Lots of chatter suggesting that Blackmore will confirm five more Rainbow shows in Europe during 2017, as was mooted back when the first shows were taking place. His new singer Ronnie Mk 2 has also been talking about looking forward to this. Let’s hope they can spend a little more time rehearsing to allow them to develop the potential shown in some of the set. Blackmore has apparently taken on board, probably not without a little satisfaction, people’s preference for the next set to be more focused on Rainbow’s own catalogue. Meantime there are rumours that once Coverdale and Paice showed him the door, Blackmore tried to get Hughes on board with similar results. Looks like he needn’t have bothered! Still no news at our end on the projected DVD/CD of the 2016 show, has anyone else spotted a release sheet?
Posts Tagged ‘ritchie blackmore’
“Dear Mr. Brackmore, we understand you will be releasing a CD of the recent Rainbow shows, and would love to pitch some cover designs to you. Please see our ideas attached…”
In fact, this is a selection of bootleg CDs from the three shows churned out in just a month by labels in Japan (hence my sad stereotyped opening few words.) They all seem to be different too. Astonishing. Not seen anything quite this frantic since the early Purple reunion era, and even then it took them several months to get up to this sort of level. I think I like the one best second up on the right which uses the lighting to good effect, and also because that’s about the view we got!
Maybe best just to wait for the official one after all?
I don’t know who took the photo, but assume they would wish to remain incognito in any case…
….as someone said on the radio this morning. Well yes, but we’re all still downright miserable at DTB HQ, so here’s a photo of a rainbow to cheer us up. A little less costly to set up and run than the one in 76 perhaps but quite effective. Don’t forget to send us your thoughts after the show on the special review page. Taken by Tonny Steenhagen.
Being interested in architectural history and such I was interested to hear that English Heritage (or whatever they’ve been renamed this week) are involved in a work which looks at the architecture of Liverpool’s music venues. I was even more surprised when one of the researchers got in touch about my infamous 1977 shots of Blackmore up in one of the Royal Empire Theatre’s boxes, trashing his Strat against the ornate plasterwork, saying they would love to feature this in the book.
The thought of seeing Blackmore in a University text book really amused me, so I rescanned the prints (you can even see the fixer stains from the darkroom in the top right!) and sent them over. Rather than ask for a fee, I settled on a review copy of the book, so will let you know what it’s like.
I only had time to fire off a couple of frames (these days you’d stick the burst mode on and run until the battery went flat!) and there is shot on the DPAS archive site, but not sure I’ve posted this one before. As a result of this stunt, Blackmore was banned from the venue and all others owned by the chain, a ban I’m not sure has ever been lifted.
Anyway, no such worries if he wants to get a bit carried away at the NEC, I think quite a few of us would give him a hand.
So, was this just a Happy Shopper version of Rainbow, or something more substantial? Well there’s only one man who knows the answer, and he was keeping very quiet on Saturday night, saying just two words* to the 10,000+ sold out NEC crowd, and that was merely to announce the name of his singer. Which was fitting really, as without him this version of Rainbow would certainly have been an awful lot less entertaining.
And from what I could see the audience took to him fairly quickly and were really up for it from the reworked version of Highway Star onwards; how much of this fervour was a determination to enjoy it or simply relief to have the man back playing rock again is hard to say, but there was something very comforting being in a crowd who knew all the words to all the songs (Spotlight Kid aside possibly!). You forget how much shared experience there is in following a guy like this, and it’s nice to be reminded of it sometimes.
I deliberately steered clear of online video and audio clips so not to pre-judge the show (or lower my expectations any further!), and from what people were saying, the vibe was far from positive so I’m glad I did. An inside gig is a very different beast to outdoor festival slots, and I’m glad we opted for this – and that Rainbow decided to do it instead of a UK festival (look what was happening down the road at Glastonbury).
We had quite a relaxing drive down, neither of us wanted to discuss the show much I guess. We took the A roads as the rain was so heavy up our end, gave our lunch money to the nice people at Cromford Mill’s café and were getting lost in the poorly signed NEC road maze before we knew it. A couple of hours passed quietly at the hotel where our friend Dave Browne was booked in so he could nervously watch his home team in the Euros (sorry David) and this kept us occupied until it was time to saunter over to the Arena, having a quick word on the way with Jerry Bloom who was worryingly walking away from the venue, perhaps having been turned back for wearing a Tommy Bolin t-shirt (!), before meeting up with more old-timers in the foyer to natter until show time.
