European Tour 1995

Long Live Rock'n'Roll


After heavy times with Deep Purple one of the innovating guitarists of rock history celebrates with his band RAINBOW after twelve years a monumental comeback: RITCHIE BLACKMORE. ANDREAS SCHÖWE waited several days for possible scandals caused by the eccentric...

08 October - Hannover, Music Hall

After a twelve years absence this was the Germany premiere of the reformed Rainbow. However only three weeks before a soccermatch in the native New York (F.C. Blackmore against Long Island Rangers, or so) the preparing schedule was turned upside down: Drummer John O'Reilly hit one of his opponents in such a manner, that he damaged some of his ribs. Greg Smith: There we were and do not know better than a few days later the tour in Scandinavia begins! Luckily I remembered Chuck Burgi, with whom my ways crossed already here and there. I called him completely surprised: Well how are you? Long time not seen, however... about time we will get together. By the way: Do you perhaps have some time, how about tomorrow morning...???

The absolute dialogue of the day took place however two hours later for the center of the set on stage:
Doogie: Ritchie asks whether he can say 'Hello!' to you... "
Public (euphoric): Yeah!"
Ritchie (briefly, hardly looking up): Hello!"

But before that the present Milky could get themselves annoyed: A Swedish band, who nobody knows and which is not able, to replace the jumped off Thunder at short notice (bassist Michael Eglund decided to leave the band).

Then the long-awaited moment: 'Spotlight Kid' presents Ritchie in the spotlight. And the good man is in good form: In contrast to the last Purple tour, on which he himself probably showed an action radius of point zero, in order not to come too close to Ian Gillan, the Rainbow founder goes today from time to time already to the edge of the stage, in order to maintain fan contacts.

And regarding to the set the alleged boss does not at all is the dictator generally accepted: 'Temple Of The King' - the surprise of the set - is after substantial intervention from Doogie added to the live-show. "Ritchie wanted to leave the song once again because he was not sure whether someone still wants to hear this old Camel" the singer told after the show and enjoyed the praise of this action. "But I insisted on it, because I can sing it very good..."

There is actually nothing to add on this subject.

Because when Doogie 'Man on The Silver Mountain' sings, not just a few of the present ones are having the impression Ronnie James Dio is on his place on stage: The British singer feels himself even good in the footsteps of a Glenn Hughes ('Burn'), Ian Gillan ('Smoke on The Water'), Graham Bonnet ('Since You Been Gone') or Joe Lynn Turner ('Spotlight Kid').

Ritchie has always damned luck with his people - which he rewards with freedom to enjoy themselves.

The Boss often starts to improvise together with his band, jams on stage: Paul Morris can for example go wild at his keys after 'Wolf To The Moon', and 'Still I'm Sad' gets a drumsolo by Chuck. After the encores 'Burn' and 'Smoke on The Water' we do need nothing more. But the good Hannoveraner didn't stopped even when the lights in the hall were switched on. Afterwards Greg Smith was surprised that he had to do a second encore ('Black Night') and confessed: When I came again on stage my technician asked me what I was doing again so early behind the stage. I said to him: 'We'll play another song!' What? I've put the bass in it's case and switched off the Amp already and was going to take it away. 'Put it back again! Plug it in! Let's go...

Backstage. From the room of the master there's a ghostly silence - from that of the rest of the band highlife - suspicious laughter. Is it clearly? On this moment Ritchie leaves his room. With a beer in the hand. Laughing....

09.Oktober - Düsseldorf, Philips-Halle

16.30 o'clock: The tour bus is parking beside the Philipshalle and the Mobile studio of the WDR (that will record today's show for the reborn program 'Rockpalast'). No trace of the Guitarhero yet. 17.00 o'clock: The newest Horror-news reads: Ritchie is 40 kilometers before Dortmund in the traffic jam. Tricky, when around six still the turning of some sequences for the 'Ariel' Videoclip stands on the program. Will the yesterday careful built up good mood of the masters with one kick be gone now?

