Australia Tour 1976

Melbourne Festival Hall - November 9, 1976

Ritchie their pot of gold

Is it true that good things are found at the end of the rainbow? If the audience at Festival Hall last night was a guide, then Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is their pot of gold.

Under the flashing lights of their huge coloured arch, Rainbow launched into what can only be described as ear-splitting heavy metal rock.

Led by Blackmore, they produced a sound with strong overtones of his former group Deep Purple, an agressive drive broken by small brackets of old standards and blues.

A slow blues followed a short lead break from Lazy which introduced Man on the Silver Mountain.

Ronnie James Dio's vocals and Blackmore's guitar work provided the backbone to most of their numbers including Catch The Rainbow, and, believe it or not, Greensleeves.

Keyboard player Tony Carey created some interesting sound using synthesizer, mellotron and organ during a solo performance of Stargazer.

They will do one more concert at Festival Hall on November 22.

Christine Morris, Melbourne The Age, November 10, 1976

Melbourne Festival Hall - November 9, 1976

Rainbow in concert

The concert started with the support group Buffalo, who played a reasonable bracket of material from their new album. But unfortunately the audience were keyed up to see Rainbow and therefore their reception was not what they deserved.

After an interval of half an hour Rainbow were on stage in a blaze of color and movement. Unfortunately for the first song Richie Blackmore's guitar was completely inaudible and so the concert didn't really have any impact until the second song, the Deep Purple classic "Mistreated". In this song there is a lot of latent emotion and feeling that we only sew glimpses of in Rainbow's rendition, Rainbow has been constantly touring for eight months, so it is understandable that they don't play the song the same way at every performance they would probably become jaded and lose their enthuislasm for performing. So instead of a relatively straight performance, there were many little additions within the songs. But it was questionable whether they actually enhanced the song, or undermined the impact.

Richie Blackmore's guitar playing was the feature of all these songs, the quiet intricate guitarist one minute, a blasting chordal guitarist the next. But it wasn't until the song "Stargazer" (about half way through the set) that the band fired in the way the audience had been anticipatring. The essence of Rainbow's second album "Rainbow Rising" was high energy power, and from 'Stargazer' onwards they supplied it.

'Stargazer' was introduced by Tony Carey with a good keyboard/synthesizer solo, which showed that he certainty lacks no talent. Cozy Powell's drum solo in 'Stargazer' was amazing. He is one of the hardest hitting drummers around, which he proved during his solo. Even though he used tried and tested rolls, he made them live, he gave them a power that no one else could give them. To finish the solo, he used the final part of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" as a climax, a clever innovation in drum solos.

Their encore, "The Light Turns Into Dark" topped the night, with Richie Blackmore smashing his guitar, and then reappearing with another one to bring the band to yet a higher peak. The overall concept of the concert was well thought out. The backdrop during the first half of the concert was the castle from Rainbow's first album cover, and then after "Stargazer" began, it was changed to the graphic from Rainbow Rising.

At the end of the concert before the encore, a neon sign descended from tne roof, simply stating the band's name in a letter face similiar to their latest album. But it was the rainbow that was the most impressive effect The electronic lighting on the rainbow was amazing. Lines of colored lighting chasing each other, changing in intensity with the music.

The concert showed that Rainbow has a well thought out performance, and that Ronnie Dio, Richie Blackmore and Cozy Powell are possibly three of the most dynamic rock musicians in the world today. Rainbow has taken high energy rock concerts one step further than anyone else, although they are perhaps the last of the great heavy metal bands.

Keith Hughes, Austalian Newspaper, November 1976

Melbourne Festival Hall - November 9, 1976

The Doctor travelled later to the airport to meet another Master — one Ritchie Blackmore, the king of heavy metal guitar, Ritchie came off the plane at a low gait dressed in black as usual. Members of the band scurried around but Ritchie maintained an easy equilibrium — perhaps to bend notes and time on stage requires relaxed acceptance of space/time/normal — the doctor looked at Ritchie's hands and marvelled that such fire could come from them — they seemed normal enough. Ronnie Dio walked by wearing a leopard skin jacket looking more heavy than Ritchie but only superficially — Ritchie carried a different kind of electricity. Perhaps it was potential energy like a lightbulb waiting to be switched on — neuter until lit it has the ability to light or incinerate the world.

