US Tour 1981
Peppermint Beach Club, Virginia Beach, USA - February 20, 1981
Rainbow Struts Its Loud Colors
Heavy-metal rock stars, it seems, never go away. They just keep regrouping their bands. The Tidewater area has seen this principle in action several times in the past few months. John Kay passed through with his revamped Steppenwolf, Kim Simmonds dropped by with yet another version of Savoy Brown, and this past weekend, Ritchie Blackmore and the latest incarnation of Rainbow hit the Peppermint Beach Club.
All these bands are riding the crest of a renewed interest in heavy-metal music,. and Blackmore is certainly one of the founding fathers of the genre. An original member of Deep Purple, one of the world's most well-known heavy-metal hands. Blackmore left that group in 1975 to form Rainbow. Although the band has had at least six different lineups in as many years, Blackmore's fierce guitar work and his exacting choice of musicians have kept Rainbow near the top of the heavy-metal heap.
Rainbow's current configuration is an interesting reflection of Blackmore's temperment. Bassist Roger Glover, also the group's producer, was kicked out of Deep Purple in 1973 at Blackmore's request. Blackmore picked up new drummer Bob Rondinelli off the Long Island club circuit, and new vocalist Joe Lynn Turner comes from a similar background. Keyboard player Don Airey comes from stints with Colosseum II and Cozy Powell's Hammer; Powell was Rainbow's drummer before Rondinelli took over.
Deep Purple has been called the loudest band in rock'n'roll history. If Rainbow hasn't taken over that title yet, it is certainly working on it. The band's set at the Peppermint' Beach Club was earsplitting, roof-shaking loud and that was before the sound was turned up. The capacity crowd didn't seem to mind the volume a bit, though. Rainbow has a hard-core following in this area, and the fans who turned out for the show were ready to rock and roll.
And rock and roll they did, from the opening strains of "Spotlight Kid" to the encore of "Long Live Rock and Roll." Rainbow's energy level never tapered off, despite the hardest-driving set to grace a Tidewater stage in some time. Rainbow's sound is seering heavy-metal, surprisingly fused with some almost classical keyboard elements. The group is given to extended solos during its songs, some of which last up to 10 minutes. But while many groups turn their lengthy solos into excessive indulgence. Rainbow's remain interesting.
The group played two cuts from its new album. "Spotlight Kid" and "I Surrender," tunes characterized by Blackmore's frenetic guitar work. There were songs to highlight each member's abilities: Airey's keyboard work on "Catch the Rainbow." Glover's bass on "Love's No Friend", and drummer Rondinelli's high-powered beat on "Can't Happen Here." Rainbow has a little fun with its music too, pulling in chords from "Yan- kee Doodle Dandy" and "Beethoven's Ninth."
With an encore of "Long Live Rock and Roll/Fire," Rainbow left many in the audience convinced that rock really will live forever. The show was opened by Bruce Olson and the Offenders, an unfortunate group that didn't really have its act together for the show. Its innocuous rock set, which included some incredibly lame covers of Rolling Stones tunes, received a mixed reception at best. The group has potential, but needs a bit more polish.
Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia) - February 23, 1981
Peppermint Beach Club, Virginia Beach, USA - February 20, 1981
Rainbow did a warm up show in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at a place called Peppermint Beach Club right on the strip in Virginia Beach. I was there with several other friends from school. First show with JLT I believe.
I have spoken with Joe about it in the past. He remembered it quite clearly. The place was a dump. It was just a small club on the beach. The ceiling was only about four feet above the guys' heads. Ritchie put the headstock of his Strat through the ceiling towards the end.
J.B. Scotts, Albany, USA - February 25, 1981
Passing Through With Flying Colours
It has been a long and indeed strange trip for guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his band Rainbow. Six years and five albums after their birth in '75, Rainbow appeared at J.B. Scotts, with the intensity and vitality of a bucking bronco, affirming themselves as one of the hottest band alive.
Blackmore, who first gained recognition as the lead guitarist of the rock powerhouse, Deep Purple, proved to the sold-out crowd that Rainbow is for real. Blackmore first got the idea to form this band after the release of the Purple's last album Stormbringer. Risking his reputation and his financial security (Deep Purple was still one of the biggest bands around), Blackmore decided it was time to try something new. He met a relatively unknown singer, Ronnie James Dio, enlisted the support of his producer friend Martin Birch, and with Gary Driscoll, Craig Gruber, and Mickey Lee Soule, they combined their colours to form the first album, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.
Though the first album received good reviews, Ritchie was still unsatisfied, and so decided another album would be in order. With a new drummer, Cozy Powell (famous for his resemblance to Jeff Beck), bassist Jimmy Bain, and keyboardist Tony Carey, the re-grouped Rainbow began once again.
Releasing their second album, Rising, and a third live album, On Stage, it seemed only a matter of time before the band would conquer. But as the music business is so uncertain and volatile, the Rainbow never achieved the super stardom many had predicted.
When Powell and Dio (now singing with Black Sabbath) left the band, many suspected Rainbow to be formally defunct. Impetuous Ritchie, however, didn't quit, and with keyboardist Don Airey, bassist Roger Glover, drummer Rod Rondinelli, and singer John Lynn Turner, the new Rainbow released perhaps their best album to date, Difficult to Cure. It was with the title track of this album that Rainbow opened the show.