Rereading these thoughts now before posting on Monday morning, the whole event seems almost like something from a dream. Even as the lights dimmed, and into the concert itself, at times it just did not seem real at all. Twenty years wiped out as if they’d never happened, Rainbow back for another tour (feelings were running especially high at the time of Stranger In Us All, so I gave that one a miss. I’d followed him live every tour since 1971 up to that point…)
As the reality broke through, it was time to try and take stock. Certainly this was a Ritchie Blackmore in his seventies rather than in The Seventies. There is no getting away from the fact that some of the fluidity and speed isn’t there, and the occasional mis-fire could be heard, but he was still very much recognisable as our Ritchie Blackmore, one out on his own. He didn’t disgrace his legacy and worked with the restrictions time and age have imposed upon him rather than attempting anything too tricksy. And it was just so good to see and hear him with a Strat again.
If I did wonder during the odd moment why he’s been noodling away on a flipping hurdy gurdy for twenty years, then he must have his reasons. Whatever they were it was good to have the rock Ritchie Blackmore back, if only for a couple of hours.
There too is little hiding the fact that this was primarily a pension fund operation. By excluding any big names, the outlay could be minimised and the revenue maximised. With tickets and merchandise, he should have done well out of it and good luck to him on that level. It is a perfectly valid exercise; he has something a lot of fans wanted to see again and as it sold out in minutes then clearly there were more than enough of us ready to shell out our £55 squids plus expenses (£16.75 for a beefburger at the hotel if you were wondering. An extra quid if we’d wanted it in a bun!). But in turning up with scratch band and putting it on at the NEC you are in effect saying ‘this is a big deal’, and as such the audience deserved to be treated with some respect. And whatever the long and protracted backstory to these shows, I didn’t feel patronised from the stage at any point.
Given the apparent eventual lack of ambition for the return of Rainbow, I’d fought against getting caught up in it all right until two weeks ago, but I suppose curiosity got the better of me. That and perhaps the idea that by going I could close the circle on following Rainbow – sometimes avidly (I did around half the UK shows on the first couple of tours) – across 40 often turbulent years. I did try one Blackmore’s Night show a decade or so ago to see if I was missing something, but if anything it was even worse than the records, so I hadn’t ever planned or expected to see Blackmore live on stage again, content to live with the memories of those often glorious early concerts.
But then I had also vowed never to bother paying to attend a stadium rock show again, so come Saturday evening I was already eating my words before we even got inside!
I’ll leave set lists to others, it certainly didn’t deviate much from those in Germany, but Rainbow did more than enough to please just about everyone. Sure the band are not top flight, and are hardly a proper band, but the singer coped with most of the material, arguably best on the Ronnie Dio era tracks. He isn’t Ronnie, nobody could be, but there was a lot of power there and he didn’t hold back. His was always going to be an interpretation, Ronnie helped bring those tracks to life so they were personal, but this new guy delivered and I doubt he had any voice left to order breakfast on Sunday morning.
The vocals were also high in the mix to cut through a sometimes turgid NEC and stage sound, and were balanced against the guitar, which also got pushed up so we could all hear of what was going on. Blackmore then certainly wasn’t hiding or holding back, and while the playing wasn’t as spine tingling as it could be twenty years ago, it was mostly interesting and enjoyable. Overall his performance was very much a greatest hits sort of approach, little of the voyages off piste we used to enjoy so much perhaps, but more laying down a marker as if to decide whether this was something worth taking further in future or not.
He has said he wouldn’t want to do an album, but then he he has changed his mind in the past, and to give this much longevity it would need more commitment. I’m sure there are other markets to take the Rainbow experience to should he feel the need, enough to keep this version of the band rolling as a comfortable retirement project for a few years at least, if his arthritis doesn’t prevent it. Rarely has the line “I feel I’m getting older…” seemed more poignant than it did here, Ritchie doing the track perched on a barstool with an acoustic.
And then, two thirds of the way through a show I’d been enjoying for what it was, out of nowhere came a sledgehammer version of Stargazer which showed what could be achieved. It slammed into the crowd with an intensity and drive which I really hadn’t seen coming and was as blissful a few minutes at a rock show as I’ve had for ages. It reminded me of full-on Killing Joke or Ministry at their peak, and all at once you think, if they wanted to come back another time and do the full Rising album for us like this then you might just tap us for another couple of tickets. For me this alone was worth the price of admission and made me glad I’d bothered. If not, and he decides this is it, then it closed the Rainbow story for me on a good note. A few questions remain.