Scrooge was arguing with some of the roadies, Garry Van had it all together, Simon was making sure all was going well. One of the roadies carried baseball bats — seemed he was a pro player before coming a roadie — several of the band played cassette players loud in the terminal — the high accoustics caught the sound and echoed it as if through a public address system, Ritchie did not have a tape recorder — he had all the music running through his head and hands — he was ready for anything.

At Festival Hall a totally packed house — all waiting in anticipation. The Doctor presents his tickets onlyto be shuttled to the balcony — he is not pleased he determines to move up at interval. Buffalo play quite a fair, heavy set although they lack any kind of colour and the audience just doesn't want to know - sporadic cries of 'we want Ritchie' are heard. Finally extremely late at 9.30 the lights go up the doctor sashays down the front to find a seat in the third row next to Rockin' Robin and Bob Starkey.

Now the show can begin. After fifteen minutes of feverish activety the lights go down — when they go up the Rainbow starts running with laser beam light and Ritchie is on stage tearing at his guitar — a whole host rushes to the front of the stage - everyone jumps up on their seat and Ronnie James Dio begins to articulate in high pitched broken notes that fly and blend with all the sound around. The sound of Rainbow mixes and coagulates in the air then falls like savage rain from heaven on the multitude below - Ritchie's first solo shoots at sulphuric speed into the ears.

He waves his head from side to side, points to the sky, points to the ground, his fingers dance over the fret board, dance off the guitar as if touching the essence of the night and the light. His fingers have life of their own, he is watching them with that expression of abject wonder the doctor remembers from seeing him the past two times. Cozy Powell is laying down heartbeats and the experience of light years and Dio is wailing and bending with the tide and the power.

'Mean Mistreater' lives again, 'Man of the Silver Mountain'. Hendrix is dead, Clapton has thrown in the towel but Ritchie lives — see him coaxing the strings then tearing them apart like some mad Orpheus denied the pleasures of the underground determined to exploit the last lifefilled sounds of the wood and steel - see him coming over the top of the board, hitting the ax from underneath each movement creating, creating, creating a new music for the universe. Then come the magic runs when his hands are a blue blur and the notes that he ejaculates are in a sequence too fast for human ears. He drenches the front row with orange juice (he doesn't drink) and a hundred pairs of hands are raised up to him — he touches them on all in an arc of his arms which then flies back to THE guitar.

Maybe Ritchie stayed inside when all the other kids were outside playing football just so he could practice — maybe he is a solitary men — but when he plays he is on the side of the angels and they are behind his every mystical move. The lights go up and there is pandemonium — 'We want Ritchie' echoes again and again. Then the rainbow blazes to life, a single spot finds the man at the front of the stage bashing, striking, making love to the Fender around his neck — the notes cascade like a Getting Gun and then the guitar is bounced off the floor, smashed over the amplifiers. ends its days in a screaming sacrifice to a crowd that could not get enough of it. Dio sings the words of 'Do you close your eyes when you're making love?" and the guitar in splendid pieces flies out into the lights. into the high night above all eyes and hearts — Ritchie grabs another guitar, finishes the tune and that is it.

There is no way any tune can follow that and for the first time there are no further cries of 'More' for no one could be dissatisfied — orgasmic necessities have been fulfilled — Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is without doubt one of the worlds great groups — Ritchie has no peer on guitar in today's rock world and the show was one of the, if not the, most spectacular and beautiful events the doctor has ever been fortunate enough to witness and experience When this show gets beck in town it you don't go and see it you're nuts.