Storming on stage while the loudspeakers sweetly sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from the Wizard of Oz, the crowd was verging upon hysteria as Blackmore, customarily draped in black shirt and pants, riffed off lightning leads on his ancient Stratocaster. He vaulted himself so energetically and collapsed to his knees with such agility that you might have thought him to be practicing gymnast rather than the rock guitarist, survivor of the sixties and seventies that he is.
Their songs that night spanned the entire spectrum of Rainbow's history, from "Catch the Rainbow," a song from the first album in which Blackmore mimed the more complex patterns of some classical music, to the most recent, "I Surrender," and "Midtown Tunnel Vision." And a stunning version of "Man on the Silver Mountain," which might tell us more about the true Ritchie Blackmore than any of his other titles or lyrics.
Though some nostalgic fans may have been disappointed that Rainbow didn't play more of the older material, a long time follower would have sensed the evolution the thread which survives to the present thriving on the glorious past. And the past was gloriously brought to life during the encore, with the Deep Purple classic, "Lazy" preceding the grand finale, "Long Live Rock and Roll," a most appropriate way to end the evening with a bang.
Rainbow has come a long way, and unlike most bands, has had the strength to stay on top. We can only hope that they will return soon, that we may praise the last vestiges of and pray for, the Long Live Rock and Roll.
Albany Student Press - March 3rd, 1981
Coliseum Concert Bowl, Vancouver, Canada - March 16, 1981
Rainbow outshines headliner Travers
It wasn't billed that way, but Monday night at the Coliseum Concert Bowl, supporting act Rainbow was miles above headliner Pat Travers. Travers can easily match - and, in terms of imagination, exceed - the musical talents of Rainbow's featured player, ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. And the other two members of the band (bassist Mars Cowling and the new drummer Sandy Gennaro) are both fine players, particularly Cowling, who really ties the sound together.
Bit Travers' show lacks a strong focal point, and the band projects almost no stage presence. Everyone seems to be working so hard that they forget to show the audience that they're enjoying what they're doing. And the next to Rainbow's overpowering presentation, the trio, playing on an bare stage in front of a plain black curtain, look like three amateurs cranking it out in some suburban basement.
The songs, although performed well, are not particularly varied in style - and are often played without a break in between - which makes the visual side of the show even more important. Travers needs a little flash to keep audience interest high. As it is now, the songs all blend into one another, there's nothing much to watch, and it becomes rather dull after about the third number.
And the other end of the flash scale, Rainbow opened their set with an orchestral Pomp and Circumstance blasting from the mighty banks of speakers, as a curtain rolled back to reveal a backdrop of a huge fist clutching a rainbow.
The band was probably one of the loudest ever heard at the Coliseum - at one point, even the booths in the washrooms were rattling - but the sound mix could have been improved. Vocalist Joe Lynn Turner bellowed his best, but was frequently buried under the howl of Blackmore's guitar and Roger Glover's thundering bass; and the only way to tell when Glover and keyboardist Don Airey were singing backup vocals was to check if their mouths were moving.
The band's set featured several numbers from their latest album, Difficult to Cure (appropriately, the stage crew were dressed in green surgeons' gowns); I Surrender was made particularly outstanding by Airey's harpsichord introduction.
Opening the show were Headpins, a popular club act featuring two members of Chilliwack, guitarist Brian McLeod and bassist Ab Bryant. Considering that the band is used to performing in small spaces, they adapted extremely well to the Coliseum. Vocalist Darby Mills did an especially good job warming up the audience; she has an impressive, throaty voice, although she still needs to develop an individual style.
The Vancouver Sun - March 1981
Seattle Arena, Seattle WA, USA - March 18, 1981
They opened for Pat Travers and Ritchie was pissed off at the sound tech because the sound for the first two numbers was horrible, and he was screaming at someone stage-left to fix the problem and kept glaring at him throughout the show.
This inspired Ritchie to really play well and the band responded with a cracking show. Too bad it was short because the punters were there for Rainbow and not Pat Travers.
Joseph St. Laurent
Cow Palace, Daly City (suburb of San Francisco) CA, USA - March 21, 1981
The Cow Palace is living up to its name on this Saturday night. About 15,000 grungy teens have been herded into the cavernous, barn-shaped arena, many crowded together on the huge chairless floor. The acoustics are so horrible that none of the three bands on the bill bothered with a sound check, and the speaker banks generate an undifferentiated, earsplitting roar.
Yes, this is archetypal heavy metal, with all the requisite archetypal heavy metal, with all the requisite rituals: Rainbow's Ritchie Blackmore climaxes the group's set by trashing his guitar and heaving the pieces into the crowd, and an hour later, in the middle of headliner Pat Travers' show, a sharp resounding SLAM conies from the middle of the floor.
Travers isn't amused. "What do you think this is, 1971?" he spits into the microphone. "Firecrackers. Big deal. Get with the times."
Fort Lauderdale News - May 7, 1981
Cow Palace, Daly City / San Francisco CA, USA - March 21, 1981
Pat Travers rocks Cow Palace during marathon concert
Rocker Pat Travers lifted a capacity crowd out of their boots with virtuoso hard-driving guitar playing at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, Saturday night. Travers, the lead act in a three-band concert, masterfully rocked the crowd for about an hour during a four-hour marathon concert plagued by gaps between bands and equipment problems. The delays didn't seem to bother Travers, as he energetically scampered around the stage displaying the elasticity of a rubber band. Travers and his two-man band offered surprising variety in arrangments and styles, unhampered by their no frills approach to music. The end result was a crisp, clean studio sound always led by Travers' throaty, electrifying voice.
