Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow / Mostly Autumn Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 09, 2016    
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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow / Mostly Autumn - LG Arena, Birmingham (UK) - 25 June 2016

Wow, who would have thought that we would ever see this again? Ritchie Blackmore, under the guise of Rainbow, playing classic Deep Purple and Rainbow material. Something we all hoped for but never expected. What makes me laugh about it though is the fact that this show sold out ten minutes before the tickets went on sale. Amazing when you think that this is the same man who fronts Blackmore's Night, but who many blinkered people here tonight wouldn't go and see because he's not playing 'Heavy Metal' and it's probably 'uncool.' Being a long-time supporter of Blackmore's music, I never had this problem, and, more often than not, he would play stuff from the Deep Purple and Rainbow catalogues at these shows. Chances were then that he would still be very familiar with a lot of the music.

First up, however, was Mostly Autumn. Well, no actually, it was only three of them, and, having seen them before, I have to say they have been better. Maybe the material doesn't work properly with less band members but I thought I heard bits out of tune tonight, which surprised me considerably.

So, on to the reason everybody was here, and naturally, Blackmore was last on stage, after the rest of the band. None of these had ever been in Rainbow before but the bass player and keyboardist have been part of BN for years. What everybody was curious about, however, was the vocalist, Ronnie Romero, who turned out to be, well, stunning.

After we knew we were 'Over The Rainbow', 'Highway Star' burst out from the speakers to take us on a trip through Rock Heaven. 'Spotlight Kid', 'Mistreated', 'Since You've Been Gone', and 'Man On The Silver Mountain' reminded us all how good this stuff really was. Bearing in mind that every one of these were all sung by different people originally, Romero hit them all square on the nose.

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Unlike the past, the electronic rainbow worked faultlessly and I remember thinking that the whole light show was very impressive as we carried on with Blackmore sitting for an acoustic version of 'Soldier Of Fortune', 'Difficult To Cure' (incorporating solos from the other three musicians), 'Catch The Rainbow', 'Perfect Strangers', 'Long Live Rock And Roll', and, what was probably a highlight for many, 'Child In Time' and 'Stargazer'.

I had seen a few reviews of this show before writing mine and, being a guitar player, I tend to pay particular attention to that part of the music. And maybe it's me, as everybody else has been raving about Blackmore still being able to play the same as he used to, but I think that the particularly tricky bits were all played on the keyboard while Blackmore did some 'Reggae'-style strumming. I don't have a problem with this, as it has been twenty years or so since he played some of these songs, but I do wish people would be honest about these things, or at least open their eyes.

'Black Night' closed the main set before they came back for the encore with 'Burn' and obviously 'Smoke On The Water'. It was interesting that the last three songs were all Purple numbers and I was surprised that they didn't do 'Stargazer' as an encore song. I would have really loved to have heard 'Gates Of Babylon' somewhere during the evening but I only ever saw him play this live once in all the times I have seen Rainbow, and that was back in the early Ronnie James Dio days.

So that was it, probably for the last time ever, but you never know. Ritchie Blackmore couldn't help but notice how well the tickets sold and how enthusiastic the crowd was on the night. I can't imagine he would want to get involved in all the hassle of large production touring in the future, and who could blame him, but it would be nice to think we may see this again.

Andy Brailsford

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