Rainbow Rising

"We must be over the RAINBOW"

Derby April 18, 2008   &  Sutton-in-Ashfield April 19, 2008

Two evenings with Number 1 UK tribute band RAINBOW RISING (by Mike Garrett)

Set Lists:

The Flowerpot, Derby, Friday 18th April 2008
Over The Rainbow (Intro), Kill the King, 16th Century Greensleeves, Miss Mistreated, Tarot Woman, I Surrender, Death Alley Driver, Stone Cold, Mistreated, Spotlight Kid, Gates of Babylon, Catch the Rainbow / Rainbow Eyes, Still I'm Sad, Man on the Silver Mountain, Since You Been Gone, Stargazer (Encores: All Night Long, Long Live Rock n Roll).

The Diamond, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Saturday 19th April 2008
Over The Rainbow (Intro), Kill the King, 16th Century Greensleeves, Miss Mistreated, Tarot Woman, Death Alley Driver, Stone Cold, Mistreated, Gates of Babylon, Spotlight Kid, Catch the Rainbow, Man on the Silver Mountain, I Surrender, Since You Been Gone, Stargazer (Encores: All Night Long, Long Live Rock n Roll).

Okay, going to see a tribute band, two nights in a row, is a bit crazy (?) but here in Lincoln, we do not have a rock tribute band venue; instead we choose to go to venues up to an hour and a half drive away, to see band that we really like. Thus, when RAINBOW RISING announced gigs at The Flowerpot and The Diamond, this presented us with the first gigs (this year) at which we could see them.

"The Flowerpot" is a Biker / Real Ale pub in Derby city centre which is also a very popular Live Music venue. In my opinion, the actual gig room is very crammed (i.e. I secretly nick name it "The Black Hole of Calcutta") but having said that, everyone always seems to enjoy them selves! Maybe the Real Ales available, up to 10 per cent proof, has something to do with it, as well as the bands?

I would recommend any UK fan of RAINBOW, to go see the tribute band RAINBOW RISING, as they always present a superb show, in order to try and evoke the spirit of those past RAINBOW concerts. Sure, you can tell the differences between them and the real RAINBOW but there are many, many moments in each song where they have recreated a good copy or near-to representation of the original songs.

So, what makes the guitar performance of Barry "Blackmore" Sharples so good? Quite simply, he absolutely loves all the Blackmore musical stuff and anyone in the audience can immediately sense that. The guitar solo break in Kill the King, the protracted guitar intro to Mistreated and the extended guitar solo in the middle of Catch the Rainbow are just three examples where you can tell, that Barry has been studying the work of the Man in Black, in close detail.

Of course, it is the band performing together, as a musical team that produces the final result. Mick on drums, has been called "The Powerhouse" of the band, or similar; and rightly deserves such praise. Together with Steve on bass (who is relatively new to the band but fits in well!) they form the solid percussion backbone of the band.

Tor on keyboards; plays partly in the Carey style and partly in his own (Carey-influenced) style but it fits in with what the band are trying to present. My favourite keyboard moments in the show are Gates of Babylon, Still I'm Sad and Stargazer.

What about Raggie on vocals? A great job as usual; interacting with the audience well; and getting them to sing and chant at the appropriate moment. All good fun!

So, as you see above, a good time was had by all (including the little group of fans from Lincoln), on the Friday night but what would happen on the following evening? Two or three of us were scheduled to go to The Diamond gig but due to changes in Work, there was suddenly only myself that could be available. "Hmm.....time to transform the situation into a little impromptu adventure" I thought.

Did RAINBOW RISING need an extra Roadie for the Saturday night? They seemed quite pleased of my offer, if I could be at The Diamond venue by 5pm? No problem. It gave me an excellent opportunity to get some new photos of the band, a little story to put on the Internet and a free gig!

We got the band equipment out of the truck; then began the sound check. That is, the band did the sound check and I (after fiddling with a bent battery connection in my camera) finally got my first photographs taken.

The sound check took place with the usual good humour and banter. Barry plugged in the guitar and let fly briefly, with the riff from Burn. Tor responded with the keyboard intro sequence from Perfect Strangers! Was a full RAINBOW song coming next? No, Barry opened up with Panama (by Van Halen) instead! In response, Raggie pretended to launch into a cartwheel across the front of the stage but wisely decided against it, at the last moment!

Then came the proper sound check, full-song renditions of Wolf to the Moon (not played in the actual show) and 16th Century Greensleeves. After that, it was time to retire to the venue cafe (and yes, the venue has Bed and Breakfast rooms, too!) The cafe conversation centred on the fact, that the band is playing very few gigs this year, due to real-life job commitments of Tor and Raggie. A shame but that is what practicalities dictate.

Are there other songs that the band wants to introduce into their act? Yes, it is just a case of getting everyone to agree and be in the rehearsal room together. The possibilities are: Rainbow Eyes, Soldier of Fortune, Can't Happen Here, Makin' Love and Can't Let You Go. Also, Light in the Black, Wolf to the Moon and Eyes of the World could be put back into the act?

After that, the conversation turned to more general things. Yes, Tor and I agree, it is a pain in the backside, trying to build a musical Myspace page by inserting all those annoying little codes (goddamn it! Aargh!) but we do it all the same because those web pages are Free!

The venue doors were opened and soon, more fans started to arrive, that we all knew and it eventually came around to show time. Another great gig (see Set List above) and less crammed than the night before! "The Diamond" crowd are always enthusiastic and I got a few more photos!

After the gig, it was time once again, to say my goodbyes to the band and drive back to Lincoln. Thanks for everything lads!


Review & photos: Mike Garrett