"Gettin' Better" and "My Life is On the Line" sent the crowd surging forward toward the stage through the smoke-filled haze. Travers said little to the crowd, other than berating them for setting off fire-crackers and squeezing to close to the stage. "I Don't Want to Be Awake," a song about the morning after, featured Travers' gravelly voice and an extended drum solo in which the drummer senselessly pitched drum-sticks into the audience.
"Boom, Boom Out Go the Lights," worked the audience to fever-pitch as they yelled the words to the song and threw clothes onstage. Called back by the audience, Travers satisfied the crowd with the rousing "Snorting Whiskey and Drinking Cocaine" before sending them home with ringing ears. The first opening act for Travers, "4 out of 5 Doctors" was roundly and deservedly booed by an irate audience. The five-man band featured heavy-metal guitar playing by three emaciated men. A majority of the crowd flipped off the band for their dull-sounding unintelligible vocals. The only applause the band received was when they left the stage.
"Rainbow," the second band on the bill, offered a superb light-show at half-strength because of equipment failure. Their "Journey"-like style of play earned them an encore with the crowd and they reappeared in a cloud of dry-ice smoke. In another doubtful display of showmanship, the lead guitarist shattered his instrument against a mammoth speaker while the drummer bounced drumsticks off cymbals and into the crowd.
Unfortunately, the response of the crowd showed that there is still an audience which welcomes that kind of senseless, self-indulgent act. But without the displays of childishness by both performers and the audience, Travers and "Rainbow" proved there is still a market for the last bastion of rock n' roll a three to five-piece band with gutsy vocalists and guitarists.
Spartan Daily - March 25, 1981
Cow Palace, Daly City / San Francisco CA, USA - March 21, 1981
Fan letter: Stick to Styx not Pat Travers
Editor: I was happy to see the music section in the March 25 paper, and enjoyed most of it. It was one of the best features of the Spartan Daily in a while. However, one thing really disappointed me that I can't let go by without commenting on Cyndee Fonthna's article on the Pat Travers Concert. She obviously didn't know enough about the groups to write an article. She did all right on Travers and four of five doctors, but she showed an ignorance about Rainbow that I just can't at still for.
In her sentence, "In another doubtful display of showmanship, the lead guitarist shattered his instrument against a mammoth speaker while the drummer bounced drumsticks off cymbals and into the crowd. As for the "doubtful display of showmanship," it is a tradition that was started by Mr. Blackmore when Ms. Fontana was probably playing with Barbie Dolls, and is still carried out today because the crowds still love it.
She referred to one of the world's all-time best guitarists, who was the lead guitarist for the greatest each band ever, Deep Purple, as the "lead guitarist." Ritchie Blackmore is a legend in his own time, and is the man who formed Rainbow after leaving Deep Purple, not just "the lead guitarist" of Rainbow. The rest of the section was well done, and I look forward to more of the same. I just hope the writers know who and what they're writing about. As for Ms. Fontana, I think she better stick to writing about such boring, mainstream groups as Styx.
Tim Scoles, Aeronautics freshman
Spartan Daily - March 31, 1981
The Forum, Inglewood CA, USA - March 22, 1981
On this night, Rainbow opened for Pat Travers. Coulda been called the substitutes tour No Dio. No Bonnet. No Thrall. No Aldridge. But it was a Sunday night and the Forum was always a fun time.
The place certainly did Boom Boom. But Rainbow had already put out the lights.
The Forum, Inglewood CA, USA - March 22, 1981
At The End of this Rainbow Lies a Pot of Earplugs
There is a reward at the end of the rainbow after all at least there was one at the Rainbow concert Sunday night at the Inglewood Forum. At the end of the tedious, four-hour affair, we got to go home. When Rainbow, the last of the evening's three attractions, took the stage, it was hard to tell whether the Forum was hosting 12,600 people for a concert or a perverse hearing test.
The sound was so loud the guy in front of me stuffed cotton in his ears, pressed his fingers against the cotton to further block out the shrieking guitar notes, and he still grimaced. With that many watts employed at the Forum, no doubt half the lights in Inglewood dimmed white Rainbow was on stage. All that volume gave the heavy metal quartet an initial potency, but it didn't cloak for long the limitations of the band's material or the cliched elements in its presentation. It takes more than just power to make a rock band interesting.
Sunday's concert did offer a kernel of drama: Would upstart guitar hero Pat Travers upstage Rainbow's veteran guitar hero Ritchie Blackmore?
I know that's not an issue that will knock El Salvador off the front page, but it did seem to be a big deal to a lot of the young, mostly male crowd that is captivated by the evening's slam-and-bang style of rock. Not much interested in 4 Out of 5 Doctors (the Washington. D.C. pop-rock band that opened the show), a fan near me outlined his position: "I came to see Travers. I think Blackmore's kinds going downhill."
Protested an eavesdropper who also appeared unmoved by the relatively tame Doctors, "No way. Blackmore is king."
"Yeah," nodded his friend. "Blackmore was in Deep Purple, ya know."
With battle lines drawn, the audience seemed impatient for the gladiators to step forth. For the casual observer, however, even the showdown between the guitarists was defused by the numbing routineness of Travers' trio and Blackrnore's Rainbow. Both are '60s-model bands which are attempting to update their styles to the '70s.
