of jail escaped Ritchie Blackmore so good. Nearly two hours played he his Heavy Rock songs like "Man on the Silver Mountain" with much power as now. But he also showed more from his gentle side with songs like "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves". He surprised with musical gags, when he brought classical improvisations of Bach.
With the old Yardbirds hit "Still I'm Sad" he came to the high point and end of the concert. Over 20 minutes he pulled the song into the length, played thereby parts from the fourth sentence of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and the German National hymne as Heavy Rock. Drummer Cozy Powell supplied thereby with Tschaikowsky's "Overture Solonelle 1812" a solo, which took the stage under him hydraulically six meters high. In the end light bombs made of magnesium exploded.
The inspired fans wanted an encore. Ritchie gave it, destroyed thereby his guitar, threw the remainders in the public. He only does that, when he's satisfied with the concert. This appearance after midnight was noted actually as one of the great moments of Rock'n'roll - and filmed by the television with four cameras. In January the Rainbow-show will be aired by the third channel of the German television. For Ritchie Blackmore however the Vienna scandal is not yet completely over. At the beginning of December he must appear in court in Austria.
K.E. Siegfried, Bravo 1977 [translated from German]
Photos by Didi Zill