Austalian Newspaper, November 1976

Melbourne Festival Hall - November 9, 1976

You haven't heard loud music till you hear RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S "RAINBOW". I can't ever remember hearing anything as loud in Festival Hall. The show was scheduled to start at 8.15 pm, but as usual it was late, a half hour in fact. The stage was extended out to accommodate their mammoth, computer controlled rainbow arc. Further back stage, were mountains of speaker boxes and various electronic pieces of equipment. Opening the show was "Buffalo", who in my opinion has a lot to learn. For a start, the band was in the unenviable position of opening a show to an angry crowd (due to the late start).

However, I do believe, the band has a lot to learn when it comes to working to a concert audience. Musically, Buffalo was compatible with "Rainbow", but their pacing, their bits of talk, turned greater percentage of the crowd against them. They knew nothing about 'light and shade', nor did they really give a lot of thought to their dress. No matter what type of music you are into, you must still consider the overall professional look of your act and in my opinion Buffalo didn't.

By the time interval came along, the crowd was rearing to go. Just like a boppers concert, a lot of people rushed to the front of the stage for a birdseye view of the scene. However this was not for long. The 'friendly' bouncers came along and moved everyone back to their seats. The house lights dropped and Festival Hall was about to witness one of the greatest light and sound production shows ever to take the stage there. What can only be described as BRILLIANT STAGE CHARISMA, it didn't really matter if you were into Blackmore's type of music or not, you had to be taken in by the brilliant light show. Every conceivable combination of colour was used in the show and the highlight had to be the flash bomb which was ignited during the drum solo.

From the time Ritchie Blackmore came on stage and right through till he left, he had the crowd 'eating out of his hands'. A surly looking guy, he is certainly a master of the guitar! Apart from an early incident, where he emptied a glass of drink over a bouncer who was attempting to move the crowd, Blackmore held a tight rope over his band. At different times through the show, each member beautifully executed a solo. The lightning during these solos was something you had to see with your own eyes. Certainly a great concert and I suggest if you didn't see the show last week, you should go for the return concert on the 22nd.

Austalian Newspaper, November 1976

Sydney Hordern Pavilion - November 11, 1976

The P.A. stunk on dry ice, but Ritchie was real neat. No two ways about it, Blackmore's Rainbow is the sort of band about which legends are made. More than image they've got presence, more than energy they've got necromancy.

And it's not just Ritchie, no way. Rainbow is a band where strong personalities collide and meld. Thank God Ritchie didn't do a Paul McCartney and put a group of jolly nice but featureless personalities. The P.A. system more often than not, sounded like a berserk concrete mixer chewing a particularly grating mixture of gravel. For one, it had too few treble horns to handle the power Rainbow's amplifiers put out. Two, the bass bins betrayed their age and clapped out condition by reducing the end into a toneless boom.

Blackmore through the concert was throwing his arms in the air and pulling anguished faces as if to say "Oh Jeeeeeee-suuuuuusss!" Yeah, but the buck has to stop somewhere Ritchie, and fairly or unfairly, it ultimately stops at the Top Name. But even though the tone was shithouse, if this review concentrated on this defect, it'd be missing the main point. The main point is that it's always peculiarly thrilling and energising to see truly powerful band stretch it's muscles and hammer home it's magnificence. It's the feeling of been clasped by a gigantic force, there's nothing you can do to escape it and indeed, why try? Go along for the ride.

The front line of force in Rainbow is Blackmore, singer Ronnie James Dio and drummer Cozy Powell. Blackmore, judging from the times he wasn't showing agony over the sound, is a happier player than the cold, mean-eyed bastard that I last saw at Sunbury. Back then he was in the business of holding together a sprawling, untogether Deep Purple whose natural propensity seemed to be towards falling asleep on stage.

This time he has a wide-awake foil in the squat, gnomish form of Ronnie Dio. Ronnie is one of those very rare singers who can scream at the top of exceptionally powerful lungs and stay in absolute tune at the same time. He's so ridiculously, so easily good, you wonder why he wasn't a major leaguer years ago. Then you think, but what would have happened if Robert Plant had never met one James Page Esq.