Travers is a Canadian who was heavily influenced by the '60s blues-rock explorations of guitarists like Eric Clapton and, expecially, the late Jimi Hendrix. Breaking into the Top 20 here last year with his "Crash and Burn" album, Travers has been moving slowly to the more melodic and mellow style of rock that has been dominant commercially in this country since the mid-'70s.
That doesn't mean he no longer rocks. With throbbing bass support from longtime sidekick Mars Cowling, Travers played hard, steady guitar. But his performance was flat. Against the self-indulgence of most high-energy guitarists, Travers' plainness on stage was once refreshing. On Sunday, it was simply dull, His voice is quite ordinary and his writing is undistinguished. Except for the winning tension in the music when Travers moved to keyboards for "Crash and Burn," the set lumbered along, tightly performed but as uneventful as Travers' manner. The only spark of celebration came in the encore when the trio unleased its wonderfully playful rendition of the old "Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)."
Blackmore, who founded Rainbow in 1975 after seven years with heavy-metal pioneers Deep Purple, has also been moving in a more pop-ish direction. But the Forum show was pure fire-and-fall-back bombast, complete with (alas) smoke billowing across the stage at the start. Everything else about Rainbow was equally cliched. Lead singer Joe Lynn Turner, the latest addition to the band's frequently changing lineup, pranced around the stage aimlessly, exhorting the audience to have a good time, and sang in the shrill, melodramatic fashion of such bands. The rest of the quintet worked equally hard, but the whole Rainbow story, unless you consider the band's electrician, is Blackmore.
Blackmore's guitar playing was a virtual textbook in dynamics, giving color and range to Rainbow's mostly pedestrian compositions. Coming after Travers, he was an exciting jolt of rock vitality, even if he was probably replaying licks that have become a too familiar gameplan for him over the years. Audience response was far stronger to Rainbow than to Travers. After a third of the hour-plus set, however, even Blackmore's power couldn't hold the imagination of anyone but the already committed. Reflecting little of the adventure or boldness of '80s rock strains, the music eventually settled into a wearisome pattern. Reruns never are very exciting. Blackmore and Travers continue their battle of the guitarists Wednesday at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino. Bring earplugs.
The Los Angeles Times - March 24, 1981
Sports Arena, San Diego CA, USA - March 23, 1981
Travers, Blackmore fail to produce
A near-capacity crowd filled the San Diego Sports Arena last Monday in search of the heavy-metal Promised Land, only to discover that modern Moses Pat Travers and his false prophet cronie Ritchie Blackmore had led them not to Israel, but rather to a rock and roll demilitarized zone.
Indeed, Deep Purple refugee Blackmore, a weary veteran of numerous personnel changes in his band Rainbow, would appear to have lost the enthusiasm he once exuded during live performances. Rainbow's latest release, Difficult to Cure, was a disappointing and fairly calculated entry into the heavy-metal maelstrom of records, taking no chances with dabbling into creative or imaginative composition, his guitar pyrotechnics reduced to a smouldering ember.
Despite his uninspiring material Blackmore did something he has been wont to do in concert he played the guitar with his hands and mind instead of with his feet. During a guitar solo segment Blackmore displayed glimpses of his studio performing ability, once critically acclaimed by heavy metal taste-mongers and neophyte plug-in-the-Marshall-and-floor-the-tunes guitarists. He effectively egued between the classically inspired ditty "Greensleeves," a jazz-blues series of glissendos replete with haunting echo as sweet and as pure as Robben Ford, and with staccato runs sweeping the range of the fretboard and promptly launched back into a horrendously dull set.
Pat Travers, who headlined the show, fared little better but provided a slightly more up-tempo uplift which the audience, stultified by a lackluster Rainbow set, appeared to appreciate. He cranked out all the hits, including the popular audience-participation number, "Boom Boom - Out Go the Lights," which drew the expected response from the adrenalin-rushed mob.
There is a moral to the Travers approach to rock and roll: No matter how intense the decibel level of Johnny B. Goode, it's still Johnny B. Goode, I IV V, and not the 1812 Overture. There comes a point when excruciating sound levels cease to enhance the raw and powerful motif that hard rock is, but instead dulls the mind more than the music being broadcast.
Opening the show were 4 Out of 5 Doctors, Epic's latest entry into the power pop market. Their 'wall of sound' assault seemed incongruous with the sweet harmony vocals issued forth from the cleanest-cut bunch of fellas ever to simulate stage props before an arena-sized crowd.
An idiosyncrasy of power pop is the anachronistic placement of 60s melodies into the hard rock vehicle for eventual collision with the tympanic membrane of the confused listener. Doctors are no exception. They are tight, polished, place no inordinate emphasis on either vocals or instrumentals, do very little improvisation and project neither selfconfidence nor enthusiasm.
This is typical of novices in the business who are unable to conquer what might legitimately he attributed to intimidation by an enamoured throng of adulating star-gazers. Fortunately, the inability of most hard rock affecionadoes to exercise an attention span beyond the next bass drum beat, coupled with the trash can reverberance of most concert halls, negates any legitimate excuse for stage fright.
Doctors' lack of showmanship is clearly their major impediment to becoming a concert attraction. Despite their patent stylistic derivation and apparent lack of musical expertise, they could, as could most any entry into the music scene, draw consistently if the perfected their stage theatrics. Christ ...Kiss did it.
