Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

Monsters of Rock

Loreley Freilichtbühne, Sankt Goarshausen, Germany   June 17, 2016

Special Guests: Thin Lizzy, Manfred Mann's Earth Band

The news hit like a bomb in the fall of 2015 : Ritchie Blackmore, in 1995 after the "Stranger In Us All" tour he took his (rock) hat off to play from now on only medieval music with his sweet wed spouse Candice Night in the new formation Blackmore's Night, but he announced in 2016 some rock shows under the banner Rainbow. First, there was talk of four dates, but soon it became clear that there would be only three concerts. Two of them in Germany and one in England.

On June 17, it was finally time. Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow returned after 21 years returned to the stage. The Loreley, one of the favorite venues of the living on Long Iceland Englishman, saw the premiere show of the new Rainbow. New in this case is the full line-up of the band. Because the Master had addressed not a member of the former Rainbow line ups on forehand. He wanted to have fresh, hungry musicians whom no one would expect. No Joe Lynn Turner, who had even brought it repeatedly to the attention, not Roger Glover, no Doogie White or Tony Carey, etc.
In Spain he found Ronnie Romero, Argentine singer in services of the Madrid Heavy Metal Band "Lords Of Black". From Sweden comes Jens Johansson, keyboardist of Finnish symphonic power metal band "Stratovarius", which I had seen in April 2016 at the Metal Franconia Festival. On bass there was Bob Noveau, actually Bob Curiano, and the skins were to be hit by David Keith. This rhythm section is known from "Blackmore's Night".

But we are now chronologically. After the inlet at 16:00 the comedian and actor Hans Werner Olm opened his acoustic guitar from about 16:30 the music program. When he began reciting BB Kings "Hoochie Coochie Man" and AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie", I believed in a high-quality set of a music fan who has absorbed a lot of good music to his previous 61 years. But from the third piece he drifted off into more slapstick-like manor. Olm parodied here, albeit skillfully, Peter Maffay, but he made the girl "Josie" into the pig "Rosie" and how this sometime later ends up at the slaughter and later on a plate. Also a Reinhard Mey parody was born by the born in Bochum Olm who fired it on the audience. I wonder what the international audience (there were fans from England, Spain, Chile, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and many more) thought at the Loreley of his German text versions of all these songs, unfortunately it remains a mystery to me. The three Israeli with whom I talked a long time before the event, could make anything hardly of it. Shortly before five the Olm'sche nightmare was then however already over.

After about a three quarters break Thin Lizzy were from 17:40 on stage. Well, many fans believe, Lizzy is not with us anymore and what is sold here under this name there, is simply a Tribute-, or worse, a cover band of the Irish rock legend. Certainly, by the founding members, no one is now on board and Phil Lynott is dead for 30 years. Also Gary Moore has been dismissed five years ago and original drummer Brian Downey left Thin Lizzy a year ago. But with Scott Gorham is a guitarist in the current lineup, who joined in 1974 the band and it brings, with intermissions, even at a total of 26 years in the band. Singer Ricky Warwick is since 2010 there. For the years 2016 and 2017 it has been back with the addition of "anniversary shows" because of the 40th anniversary of the album "Jailbreak", and also to remember the 30th anniversary of Lynott's death.

In addition they have brought in Tom Hamilton bassist of "Aerosmith" into the boat and with Scott Travis sits none other than the "Judas Priest" drummer on the little stool behind the drums. Additional elements of the current lineup are Darren Wharton, the keyboard player was the first in the 1980s already in the band, and Damon Johnson, who belongs as a guitarist already since 2011 in the formation. Now, as there are three guitarists on stage, a sight that the heart of genuine rock fans can let beat much faster. And when the band gets going with "Jailbreak", a thousands hands go in the air. Clear, powerful and energetic - like the sound also the band presents itself and their music. Ricky Warwick proves to be a gifted entertainer, he takes the audience by his hand and win them for his side. And the rain is forgotten quickly, Petrus in the sky also has a peak on the show, closes the locks and even spoiled the fan base with sunshine. Thin Lizzy play almost all of the "Jailbreak" album, especially the title song, "Cowboy Song" and "The Boys Are Back In Town" are celebrated. But of course, also "Black Rose" and "Whiskey In The Jar" were played, two Irish Traditionals, thanks to Thin Lizzy got known to all the Hard Rock fans. Thus, the approximately 75 minute gig on this early evening hour for the triumphal victory for a formation that has the full right to use the name of Thin Lizzy. Despite all thew prophecies of doom.

After half an hour's break to change the stage, at 19:30 we went on with Manfred Mann's Earth Band. This appearance should have been have taken place. Basically every song only served Man's ego to play another solo, even if it robs the song of it's vitality. For real, the versions of well-known pieces such as "Mighty Quinn", "(I Came) For You", "Davy's On The Road Again" or "Blinded By The Light" had zero drive, which have been deprived of any taste. "Father Of Day, Father Of Night" was drawn into an extensive lengthy instrumental. The mood that had Thin Lizzy previously fueled, was largely destroyed by the intellectual appearance of the Earth band playing a kind of "Musician's Music". This place would have better fitted by the adding of a band like "Uriah Heep", "Nazareth" or "Status Quo" to this Monsters Of Rock festival bill. The best thing about the gig of Manfred Mann's Earth Band was that they had the shortest set to around an hour.

