Over The Rainbow

Toyota Park, Bridgeview IL, USA    July 3rd, 2009


First ever North American appearence of Over the Rainbow, a cover band comprised of former Rainbow members, with the exception of Jürgen Blackmore who is Ritchie's son. This was part of a 2 day music festival that didn't attract too many fans due largely in part to the weather. The band sounded great, with Joe turning in a great performance.


setlist

Intro
Tarot Woman
Kill The King
Street Of Dreams
Man On The Silver Mountain
Death Alley Driver
I Surrender
Stonecold
Drum solo
Stargazer
Since You've Been Gone
All Night Long
Long Live Rock'n'Roll








Over The Rainbow

Downtown Street Festival, El Paso TX, USA    July 4th, 2009


A crowd of at least 12,000 had gathered this last 4th of July weekend in the city of El Paso, Texas for the Eighth Annual Downtown Street Fest, which hosted the performances by four national acts on their main stage, including the newly formed band OVER THE RAINBOW ("OTR"), who was on their second night into their US run.

Their appearance in El Paso was the only one west of the Mississippi, as all the other dates in their US run were scheduled for the mid-west (the Detroit and Chicago areas) and three in the east coast (one in Pennsylvania and two in New Jersey). Joining OVER THE RAINBOW, were the headliners, THE CULT, as well as LACUNA COIL, and LA upstarts DRIVE:A. OTR was third on the bill.

For me, this was going to be the fourth time in as many months, which I was going to get to see the boys of OTR perform, having seen them in Japan, just two months earlier.

In fact, I had traveled the 4600 plus miles to the Far East, as part of a celebration to one of my forty-something birthdays in late April. And appropriately enough, this festival occurred during the celebration of yet another birthday, our country's 233rd.

So there I was in El Paso wanting to hear once again this newly formed bandís unique brand of rock music, which is in the tradition of the former band RAINBOW (founded and once led by lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore). Their music contained classical undertones which were created into the progressive, as well as the hard rock and radio-friendly melodic rock tracks they would eventually perform on the arena stage.

I arrived at the festival around 5:30 p.m., just as the gates were about to open at 6 sharp. I was allowed early access into the festival so that along with camera in hand, I could find the best spot to stand for the three and a half hours prior to OTR's eventual appearance at 9 p.m.. The festivities began at exactly 6:38 p.m. with the eclectic blend of alternative, punk, and metal coming from both DRIVE:A and LACUNA COIL.

At one point during LACUNA COIL's set though, I felt starved and wanted to get a bite to eat. Needless to say, the decision I had made to grab something almost became a disastrous one for this writer in terms of any more picture taking I wanted to do of that band or any other band for that matter, including OVER THE RAINBOW.

However in the end, all was well and I was really quite lucky to have been able to make it back to where my 'spot' was up at the front of the stage, as I weaved, squiggled, elbowed, and grinded in and out of the sea of humanity that had jammed up together to watch the show that was playing on stage.

But of course, notwithstanding the warm-up bands, it was OVER THE RAINBOW this writer wanted to see.

Then right at the top of the nine o'clock hour with the sun finally setting in the west, the band did make their appearance on stage and for the next hour and three minutes OVER THE RAINBOW I went. On stage was vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, drummer Bobby Rondinelli, bassist Greg Smith, and guitarist Jurgen Blackmore, all of whom I had seen perform in Japan.

Although right away I noticed the absence of keyboardist Tony Carey (PLANET P Project) from the line-up. And from what I heard and read from other media reports, prior to my coming to El Paso, was that TC had taken ill shortly after the band had ended their mini-tour in Japan and has not returned since.

But true to the tradition of the former band and the legitimacy of this new project, I immediately recognized the presence of yet another ex-RAINBOW member, Paul Morris, standing behind the keys and playing the first notes to the first 'live' track in the set - 'Tarot Woman".

As for Morris, he appeared and toured with RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW in support of the band's 1995 Stranger In Us All release, which I saw him play on tour along with bassist Greg Smith in February 1997 in Tempe, Arizona.

I certainly felt that Paul provided a creditable performance to all the tracks in the bandís set on that night. And although his sound was just slightly different from what I heard coming from Tony Careyís instrument; I did enjoy what Paul was able to bring to the table in contributing to the bandís performance.

"Time", unfortunately, was a factor in abbreviating the set list I had heard OTR previously perform while in Japan. Nevertheless, OVER THE RAINBOW was still able to provide the audience in El Paso a completely jam-packed concert with the right amount of material that was representative of at least three of the four eras of the former band (except those from the White era), along with another excellent drum solo performed by Bobby Rondinelli to boot. OVER THE RAINBOW certainly gave the audience its money's worth and more.

Of the songs played, most notable was the power and consistency played in the band's renditions of 'Kill The King', 'Man On A Silver' Mountain', 'Stone Cold', 'Stargazer' and still my all-time favorite in this live set - 'Death Alley Driver' by all the musicians there on that stage including lead guitarist Jurgen Blackmore. In all, OVER THE RAINBOW was able to perform a total of five Dio era tracks, four Turner era tracks, and two Bonnet era tracks on that night.

Then sadly, at least to this writer, the music of this band had to end just prior to the fireworks show that was slated to occur shortly thereafter.