The Guardian - March 30, 1981
Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix AZ, USA - March 24, 1981
Travers leads bill of power-play rock
With the departure of guitarist Pat Thrall, Pat Travers is his band's undisputed lead instrumentalist. But there was no clear sign at the Coliseum that the responsibility was a strain. Travers played decorative guitar breaks with relaxed proficiency. In fact, there seemed to be little enough exertion in his entire performance as singer/guitarist and, occasionally, keyboardist.
Now a trio, the Travers band retains a full, powerful sound, with Travers' leadership solidly anchored by "Mars" Cowling's bass and the drums of new member Sandy Gennaro. On a loud evening, Travers and company did their part in keeping up the volume. Inevitably, the clarity suffered. But that was hardly the point. The audience responded to the power.
Apart from material from the new album, Radio Active, Travers included the keyboard-accompanied title song from the album Crash and Burn. Climax of the set was Boom, Boom, Out Go the Lights, which actually was the signal for the house lights to come on and spots to pan across the audience. That was followed by Snortin' Whiskey for the encore. Neither the band nor the crowd had gotten carried away by the set, but both seemed satisfied.
Making its debut in Phoenix in its first national tour of any length, Rainbow worked hard and was rewarded by an enthusiastic response. Rainbow is nominally led by ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, but its forceful dynamics focused most of the time on new lead singer Joe Lynn Turner. Blackmore stayed in the background at first, coming forward for occasional breaks and eventually for the extended instrumental he shared with keyboardist Don Airey on their version of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Finally, in a destructive but calculated move, Blackmore smashed up a Japanese imitation of a Stratocaster. The instrument gave out in a spasm of feedback, and, in time-honored fashion, the pieces were fed to the front row.
4 Out of 5 Doctors, who opened the show, looked more like 1 Out of 5 Doctors on this particular night. Their set was colorless, possibly too light for a heavy rock bill, and the audience reacted coolly.
Arizona Republic - March 25, 1981
San Bernadino CA, USA - March 25, 1981
HM PARADISE exists, and you'll find it 65 miles south of Los Angeles. San Bernadino Swing Auditorium is positively swimming with sweaty beer- bellies in distended Sabs and Outlaws T-shirts,' long hair, cowboy hats, sweat, more sweat and whisky. There's so much 100 % pure alcohol in the air that you're scared to light a match.
But these brave HM pioneers flick their lighters and turn into general arsonists anyway as soon as Pat Travers prances on in a T-shirt and short trendy - gaspo - New Wave hairdo, looking cute enough for the Romantics but obviously tough enough for these cowboys who gargle Jack Daniels and whoop like a children's throat hospital.
It's loud, Make that LOUD !!! I thought my ears were bleeding till I saw the wino next to me who'd spilt his drink on my head. It's a gradual work-up from kind on the ears melodies to all-out battle-of-the-guitar-heroes attack, like 'My Life Is On the Line' from the new piece of plastic, or slow blooze stuff with gentle drift-away teased guitar solos that build up into some grand melodramatic crescendo of brain-singeing axemanship. And then down to business with 'Crash And Burn'. Then it's "official party time", announces Pat, and we get the exuberant singalong chunks of good old rock, 'Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights)', and they comeback for more with 'Snortin' Whisky', which to this bunch is much like what the National Anthem is to the Queen Mum.
A cloud of smoke blankets the stage as Rainbow come on to some appropriately pompous and inspiring music, 'Land Of Hope And Glory", looking from a distance like a bunch of heavy smokers on a binge, and singing a few notes of 'Somewhere Over The ...' before getting their teeth into 'Spotlight Kid'.
This has got to be the outfit that inspires a Rainbow Is A Group slogan. From what I can gather they've only been at it for a couple of months and already they're tighter than two clans of Scotsmen and burn better than Joan of Arc. Ritchie may have group changes like certain other rock guitarists have bloodchanges, and though they might do nothing for his complexion, this time they do a hell of a lot for his music. Other than those odd moments of detachedness you've come to expect from him, where he seems to stand back and admire/scoff at his own musicianship before you get the silent what-the-fuck-let's-get-on-with-it brilliance, he's playing like he's enjoying it. Bob Rondinelli ingratiates himself early on by tossing off dozens of drumsticks like Rick Nielsen's plectrums, and Joe Lynn Turner - well they'd have to model an HM doll on this guy 'cause he looks like he came out of the womb in hairspray and leather waistcoat. But his voice goes far beyond the scream range. It goes from sensitive to all out belt in seconds and holds up longer than a living bra. He brandishes the mike above his head, smashes the air, tosses his body and his barnet with the suitably anguished look of all self-respecting HM frontmen and complements Ritchie's playing perfectly. Though I had a softspot for departed Graham Bonnet, Joe and co makeup a tight, hot, cohesive arena rock band.
Some brand new songs from the brand new album; 'I Surrender' is about the poppiest slice all evening, but live it's got more guts than a slaughterhouse. Blackmore's a master on the axe, makes it look soooo easy. 'Can't Happen Here' sees Turner prancing and scampering about the stage to conduct the clapalongs. Then a slow crypt-like sound from Blackmore's guitar, soft and classical, creeping up into your beaten brain-cells, the soothing sound of 'Greensleeves', an overpowering solo soaring from low rumblings to grandiose roar, a whole bloody orchestra by himself, settling finally into a slow blues that Turner ably takes over, ending with a solo that would turn the strongest mind into molten globs of brain.