The point is I guess that perfect rock marriages between singers and guitarists happen only in heaven or hell. Just like Page/Plant or Jagger/Richards, once you see a perfectly matched singer/guitarist combination you suddenly can't imagine them without each other for evermore. The Gillan/Blackmore combination from Purple was once considered a pretty nifty combination, but Dio/Blackmore seem to have some chemistry that's extra special.

And right behind them is Cozy Powell. He hits drums harder and faster than anyone who's been in Oz since John Bonham. His solo was a thunderous showpiece of showmanship and strength, the 1812 Overture came belting through the P.A. and Powell joined in with it and just ploughed through the massed trumpets and cannon roars.

Look, there's just no space to take it much further. Rainbow presented the bulk of their two albums Rainbow and Rainbow Rising and one Deep Purple number, Mistreated. There was Stargazer, Tarot Woman, Man On The Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves and Still I'm Sad. The encore was Do You Close Your Eyes during which Blackmore did the best guitardestructo act I've ever seen. I mean he smashed into pieces like Jack the Ripper running amok in a brothel with a meat axe. As he did it, he keep looking up and shaking his hands in frustration at the sound. Then he'd go back to wrecking his guitar. That's the one good thing the P.A. was responsible for. It lent credibility and anger to Ritchie's guitar smashing routine.

Bassist Jimmy bain and keyboard player Tony Carey were solid, though relatively unspectacular. And the lights and the computer electronic Rainbow? Sure they were pretty and all, although not quite as spectacular as their pre-promotion suggested they'd be. But who wants to look at an electronic rainbow when Cozy's drumming, Ronnie's singing and Ritchie Blackmore is working his fingers over his guitar in a fashion that's half karma sutra and half karate.

Anthony O'Grady, Australian Newspaper, November 1976

Sydney Hordern Pavilion - November 16, 1976

Plagued by sound problems throughout his second Sydney concert, Ritchie Blackmore cut his set short without setting fire to his guitar and retreated angrily, refusing to return for an encore. Enraged punters then proceeded to turn the front rows of the Hodern into so much kindling.

Tenacious tour manager Graeme 'Scrooge' Madigan, having delivered sufficient warnings to desist, leapt into the midst of the hooligans and, with as little effort as possible, dispatched three of them to the land of nod. The devastation came to an abrupt halt at that very point.

Rocklens (Book by Australian Photographer Bob King)

Sydney Hordern Pavilion - November 16, 1976


SYDNEY: Pop fans brawled and smashed seats at the Hordern Pavilion last night - because visiting pop star Ritchie Blackmore couldn't get petrol to set fire to his guitar.

Blackmore, formerly leadguitarist with the top group Deep Purple, always ends his stage act by smashing his guitar. Last night Blackmore had planned to end his act by setting fire to his guitar, but was beaten by the oil strike. The fans rioted when Blackmore and his group ended their season and walked off the stage without returning for the guitar-smashing encore.

Blackmore and his group arrive in Adelaide tomorrow night. They are scheduled to give two near sell-out concerts at Festival Theatre Friday and Saturday nights. Last night crowd of 4,000 hooted, catcalled and began tearing out chairs and throwing them at the stage.

As brawls broke out all over the hall, the pavilion manager, Mr. Alf Fryer, moved among the crowd explaining that the pavilion management was not responsible for Blackmore's actions. The fans kept brawling, and Mr. Fryer was forced to call police, who dispersed the crowd. No arrest were made.


Mr. Fryer said today the riot was the ugliest he had seen at the Hordern Pavilion. "The crowd was really angry with Blackmore and I called the police because it looked as though someone was going to get badly hurt." he said. If Blackmore had explained that he was not coming back for an encore, everything would probably have been okay."

Australian Newspaper, November 1976

Sydney Hordern Pavilion - November 16, 1976

I was at that concert on 16 November 1976... it was for Blackmore's Rainbow as they were called back then... I remember Blackmore would not do an encore and set fire to his guitar because he could not get any petrol because of an oil strike... the crowd went wild when they realised Blackmore wasnt coming out for an encore...