So the band ended their set with the appropriate rock anthem 'Long Live Rock'n'Roll', for which vocalist Joe Lynn Turner led a 'call and response' to the audience below.

'Long Live Rock'n'Roll'....hum. If you think about it, isn't this why the 12,000, including yours truly, were there in El Paso over the 4th of July weekend to hear in the first place?

'Til next time.
Julie Barela Mills

setlist

01 Dance With the Devil - (Original Recording - a tribute to the late RAINBOW drummer Cozy Powell)
02 Tarot Woman
03 Kill The King
04 Street Of Dreams
05 Man On The Silver Mountain
06 Over the Rainbow Overture
07 Death Alley Driver
08 I Surrender
09 Stone Cold
10 Drum solo
11 Stargazer
12 Since You've Been Gone
13 All Night Long
14 Long Live Rock'n'Roll








Over The Rainbow

Ocean City, New Jersey, USA    July 6th, 2009


I have to say, it was great to be at the "Jersey Shore" for this event. Lot's of stuff to do on the board walk before the concert, and A LOT of pretty women in the surf and sand. Some in very skimpy bikinis taking pictures of each other emoticon I forgot just how fun the beach was. After the concert, the moon was nearly full, and it was reflecting quite nicely on the Atlantic Ocean, and there was a nice breeze in the air. It really added to the fun I had at the concert.

The concert itself was in an extremely small venue, the Ocean City Music Pier, which must be nearly 100 years old, if not older. There were only about 500 people in attendance, which was about half capacity for the pier.

There were glass doors and windows to see outside to the ocean, with tiled floors and little blue cushioned chairs. It was sort of like being in a high school gym. Someone at the concert commented that OTR is very popular overseas, but in the U.S., it is not the same for some reason.

The band sounded great. It amazes me just how much Jürgen reminds me of Ritchie when he is on stage. His profile even reminds you of Ritchie, and Jürgen was dressed all in black. At times, I thought Ritchie was there. Jürgen played a red guitar, and during Stargazer, he picked up a Stratocaster. Due to the small quarters, the music sounded a bit muffled at times, and JLT moved toward the left stage and there was some sort of feedback that hurt my ear.

For the most part, I had a great time and the band sounded extremely good, and Jürgen can REALLY play like Ritchie, and even sound like him, except for the fills. Morris was okay, but he was sort of in the background. I wonder how Carey would have sounded instead. Bobby Rondinelli is a great drummer and he was superb on Stargazer, it was the first time I ever saw that song live. Although I wouldn't say this was the best concert I have ever seen, the combination of the shore, the small venue and all the good songs certainly made it memorable and fun. I hope OTR comes back. My only comment is that Jürgen should play the Stratocaster all the time, he should stand out more musically. He is Ritchie Blackmore's son after all, and that's a compliment !

There were no special effects or lights except for the spot light at this concert. It was just the band and us. JLT commented that we, the crowd of 500, screamed louder than some crowds of 12,000, and he said it was good to be home in New Jersey.

JLT and the band also performed Lazy, and during the bass solo, Greg Smith performed Black Night (I think it was during Long Live Rock N' Roll).

I think Greg Smith started to play some notes from Burn, and he looked back at Jürgen, but JLT said, "you're on your own..."

The bass solo was extended as JLT sat on stage and listened, and Morris then launched into a small keyboard solo after Smith said, "I'm done." It was funny. Rondinelli did a drum solo and then launched into Stargazer.

As far as Jürgen playing down in the mix, that is correct. OTR, it appears, is JLT's band, and it just happens that Jürgen is in the band.

Yes, he does play down in the mix, hence my suggestion that Jürgen pick up the Stratocaster and play that more to stand out musically.

No, Jürgen is not in charge of OTR, and I don't think he speaks a lot of English. That's fine with me, because he still put on a good show. Since Ritchie isn't playing rock anymore, I applaud Jürgen for stepping in and doing it, and doing a good job at it. He moves like Ritchie, he looks like Ritchie, and he plays like Ritchie. However, I didn't say he was Ritchie, but I could imagine that he was there during a small concert that was very much like a private performance for me. Did OTR sound like Rainbow did with Blackmore when I saw them in 1997? No. But for the venue they played in and for the songs they performed, it was damn good. Could it be better? Yes. And I think over time, OTR will only improve if they stay together. As I said, Jürgen should pick up the Stratocaster more often and prove himself as a musician. He certainly has the chops and training for it.

review by JohninNJ4you
posted in the Deep Purple Fan Forum






Over The Rainbow

Crocodile Rock Cafe, Allentown PA, USA    July 10th, 2009


Line up

Vocals- Joe Lynn Turner
Drums- Bobby Rondinelli
Bass- Greg Smith
Guitar- Jürgen Blackmore
Keys- Paul Morris

Setlist:

Tarot Woman
Kill The King
Street Of Dreams
Man On The Silver Mountain
Death Alley Driver
Eyes Of The World
Ariel
Wolf To The Moon
I Surrender
Jam
Can't Happen Here
Jealous Lover
Drum solo
Stargazer
Long Live Rock'n'Roll

Encore:

Since You've Been Gone
Jam 2
Stone Cold
All Night Long






All photos El Paso review: © Violetjewel21 in El Paso, TX - July 4, 2009

All other photos: © S.Belyakov in Moscow, Russia - February 18, 2009