Someone jumps the stage and is carted off smiling beatifically into the wings. And back up with a fast one, classic headbanger, before we get another quasi-classical cosmic keyboards solo, Close Encounters meets Music Hall with a dash of church organ chucked in, and the classical track from the new album that sounds like Beethoven's Ninth to me, with a rave-up inbetween.
And then there's the drum solo. I suppose the drummer's been behaving himself all this time so he deserves something more than mere stick-chucking. For someone who's only ever liked Cozy's '1812' drum solo, upstaging the cannons, it all sounded very long and loud and better in the lobby (of the arena down the road). Still there was time to do your weekend shopping and come back and still catch the end of the solo, with Bob running out of sticks and using his fists before getting it back to normal by banging a bloody great gong.
Spotlights on the audience for 'Long Live Rock', a mass acapella singalong, fine anthem, and after a long wait and the lights have been on, back they come for some heavy metal that sounds like the world's falling apart, Ritchie's fingers skimming over the frets, sawing it against the speakers, holding it out, teasing us with a "shall I?" look then bashing shit out of the thing, grinding it into the woodwork and throwing the bones to the crowd.
And still more (this cost them - union rules about going over time), this time an even stronger rendition of 'Long Live Rock', arms pointing all over the place. Good band, good show, good God where's my hearing? This ain't no pop band. If they keep this up, Rainbow will napalm the lot of you by the time they reach UK.
Sounds - 1981
Fair Park Coliseum, Beaumont TX, USA - April 4, 1981
My first concert.... Pat Travers Band, Rainbow, and Lightning (which I don't remember, lol).
Excellent show, except that Blackmore's guitar strings broke two or three times, and he was extremely pissed. Saw it early 1981, Fairpark Coliseum, Beaumont TX.
The Gear Page
Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis MO, USA - April 10, 1981
It was hardly a No-Nukes concert. The program Friday night at Kiel Auditorium was billed by a radio station as a "spring meltdown" featuring rock bands Krokus, the Pat Travers Band and Rainbow. Some of the best material of the night came from Travers' latest album, "Radio Active." Fission as fashion. Pat Travers, the second of the bands to appear, started their set rather shakily as electronic feedback shrieked through the sound system rock during the opening songs. By the third song, "Get-tin' Betta," the electronics had been sorted out. Lead guitarist Pat Travers then asserted himself and demonstrated why he generally is regarded as one of the most technically masterful guitarists currently performing. Travers is a slight young man whose once long hair has been trimmed to an early-Beatles length. He wore fluorescent green pants and a shirt splotched with blue, orange, red, white, and green a casual Easter outfit.
Travers' manner on stage is as casual as his dress. He saunters about, confident of his extensive talents. In "My Life Is On The Line," and "New Age Music," songs from the new album his playing ranged from the lyrical to the to the maniacal. While Travers pursued solo after solo, bassist Mars Cowling and drummer Sandy Gennaro dutifully kept time. Whatever the relative merits of Cowling and Gennaro, their contributions to the music of the Pat Travers Band are ancillary to those of Travers. Only at the end of the set,' on their version of Little Walter's "Boom-Boom, Out Go the Lights," did the trio really jell as a band. The song galvanized the crowd, which roared its recognition of a radio favourite. Whereas the previous songs tended to amaze the listeners rather 'than stir them,. "Boom-Boom," and the encores had them dancing.
Many in the audience of 8,100 did not come to Kiel to hear Travers on guitar; they came to hear Richie Blackmore, the former Deep Purple star who now plays with Rainbow. Although Blackmore still can play skillfully, his Rainbow is rather pale. Rainbow bassist Roger Glover also a Deep Purple alum came on stage wearing a cowboy hat, a black leather vest, and spandex pants. This sartorial confusion is symbolic of the disjointed nature of much of Rainbow's music; The band crudely mixes movie soundtrack recordings, drum solos , synthesizer noodling, bombastic guitar solos and melodramatic vocals. When Rainbow finished its set and then returned to the stage for the obligatory encore, a cloud of dry ice fog enveloped Blackmore. As the first notes of his Deep Purple classic, "Smoke on the Water" sounded, the I crowd rushed the stage, ecstatic!
St. Louis Post - April 12, 1981
Palmer College Alumni Auditorium, Davenport IA, USA - April 21, 1981
Steamy crowd wasn't moved
In many ways, it was a long night of rock in the steamy, hazy Palmer Auditorium this week three bands, a show that began at 7:30 and didn't end until midnight, and temperatures that at times were almost unbearable. Regardless of whether it was the heat that wilted much of the crowd's enthusiasm or just the paucity of impressive music, the moments inspiring the nearly full house to go crazy were few and far between.
The fans were responsive enough at songs' ends and when coaxed into it, but those magic times when the music sparks spontaneous, sustained frenzy hardly existed. At times, you could have thought you were at the symphony. In the end, it was the gimmicks, not the music, that gabbed the spotlight.
Swiss Crunch rockers Krokus opened with a tough six-song, 30-minute set that reaffirmed these guys have a future. Bare-chested singer Marc Storace strutted his stuff, while guitarist Fernando Von Arb alternated cranking out chords of doom with shaking the outstretched hands of those fans pressed against the stage. The biggest roar accompanied the percussion duet of drummer Freddy Steady and bassist Chris Von Rohr. Krokus closed the set with Mandy Meyr's guitar and feedback flurry.