It was a great concert otherwise with some memorable musical moments... the band was: Ritchie Blackmore (guitar); Ronnie James Dio (vocals); Jimmy Bain (bass); Tony Carey (keyboards) and Cozy Powell (drums)...

James Thomas James

Adelaide Festival Theatre - November 18, 1976

So in 1975 Ritchie Blackmore has decided to part ways with Deep Purple, yes the same Ritchie that gave us the most recognizable and played guitar riff in rock history, Smoke on the Water!!!!

After leaving Purple, Ritchie teams up with the singer of ELF, Ronnie James Dio, a band that often supported DP. Both muso’s had a fascination for the medieval and mystic sounds, which when blended with Ritchie’s guitar playing and Ronnie’s hard rock vocals, created the sound that was, Rainbow.

The 1976 world tour was the result of two albums and one in the making, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Rainbow Rising and Long Live Rock n Roll. The line up I saw, was the Mark11 version, Ritchie, Ronnie, Cozy Powell on drums, Jimmy Bain on bass and Tony Carey on keyboards, and what a line up.

First the stage setup, a huge computerized rainbow spanning from one side to the other side of the stage, nearest to the front, stacks of Marshalls, Cozy’s huge double bass drum kit, Tony’s keyboards in a near full circle, album cover back drops.

The show ebbed and flowed amazingly from the seering Kill the King to the slower Catch the Rainbow, while occasionally being mesmerized by a Ritchie solo. Speaking of solo’s, Cozy unleashed such a drum solo, which when infused with the lighting effects, that to this day I have never seen replicated.

This was without doubt the best gig I had seen and stood at No.1 until 1988, when a legendary English band took the mantle.

Awesome, amazing, I’ll never forget this one. RIP Cozy Powell

Set List - 1976 November 18:
Over the Rainbow (Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz)
Kill the King
Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
Catch the Rainbow
Long Live Rock n Roll
Man on the Silver Mountain
Still I’m Sad
Do you Close your Eyes

Concert rating: 9.5 out of 10 near perfect.

The Bernster

Adelaide Festival Theatre - November 19, 1976

Rainbow goes on rising

WANTED: For assault and battery - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.

Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, late of heavyweight Deep Purple, and his ear-shattering Anglo-American outfit took rock-'n-roll by the seat of pants and kicked it unmercifully around Festival Theatre for an hour and a half last night. All, however, to the audible delight of the capacity crowd.

It was an awesome, unforgettable experience. Aboard a stage crammed with 26 tonnes of speakers and equipment was a starting new device - an enormous are towering around and above the five-man band, and firing a frenzied tusion of cascading colored lights. And at one end of the rainbow stood 31-year-old, black-suited, pokerfaced Blackmore, unpretentiously, peeling off mesmerizing runs from his white guitar, which, contrary to speculation was neither broken nor burnt by the end of the show.

Blackmore, a veteran of 20 years playing and an unlikely admirer of German Baroque music, interweaves an enormous variety of styles into his outwardly heavy metal image. Among his best were "Stargazer" and "Man on the Silver Mountain".

Another surprise was rainbow's explosive drummer Cozy Powell, a non-stop powerhouse, underpinning every song with an unmistakable drive from his oversize drumkit. Powell, 29, a much-lauded drummer and sometime racing driver, smashes the senses with a mind-boggling drum solo that hits a thumping crescendo as he spars with a taped orchestra through the fiery closing stages of the "1812 Overture".

Unhappily, at the end of the Rainbow there was no encore, just the strains of Judy Garland accompanied by the boos of some understandably disappointed patrons.