Will I bother to buy the inevitable CD / DVD (I didn’t see any cameras at the NEC show but the German gigs were apparently filmed as well as taped – though I doubt they were better)? Probably not. Like that dull Gillan’s Inn CD from a few years back, why would I not want to put on the best versions to listen to?
Would I go again if they do more greatest hits shows next year (as has been mooted)? I honestly doubt that with this band and the level of ability on show they would get much better, so I’ll be happy to leave it there.
Will the person operating the electric rainbow be able to get it right? It was funny to see even 40 years on that technology can still go wrong, with the timing and sequencing leaving gaps in the effects (which were pretty good) from time to time. Unless it was a subtle tribute to all those thousands of 1970s lightbulbs!
Joking aside, Stargazer and other moments during the evening (a very hard edged and riffy Burn springs to mind as I write) reminded me why we all put up with his antics over those years, and for all the sublime guitar work he has delivered across his career, a heartfelt thanks. In the hard rock arena no one has ever really come close. My life wouldn’t have been the same without it, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that…
We would like to thank Rob and Martin for giving us first refusal on spare tickets. It was also great to meet up with them and a number of the old crew. Mike, Dave, Andy, Russ and others helped relieve the inevitable pre-concert tension many of us felt as we tried try to work out just why we were there!
*Apparently Ritchie did sing along in Long Live Rock & Roll according to bassist Bob Curiano who posted a photo to prove it! As the band were too mean to pay for screens most of us missed it…
I have added a separate page for all the reviews and everything Rainbow show related. This has early comments on the first show, etc. There is a set spoiler too BUT I have buried this at the end of the page, so you will not stumble on it by accident!
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame have revealed their display for the Class of 2016, a small collection of memorabilia relating to the groups who are inducted this week. The display is written up in the local press at
but the two snaps show the Deep Purple artifacts – a pair of stage shoes, I’m not sure whose as the picture is too small, and more excitingly Ritchie’s original Gibson, which I think is still privately owned. And a copy of Jerry’s fanzine by the looks of it.
The ceremony is this Friday (8th) and apparently you can watch it via some sort of ticketed broadcast, but there will be a public TV edit of the evening at the end of April.
I do know one fan who is going (thought you’d sneak it past us eh Andy!) and if you’re local tickets are still available.
The rather crass montage of the band shows just 8 of the 10 members of the original band, so it’s still anyone’s guess who will be there! Ah well, if they can “forget” to invite Mick Taylor to the new Rolling Stones exhibition then they’ll be in good company.
Always a good start-back office chore is a careful sweep through the in-tray, which had crept up to 450+ emails over the winter break. And it does help bring things into focus.
Of course the music scene has rightly been mourning the death of Lemmy, one of rock’s great characters apparently according to the TV. I suppose that’s because most of the mainstream press didn’t really understand his music or playing ability. I still get shivers down my spine recalling that first eponymous Motorhead 12″ single on Chiswick Records which I bought close to release date back in 1977.
Somehow I never did get the see them live in those early days (and they did tour with Purple as recently as 2007), but had been a big Hawkwind fan and met Lemmy at one of those weird all night rock events at the Queens Hall in Leeds. I’ve no idea how but we ended up being allowed into the hospitality room for the concert performers and Lemmy conned a nice button badge off my brother’s jacket. All he can recall was being sat by the side of the stage watching the show when a naked American woman came over and sat beside him. “Oh well, I’d best get on and wobble these around a little,” she explained after a while before we realised it was Stacia.
Funnily enough I was doing some vinyl sorting last week and checked my mint copy of their second album, signed by all the band… except Lemmy himself. Mind you he was busy telling us how much grass he’d smoked during the day so perhaps it didn’t seem quite the moment to get all fanboyish!
Lemmy was always respectful of what he called Deep Purple’s place as the originators of hard rock (and one of the first to use pyrotechnics, at the California Jam).
Closer to home, we also lost our mate Martin Lilleker who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years. Martin was one of those irreplacable and unique cogs in the local community music scene; he wrote music columns for the local press for decades, ran a label for a time, helped manage and played live a bit too. In recent years he also documented the scene magnificently across two thick paperbacks on the history of Sheffield bands going back to the early 60s. I helped him with a few bits for these and when I bemoaned the poor design of the first book’s cover he let me have a free hand on book two and was brave enough to go ahead with an admittedly quite eye popping montage! It’s guys like Martin which make living in Sheffield just that little bit more enjoyable and we’ll miss him.