Rainbow followed, taking the stage to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance." Despite the appearance onstage of a well-endowed female, Ritchie Blackmore's expected guitar flashiness and singer Joe Lynn Turner's repeated (and increasingly monotonous) attempts to stir crowd participation with cries of "You wanna rock 'n' roll?" and "You having a good time?" things didn't get rolling until well into the band's 75-minute set. Drummer Bob Rondinelli finally ignited the show with the best solo of the evening, during which he bounced about a dozen sticks off a cymbal into the appreciative audience.
The energy gradually sagged before being revived by the band's sing-along anthem, "Long Live Rock and Roll." Called back for an encore, Rainbow shocked everybody. Instead of playing their biggest hit, "All Night Long," the band jumped into several bars of "My Woman from Tokyo," a classic from Blackmore's and bassist Roger Glover's former band, Deep Purple. When the chords changed into the opening salvo of "Smoke on the Water," there were few people left sitting.
At the end, Blackmore not only put on his own feedback demonstration, but threw the place up for grabs when he punched his guitar through a couple of speakers, then smashed it to pieces.
The Pat Travers Band closed the evening, zipping through their set in an hour. Travers turned in a solid performance, but his slower, less frantic hard rock and the unfamiliarity of some of his newer songs held down crowd response.
Quad-City Times - April 24, 1981
IMA Auditorium, Flint MI, USA - April 28, 1981 (preview)
Nowhere Over The Rainbow
"Concert Preview" is a new addition to the Flint Voice. Each issue, we will preview the upcoming concerts in Flint and southeastern Michigan, giving background information on each of the groups and our critic's opinion of what you can expect if you attend.
Since the untimely demise of one of the premiere heavy-metal bands, Deep Purple, only one member of the group has sustained himself with a solo career: guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. And a spotted solo jaunt it has been. In the five years since Blackmore first started Rainbow, the band's line-up has fluctuated, with the addition and/or subtraction of an average of two members per year.
It's no big mystery that such abrupt changes have come about because of Blackmore's bratty attitude; he likes to be in total control, and doesn't waste a minute letting everyone else know it. What an astounding majority of bands today lack is such a figure of authority. Blackmore's dictatorship makes himself -and solely himself- responsible for the direction Rainbow's music takes. As he recently stated in a Rolling Stone interview: "I have better things to do than excuse myself."
This year's Rainbow is a popped-up version of the old. Their latest LP, "Difficult to Cure," drips with guaranteed-for-airplay formulas; Toto-like piano embellishments, harmony-oriented vocals, and an almost instinctive edging towards the purely commercial product (seems like Blackmore finally realized this is the 80s, and no the 70s.... which isn't necessarily too good). This is especially evident in the choice of JOe Lynn Turner as new vocalist, who bypasses many of the stereotypes of other heavy-metal singers, like Van Halen's David Lee Roth, while still managing to provide the bar timbre required in the genre of rock music.
Of course, whether all this really counts as a "better thing to do" is up to you folks' tastes out there, and Rainbow will be trudging into Flint on April 28th along with Canadian rockers Pat Travers Band, and juvenile-but-delicate-delinquent mini-rockers Krokus, to play a show at the IMA Auditorium (Showtime is 8 p.m., because the members of Krokus have to be in bed by 10:30; it's the only way their mothers would let them tour.)
The Flint Voice - April 17-30, 1981
Stanley Theater, Pittsburgh PA, USA - April 30, 1981
Two Guitarists dazzle fans
Whoever came up with the idea of amplifying a guitar should have been at the Stanley Theater last night, just to see what it's all come to.
Two masters of the electrified six-string performed for three hours, testing the limits of the instrument and the limits of the crowd's eardrums. But the crowd was ready for that - after all, one of the guitarists was Ritchie Blackmore, formerly of Deep Purple, which in the early 70s represented the vey essence of heavy metal thunder.
Blackmore's current band is Rainbow, which also includes bassist Roger Glover, another Deep Purple alum. The other guitarist was Pat Travers, who opened the show in the two-third filled theater.
Though Rainbow is the more well-established group, their set in some ways was not as good as Pat Travers' . To be sure, Blackmore's abilities remain impressive, but his performance was somewhat uneven.
Highlights included his solo on "Love's No Friend" and "Surrender" off their new album "Difficult to Cure." Decent songs like "Man on Silver Mountain" and "Catch the Rainbow" simply went on too long.
Blackmore kept things interesting including bits of unexpected music - "Over the Rainbow," "Greensleeves" and a rendition of the "Ode to Joy" from the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony which may have made Ludwig Van roll over.
Travers got considerable airplay with "Boom Boom Out Go the Lights" and "Snortin' Whiskey, Drinkin' Cocaine," both of which brought the crowd to its feet.
But the best parts of Travers' set were selections from his latest album, "Radio Active". Now a power trio, the Pat Travers Band was most impressive on "My Life is on the Line" and the bluesy "I Just Wanna Live it My Way." On the latter, Travers sounded very much like - and just as good as - the more celebrated Robin Trower.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - May 1, 1981
Palace Theater, Waterbury, CT, USA - May 3, 1981
My Mom, who was in Art School at the time, asked me to shoot some slides of the show for a project she was doing. She gave me her 35mm Nikon and some rolls of slide film. I shot lots of photos of the bands as well as the crowd.
