US Tour 1983

Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, USA - October 31, 1983

Vocalist Turner carries the 'Rainbow' show

Rainbow, last night's headline act at the Stanley Theatre advertised itself as "featuring Richie Blackmore," the hard-rock guitarist who was one of the original members of the English band, Deep Purple. But about the only thing Rainbow had going for it last night was vocalist Joe Lynn Turner.

Turner did not demonstrate much in the way of skill or vocal nuance. But he had a strong, sweet voice and enough excess energy to carry the rest of the band and the audience along with him.

In about half of the songs, Turner struggled to cut through the tick, messy textures of the band. But when he got room to maneuver he turned in some fine performances. He put "Fool For the Night" and "Drinking With the Devil" across by sheer vocal hysteria and stage energy. In "Stranded" Turner projected a sense of conviction and commitment to the lyrics, shallow though they were.

Richie Blackmore, for his part, took it easy. He contented himself most of the time with rhythm guitar, adding texture and occasionally some rather inappropriate chords. His leads were hackneyed, and his one blues solo was heavy handed.

David Rosenthal, Rainbow's keyboardist, took the lead more often, but his synthesiser solos were combinations of pseudo-classical noodlings and special effects.

The low point for Blackmore and Rosenthal both was a 20-minute instrumental showcase that began with a guitar solo in an imitation Middle Eastern mode, passed by way of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on the guitar and Bach Two-Part Inventions to the March of the Toreadors from "Carmen" and the inevitable drum solo back to the whole band playing Beethoven's Ninth. It was like an instrumental assembly line, with each of the players screwing in another tune.

It took Turner a couple of numbers to get going after that, but by the end of the set he was at his best, and the crowd of 2,300 called him back for a string of encores that stretched beyond the planned set.

Aldo Nova, a young Canadian vocalist and guitarist with a four-man band, played the opening set. Nova has some appealing songs - "War Suite," "Paradise," "Hold Back the Night." His sound was thick, bass-heavy and extraordinarily loud. And he had oiled and polished his act 'til it shone. Stage gestures, song sequence, lights, tempos - everything was so carefully worked out that the set had a mechanical feeling to it.

John Spitzer
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - November 1, 1983

Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, USA - October 31, 1983

Rainbow offers fans a pot of heavy metal

Since Halloween is the night for tricks and treats, there's no reason a rock concert shouldn't have both, as long as the tricks are pleasant ones and the treats outnumber any nasty tricks. And so it was, for the most part, in the unseasonably sticky Stanley Theater last night.

Anyone who saw Rainbow there a year ago June knows what a lousy trick the durable quintet played on Pittsburgh. nine songs and a jerky, two-song medley encore in just 75 minutes onstage. At concert's end, the booing was almost as deafening as the music had been. Not last night. Rainbow treated 2.307 fans to considerably more than nine numbers in almost two hours onstage, and the response at the end wasn't booing but the chant of "Rain-bow, Rain-bow."

First things first, however. The most obvious trick — a very dirty one — was the volume. Too blasted much. It reduced warmup act Aldo Nova and his band to a muddle and wasn't much lighter for Rainbow. When you hear teen-age fans yelling "Turn it down,- you know there's a clod at the mixing board.

Rainbow's biggest trick was the encore. Last year it was one verse and one chorus of "Since You Been Gone" and two verses and choruses of "Smoke on the Water," a leftover from guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover's Deep Purple days.

Last night, the encore started with the breakneck "Fire Dance" and swung into the same crummy treatment of "Since You Been Gone." Would a wisp of "Smoke" be next. Nope. There were "All Night Long" and "Stone Cold" — and then "Smoke," a heavy metal classic updated to just fade away with singer Joe Lynn Turner and drummer Chuck Burgi.

And then another trick. Since the fans wanted more, they got more "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" with a bit of Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe" in the middle. Rainbow's best trick was Turner's wry introduction to "Fool for the Night." "Time for a commercial — we have a new album out,- he said. Such droll candor was refreshing but unfortunately far too subtle for the young crowd.

They wanted kick-in-the-shins heavy metal, and that's what they got, punctuated periodically by Rainbow's terrific visual effect of a huge pair of bloodshot eyes with green irises suspended on a truss. "Fool for the Night," "I Surrender," "Street of Dreams," "Power," "Stranded," "Death Alley Driver," take your pick. Rainbow does 'em as well as anyone.

The tastiest treat was a long, all instrumental number that began sounding Middle Eastern, burst into Blackmore-led "Ode to Joy" (based on the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony), slunk into Rosenthal's "Phantom of the Opera"-style organ and his jolly "Toreador Song" from "Carmen," exploded in a heavy metal maelstrom of guitar and drum and ended with a massive drum solo.