Looking forward it’s amazing how much enjoyment people get looking back, if the flurry of excitement about a new audience tape of Deep Purple from back in Feb 1972 at the Dagenham Roundhouse is to go by. The owner had got in touch with us in the lead-up to Christmas but seemed unable to wait to see if this could be done officially and pushed it out into the pirate networks instead. Amazing that new recordings can still emerge after forty plus years. It seems churlish to point out (as one expert did) that the cover photo is from the night before…!
Talking of history, a few people have pointed me to a copy of Wait For The Ricochet currently selling on ebay. Or rather not selling, as the owner wants £1,001.86 for it. Since I went to have a peep (just to see if it was for real) ebay now keep asking me if I’d like “to take another look?”! I wouldn’t mind but the cheeky sod wants £2.75 postage as well… I added it as a watched item just to get his hopes up.
Hopefully this year we’ll get it back into print, but the priority right now is in finishing the follow-up, Fire In The Sky. And tracking down the current owner of the E-Type Jag Jon drove down to Montreux in. It’s all in the detail!
With the fun and games over the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame still ongoing, it’s good to see friends and fans of the late Cozy Powell have been able to organise things with far less aggro, and are putting up a blue plaque in the town of his birth, Cirencester. It’s very short notice, but if you’re free on January 7th then there is a public unveiling at the Corn Hall at 2.30pm with Brian May doing the honours. People like Bernie Marsden, Don Airey and Neil Murray will be there. It looks as if the long-mooted documentary on Cozy is also now in the works. The man himself would have been 70 next year.
As for ‘works’ we’re fairly confident the major labels are now about sorted when it comes to the Deep Purple classic era catalogue. The bizarre Universal LP box set (below) looks a real dog’s dinner, but I’m told better things are on the way with the return to catalogue of most of the regular albums (incredibly many have been off the shelves for some years now). There are also plans afoot with regards to other areas of the catalogue about which more as the year unfolds. I have had meetings with some of the people involved and it looks quite promising.
Some of you have also got the Rainbow gigs to look forward to. I guess we can’t really call it a reunion when only one member is coming back, but for everyone who missed out it looks as if more shows will follow in 2017. A souped up version of the first album is also due, though as the mutli-tracks are still lost there isn’t too much scope for content.
The first pics of the new Rainbow came through recently, reminding me of that excitement back in 75 when shots of the first group emerged and were being posted about by people to reproduce in fanzines etc. I shall not be hurrying to repeat the experience this time round!
As for Purple themselves it’s still good to listen to play bits and pieces off Now What so hopefully the band can again produce something of interest when they start recording in the next few weeks (will the first one into the studio hide Don’s ELP collection?).
I’ve got my plate full with design work to wrap up on three books this month, so I’d best fire up InDesign and get cracking. But before I do, here’s a few anniversaries coming up in 2016 to make everyone feel that little bit older!
10th anniversary of Rapture Of The Deep
20th anniversary of Purpendicular
25th anniversary of the Slaves & Masters world tour
30th anniversary of the Seventh Star album with Glenn Hughes
35th anniversary of Whitesnake’s Don’t Break My Heart Again hit single.
40th anniversary of Deep Purple Mk 4’s final concerts.
45th anniversary of Fireball.
50th anniversary of Art Gallery by The Artwoods.
Simon Robinson. My thanks to factoid checkers and news editors Mike Richards, Martin Ashberry, Tim Summers, Vince Chong, Mark Maddock, Matthew Kean and Ian Gillan’s surprise dinner guest – Britney Spears.
The extent (sic) of Ritchie’s 2016 rock tour is now confirmed and comprises the two German dates already posted here and one UK date. Ritchie is saying that this will be it for 2016, although he has not ruled out more dates in 2017.
The good news is that having passed on Download, the promoters are now saying the UK show will be indoors at the Birmingham NEC Arena on June 25th. Tickets go on sale on the morning of November 6th. The band line up will be announced a couple of days before, but from the names being passed around on the web, comprise nobody we’ve ever heard of anyway! The NEC site link for the show is not yet live.
The German promoters have put up a Faceache page with some basic info and a bio.
Thanks to everyone for helping us with the news. Names withheld to protect the innocent!
Given all the denials on various websites about the festival, I was half tempted to edit the post (below), but I think it’s more a case of the promoter needing to get the news out there and start selling tickets, and everyone back at Castle Blackmore being caught on the hop at the speed of German logistics! This advert has just reached us via several emails (not sure who first posted it) and confirms a second show in Germany. Two days, each in a different muddy field! But despite my reservations it is nevertheless quite emotional to see THAT artwork in print again after 40 years. Have my Knebworth wellies dried out yet?