Ian Meikle, Australian Newspaper, November 1976

Adelaide Festival Theatre - November 20, 1976

Having arrived from England on the 19th Nov, both the Rainbow concerts within reach were sold out. Luckily though they decided to include an extra afternoon concert starting at 5pm, and I was able to get to this. The support group, Buffalo, were yer average chord bashing bunch, and got half an hour, Then came Judy Garland and "The Boys". As it was an extra concert, they weren't exactly leaping about or delivering manic solo's, as they had the 8pm show to think about.

This didn't detract from the performance though, great stuff! My only gripe was that Ritchie was mixed down too far, especially during Stargazer which was one of the high spots. The set was basically the same as the UK tour, but no encore. During Carey's solo intro to the number a broomstick appeared and started poking Carey in the back and other places!, he carried on but kept one eye on the culprits..... lurking in the shadows were Dio and Blackmore!

When Dio came out to sing he brought the broom with him and lent on it, finally riding off on it while Ritchie went into his solo. This type of looning was evident throughout the gig. There couldn't have been more than 200 people there, of whom only half a dozen had any idea what was going on. They didn't even recognize the Lazy bit!

Silver Mountain was dedicated to half the audience, "Bob Adcocks family", and Dio changed the lyrics about so that it was "lift my rubbish higher", causing Ritchie to grin. Ritchie got the press going with stories of a grand guitar burning climax which never happened. In fact he didn't wreck a thing in three gigs in Adelaide, maybe because strats are 825 dollars retail here!

Howard Kehl

Australian Tour 1976

In November '76, BUFFALO supported RAINBOW on their Australian tour, although due to financial constraints, BUFFALO did not support them on the Perth or Adelaide gigs. Dates BUFFALO played:

MELBOURNE, Festival Hall, Tuesday 9th November
SYDNEY, Hordern Pavilion, Thursday 11th November
NEWCASTLE, Civic Theatre, Friday 12th November
BRISBANE, Festival Hall, Saturday 13th November
SYDNEY, Hordern Pavilion, Tuesday 16th November

Just prior to the tour, the band had decided to call it a day, so the boys wanted to make it a memorable one. And one it was, the tour wasn't easy. Grahame 'Yogi' Harrison recalls that while RAINBOW and their crew flew everywhere, the BUFFALO 'herd' were relegated to driving between each gig, even doing over-nighters all the way with virtually no sleep. Still they had fun & played some great shows.

The major highlight was the last show in Sydney where disgruntled "Rainbow" fans trashed several rows of the Hordern Pavilion seating after Ritchie Blackmore refused to return for an encore. Blackmore's reputation as a difficult musician was well-known and his temper tantrums were as legendary as his playing. At the Hordern, Blackmore had a small, private dressing room directly next to the room occupied by BUFALLO.

While BUFFALO were in party-mode, Blackmore was decidedly upset. He launched a telephone book over the wall separating the two rooms and it hit Yogi on the shoulder. The irate roadie pounded on the next room's door which was opened by a surprisingly timid Blackmore. After getting his ears pinned back by a volley of abuse from Yogi, Blackmore meekly apologised and closed the door. It was only some time later that Yogi realised that he had abused one of the world's most legendary guitarists and had gotten away with it!

Eagle, The Buffalo Story

Welcome to the politically incorrect 1970s world of primal Australian heavyweights Buffalo. The band who made AC/DC sound like The Seekers. The band who blew Black Sabbath offstage. The band whom Ritchie Blackmore tried to sabotage.

Buffalo ploughed on, releasing the Baxter-less album Mother’s Choice in March 1976, but they were running out of steam. Still, they continued their hard-touring schedule, snaffling the support slot with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow on their tour of Australia in November 1976.

“That wasn’t a very pleasant experience,” recalls Tice. “We were treated like unwanted guests and in most instances allowed only limited use of PA and lights. In Adelaide, Mr Blackmore actually tried to sabotage our set. Pete Wells’s bass amp power cord was mysteriously pulled out halfway through a song and then Jimmy was assaulted by pieces of backstage rubbish thrown at him while he was trying to play drums. Of course, soundchecks never happened either.”

Dave Tice, Buffalo singer