By Pete Bishop
The Pittsburgh Press - November 1, 1983

Cow Palace, San Francisco CA - November 25, 1983

Rainbow was all over the radio that year with Stone Cold, and Street of Dreams, and BOC was supporting the Revolution By Night, with Shooting Shark being played on the radio as well.

This concert took place during the Thanksgiving break and I remember the Cow Palace parking lot looking like a scene from the movie, The Warriors. Lots of rock n' rollers, Ben Davis pants, Budweiser and other necessities. It was cold that night and all the garbage cans in the lot were filled with wood and set on fire, with pony kegs within reach. It truly felt like the Revolution by Night.

I remember taking my younger brother who was a freshman in high school and myself being 19 years old... just happy that we were able to make it to the arena safely. Rainbow was excellent and BOC had to come out strong to surpass Rainbow and they did, however future friends who attended that show think Rainbow won the battle of the Bands.

Karl Morgan
Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

Long Beach Arena, Long Beach CA - November 30, 1983

Hard Rock Excesses by Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Oyster Cult is considered one of the best heavy-metal bands, commonly saluted for its relatively intelligent music and a melodic flair that has spawned such smash singles as "Burnin' for You" and "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." But actually the Cult, which played Wednesday night at the Long Beach Arena is just another veteran outfit that believes nothing succeeds like excess.

Performing at ear-splitting volume, the quintet unleashed an assault powered by busy, sharp-edged guitar riffs fighting to cut through thunderous rhythms. While some lighter moments crept into the presentation—including a rousing rendition of "Reaper" and a cameo appearance by Godzilla—the show was little more than another uninspired slab of bloated hard rock.

On the other hand, the opening set by Rainbow was the heavy metal equivalent of a gourmet meal after a week of Thanksgiving leftovers. Rainbow's personnel has changed almost yearly, but the current lineup may be its strongest yet, demonstrating a subtlety and refreshing pop sensibility that distinguishes the band from its competitors.

Of course, Rainbow founder Ritchie Blackmore couldn't resist dredging up guitar-hero antics from his Deep Purple days, attacking his instruments in every conceivable position, smashing one guitar to bits and tossing another to the audience. Aside from those ludicrous moments and some instrumental solo spots that could have been trimmed, Rainbow's set was straightforward, streamlined and solid.

Duncan Strauss
The Los Angeles Times - December 2, 1983

Long Beach Arena, Long Beach CA - November 30, 1983

I do remember arriving about 20 mins late for this gig. Rainbow was already on stage, and all-in-all it was a wonderful performance by both bands.

A buddy of mine ended up getting the guitar neck from Ritchie's guitar that he busted up.

Jeffrey Campbell
Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento CA, USA - December 1, 1983

At its best, Blue Oyster Cult inspires awe. And as its worst, this legendary heavy metal band falls prey to a formulated, freeze dried musical approach which could easily inspire yawns. A taste of each was provided for the estimated 2,500 fans at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium Thursday night, where Blue Oyster Cult shareda bill with Rainbow, another popular (albeit less impressive) heavy metal ensemble.

The evening did not begin in the spirit it might have or should have. Rainbow (which boasts ex-Deep Purple lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore) took the stage some 35 minutes late, and, though, the msuic they provided was better than average for an opening band, their set -which lasted a surprising 80 minutes- grew tiresome after a while. The crowd turned its thumbs down: They booed with fervor at Rainbow's end.

Cathy Cassinos, The Sacramento Bee - December 3, 1983

  • Reactions by Rock Morreale in The Sacramento Bee - December 24, 1983

    Well, well, well. The predictable Cathy Cassinos has struck again. Her (Dec. 3) music review of the Blue Oyster Cult/Rainbow concert was another example of "generic" journalism. Right off the bat she criticizes BOC for "inspiring yawns". Doesn't she get enough sleep? Relying on terms such as "boring", yarns" and "uninspiring" is a very negative approach. Does she get paid for this?

    Her comment of Rainbow couldn't have been further from the truth. The crowd booed when the lights came on at the end of Rainbow's encore because they wanted more, not because they "get tiresome"! What a hatchet job!

  • McNichols Arena, Denver CO - December 4, 1983

    This was DEFFO the LAST Rainbow show as there was BIG aggro since Blackmore saw fit to play thru 1/2 our set time too and fuck us into only having about 45 min for set change and show.... and he only did it since it was the LAST show so therefore would get NO payback...

    Sam Judd [Blue Öyster Cult roadie]
    Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

    McNichols Arena, Denver CO - December 4, 1983

    Not only did Rainbow play long, they started way late because their equipment was delayed because of weather... someone said it came by ground through Utah or Wyoming? Most of us were in McNichols Arena for over 5 hours.

    Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project