18.09 o'clock: The posts know to report: A black Limosine passed the city borders. 19.00 o'clock: The message of the day tells: Doors open half an hour later, so the planned video recordingsession nevertheless still can be pulled through.

And (oh miracles): Ritchie will be here! Greg Smith as well as Paul Morris discuss meanwhile with pleasure, whether A) their boss like in good old times will smash his guitar during the video recording session or B) generally once on stage smashing it up in pieces.

About 5000 spectators experience then a great show, which has only two errors.

First of all: Due to the WDR filming for Rockpalast the hall-lights light up from time to time. Secondly: For a second encore like yesterday we waited in vain, the good mood of the Niedersachsischen State Capital will also in the next days hard to be topped.

10 October - Berlin, Huxley's

The misunderstanding of the day takes place between the press and Blackmores presscoordinator: Ritchie should give an interview yesterday night. That did not take place. Why?': Because he didn't confirmed it!" He confirms this date as well as all further ones already three weeks ago!" Yes, for three weeks, hahaha! You must however in every way get it confirmed at the same night - because: With Ritchie you never know in which mood he is! You'll never know!"

Meanwhile Doogie is backstage busy with his stage clothes. Ritchies Guitar technician however has suicidal inclinations, since the British Catering company 'Eat To The Beat' obviously not all drinks has provided. In the kitchen again coffaine-free Cola and Ginger Ale are missing.

The quickly filled Huxley's stands like a man behind the Rainbow. However the perhaps 3,000 citizens of Berlin prove not much endurance and do weaken for the end of the show, just like in Hannover, Ritchie turns the guitar off beside his Amp, leaves the stages and listen how the "Smoook on Se Woooter" choir of the audience today let the hall move just like earlier in Hannover. That's not the case however. Therefore the main actor doesn't return on the stage. "Ritchie is annoyed!" answers Doogie half a hour later to the question, why it did not come to the second encore in the form of 'Lazy'... Fact is: The master sees encores as a reward for an audience..

14.10 Stuttgart, Congresscentrum

About 5,000 natives of Stuttgart in the best mood. And: As good as the days before only humans, who are themselves and don't messed up themselves: thus no piercing scrapmummies, green hairs, or so...

17.10 Rotterdam, Sporthall

10,000 spectators. Blackmore lets himself leading into 'Mistreated' by Doogie and Chuck. That's received good. The band also wants to lead their boss into 'Stargazer'. Doogie: With 'Mistreated' it also worked! We played that track in the sound check. Ritchie came to us: '0h, you know that? Cool!' - and started to play along in the Jam. And he just thought he could put it somewhere in the set... " Some days later that also happened with 'Rainbow Eyes'...

18.10 Hamburg, Sporthalle

The flop of the tour. Only 2,000 visitors got themselves in the Alsterdorfer Sporthalle. Public reactions fair. And to top everything in the first row was a drunk person, who went over the shut-off position to the photo ditch and was staring at Ritchie permanently. The latter does not felt himself thereby very inspired and decided to thank the audience without encores. Which again the not at all sooo satisfied two thousand visitors paid that with plastic beergoblets flying in the direction of the stage - the Roadies tried to save what could be saved. One fan even burned his Rainbow shirt. Hundreds shouted provoked for "Gillan". That was clearly a wrong one as Doogie White is a front man that sings the Purple singer to the wall and has at least as much irradiation. But Blackmore doesn't notice all of that and got himself already on the way in the hotel, which he booked himself (!) 40 kilometers away from Hamburg (!!): From past years unpleasant memories of the "Hansestadt" troubles him anyway...

ERGO: Big scandals were missing. For that Ritchie & Co brought us music of the finest with a light show of the superlative. Who still stands on from pressure Heavy rock of the classical school, will also be in the future with the direction of Rainbow, because the STRANGER IN US ALL-Tour was (up to Hamburg) one of the best advertisements for this category of modern music. Even if Ritchies mood reacted to various little things: None can take the status of one of the innovative and strongest guitarists of rock history. In this sense: Long Live Ritchie Blackmore! Long Live Rock'n'Roll!

Andreas Schöwe, Metal Hammer November 1995
[translated from German language]