This was a really solid show with 2 great, seasoned bands. Pat Travers was touring for his "Radio Active" album. Pat wasn't a real big hit maker but he had a loyal fan base. The only songs that got airplay were "Boom Boom Out Go the Lights" and "Snortin' Whiskey"; 2 great rock & roll party songs. Pat puts on a great show and his band was full of great musicians.
Rainbow has gone through many line-ups. This touring band consisted of Don Airey (keyboards); Ritchie Blackmore (guitar); Roger Glover (bass); Bobby Rondinelli (drums) and Joe Lynn Turner (vocals).
At these point all of these guys had been around for years and they put on one helluva show. I managed to get a lot of great photos for my Mom to use in her project. She used "Man on the Silver Mountain" as the soundtrack and created a slide show. I believe she got an A.
Tower Theater, Upper Darby Philadelphia PA, USA - May 9, 1981
Their Tower shows were hot! Saturday, Roger visited WMMR Radio and did a little live plug. I had front row seats, unbelievable, as when they came on, Ritchie was not five feet in front of me. I spent an hour and a half leaning comfortably on the stage getting knocked out by his playing. Judy was replaced by some lead genius blaring out Spotlight Kid - don't worry about hating the album, the stuff they did from it live, you'd never know it was the same band - phenomenal. Ritchie was galloping around the stage, I've never seen him so lively or act like such a ham! He glared and pranced, and did half a minuet with himself - very strange. A lot of the show all ran together - no time for between-song chattering.
Love's No Friend followed. Joe is far superior to ol' Bonnet - no wide-mouth, tortured, my-shorts-are-in-a-knot screaming, and no suit or slicked back hair either [he actually looked a bit punkish in tiger striped t-shirt and jeans]. Ritchie went through every type of move he could think of, fist pounding in the air, tortured faces, down on one knee, both knees, took off the guitar, laid it on the stage and pounded both it and the stage with his fists! Bobby is a good replacement for Cozy, I never missed him.
I Surrender was a killer, it was dedicated to the Travers Cavaliers, scheduled to play the Rainbow Roundheads on Sunday. Man On The Silver Mountain followed, they bashed it out in fine form, though it seemed a little jazzier than usual. Catch The Rainbow was brilliant. Ritchie stood there, one blue spotlight on him, gazing in a meditative manner at the rafters, flexing his fingers, then starting a very delicate intro, looking at the audience for applause, if we were slow he prompted us with a shrug and an expression that clearly said "well?" He then went into the song. I've never heard a Tower audience so quiet. It was beautiful.
Can't Happen Here followed - everyone bounced around on this one, Joe leaps, prances, bounces while Roger just stalked around. All three [including Ritchie] nearly collided at one point. Don did his solo after, and it turned into Lost In Hollywood. Ritchie got the feedback working very well, he was getting quite carried away - in the midst of one amazing solo he suddenly pulled one one string off his guitar, eventually he pulled off all but one! Then he got a new one and started bouncing up and down. Then Joe came on with a Strat and they did Beethoven's Ninth - tons of solos in here. Ritchie fretted his guitar with a beer bottle, and poured it over the front row as usual [any idea how to get the smell of beer out of a leather jacket?]
Long Live closed the show, the liveliest version I've heard. They got called back for an encore naturally. He started with a Lazy-teaser, then a few Woman From Tokyo riffs, then played Smoke On The Water! I was delighted 'cos I never thought I'd hear Ritchie pull off that solo again, but also a little disappointed 'cos I've never liked the song too much - if you ever hear Purple here, 9 of 10 times it's Smoke - but they did it well. I was elated with the show.
At the end I waited for the crowd to thin out, and I ended up with a back stage pass! My mouth hung open. So there I was in a tiny room with various members of Rainbow, crew and odd-looking people. Bobby bumped into me and glared, and when I turned to get out of his way I ran right into Ritchie who was trying to get out too! It's embarrassing to plant your elbow in the ribs of someone you've admired for years! He was gracious enough to accept my apology, and listened slightly bemused as I attempted to articulate a few sentences regarding his amazing talent, and then he ran off. I was halfway home before I realised I'd forgotten to get an autograph.
Stargazer Magazine (RBAS)
Tower Theater, Upper Darby Philadelphia PA, USA - May 10, 1981
On Sunday, The Cavaliers beat The Roundheads 2-1, and the latter couldn't blame the ref as it was Don Airey. A football kept bouncing across the stage during Pat Travers set! Rainbow were even livelier than before, and Ritchie was really showing off. He spent most of Can't Happen with his back to the crowd, shaking his hips and drew out Catch even more, it was more moving than the previous show. At the end he kept playing, just a small spotlight on him.
Stargazer Magazine (RBAS)
Andrews Amphitheater, Honolulu, Hawaii - September 5, 1981
Blackmore is notorious for being hard to get along with. I saw Rainbow in Honolulu in '81 with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals at a very small place (3,000 seats) at University Of Hawaii called Andrews Amphitheater. September 5th was the day of the show.
They kept commenting on how small it was and Blackmore left the stage and played behind the amps for whole songs a couple of times and I saw him throw his guitar as he walked off stage. They did no encore. Only Turner seemed friendly at all with the crowd. The others acted like the gig was beneath them.