Then we had to wait. About 50 minutes before starting it was going to take, before the grand master of rock riffs with his newly formed band took the stage at the Loreley. After the usual intro (from the "Wizard of Oz") Rainbow got started with the Deep Purple number "Highway Star". My Israeli friends had heard somewhere that the set should be material with two-thirds Rainbow and one-third Deep Purple. Blackmore had previously announced that he would also play appropriate songs from his Purple era. As it was the case in the early Rainbow concerts. With "Spotlight Kid" there was the first Rainbow classic, a piece from the time with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. "Mistreated" was the third song on the set list, which appeared first on the Deep Purple album "Burn", but which was also found on the legendary Rainbow Live Double Album "On Stage" where Ronnie James Dio put his stamp on. From that version I do not like the four minute Blackmore solo that appears as a soporific to me (I know many will want to stone me for this statement), but thanks to the Loreley performance I have made my peace with this song on Friday night. Solo yes - but firstly not so sprawling and secondly with significantly more drive. So I myself like that.

"Since You Been Gone" followed as fourth song and perhaps the most commercially successful Rainbow title, originally sung by Graham Bonnet. And then there was the famous "Man On The Silver Mountain", the first real track of Dio time. And so I am on the subject. The new frontman not only carries the same name as the unforgettable small, big man. He gets vocally pretty close to him. Of course I had informed me in advance via YouTube about Romero and placed him right away. So I was curious to see how he would cope with the pieces of the other Rainbow shouters. To my satisfaction it fits everywhere, Romero mastered the tone of all previous singers. With "Catch The Rainbow" another song from the first Rainbow album came. Romero had already announced it when Ritchie whispered in his ear that he had actually planned a different number at this point, but after a brief confusion eventually the only ballad on the setlist followed. Then, Ronnie passed to the backstage area and Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", was introduced by the Master on his white Fender, into "Difficult To Cure". Here it was allowed each to play a solo in the foreground, respectively drummer David Keith, bassist Bob Noveau and pianist Jens Johansson. Especially the long-haired Swede at the keys got plenty of applause.

When Romero returned to the stage, he introduced the band and the two background singers, one of them Ritchie's wife Candice Night, belonged, before and initiated with the phrase "Now we are no more Perfect Strangers" to that song that can be claimed to be the youngest song in years on the set list, it's the title song of the 1984 Purple album. The number nine on the setlist was also from the Deep Purple cosmos. And this song was not missing here, too. "Child In Time", a monumental piece, accompanied by thousands Ooooohs and Aaaaahs from the audience. Again Johansson shined in the best manner of Jon Lord on keyboards. Sure, this song is a godsend for each key man. And here there were crystal clear background vocals of Candice Night and her colleague Christine (her last name was not called by Romero).

Then again a massive hit from the Dio era. One of the most important songs from the Rainbow catalogue: "Long Live Rock'n'Roll", the title song of the third and thus last studio work with the little singer (1978). Of course, celebrated by the sodden masses on the steps of the amphitheater of the good old Father Rhine. The last Rainbow piece of the evening was then, the only one from the album whose artwork the Monsters Of Rock, and thus the entire event gave a visual face. Clear, meaning "Rising" and from this album the über-song "Stargazer". With as much sense as drive the audience was around nine minutes served, which had long since slipped into a parallel world. Then it was time for the two last songs. "Black Night" with at least as much power as ano 1970 "Deep Purple In Rock" was allowed on this best of setlist of course not lacking just like "Smoke On The Water", finally, as an encore. The traditional last piece of Blackmore gigs at the Loreley accompanied by fireworks. Some chords got served after the boss had already asked his band to leave the stage. One thing is clear: After "Smoke On The Water" that was it because after that nothing was coming anymore. So the concert was finished by about 23:20.

Conclusion: Every now and then the "Man in Black" attacked and hide twice irritations regarding the setlist (was a day later at the concert in Bietigheim - Bissingen with "16th Century Greensleeves" even a fourteenth piece in the program. Perhaps this was also planned at the Loreley and thus a reason for the intermittent confusion among musicians). The location at the Loreley, with its wonderful ambience is naturally beyond doubt, although the rain, for which alone "the above" is responsible, the upper entrance area was transformed into a muddy desert, and I got to know now from "first hand" some fans. The catering was ok, reasonably priced. What did not work so well, was the matter of the shuttle buses to the concert. Here a bus company has taken on the task, which they did not make it a success to this time to provide a working model even after two years ago. This fact provoked the displeasure of many visitors of the concert, which were a long cold wait after long hours in the wet weather and they would have liked to get back a little earlier in their hotel rooms. I myself got at about half past one the most ferry to the other side of the Rhine, there I got soon a taxi into the town of Urbar above St. Goar, and was shortly before one o'clock in my room. And completely satisfied.

Habemus Lucius - Der Blog
[translated from German language]

Original Blog in German Language: click here