US Tour 1979

Civic Center, Lansing MI - September 22, 1979

Mystery accompanies Blackmore set

Richie Blackmore has been known to smash his guitar on stage. He sometimes plays with his teeth or on his back. At the Civic Center last Saturday night, a restrained Blackmore sometimes hid behind the amps or disappeared from view. Rainbow was finishing its opening set. Don Airey completed an aggressive keyboard solo that had classical overtones. Cozy Powell finished an awesome drum solo that featured some clever lighting. The sellout crowd was cheering with rock and roll madness. The bassist returned and the floodlights lit up the stage. An electric guitar was heard for the closing bars of their final tune, but Blackmore was nowhere in sight.

There was no encore and no explanation. Airey was asked afterwards what had happened to the former Deep Purple lead guitarist. "I don't know. I haven't seen him since. He's like that. There is a bit of mystery about him." Just before the lights came back on, a roadie was seen carrying a white Fender guitar in the darkness. He had the same kind of guitar that Blackmore played. Was no guitarist visible for the final song because a roadie was the real musician?

Rainbow had come all the way from England. Saturday's concert was only the fifth time the current band had performed together. Its lack of tightness was more obvious when the group that came from New York City followed. Blue Oyster Cult showed what professional heavy metal rock and roll is all about. From its opening song to the encore, Blue Oyster Cult knew just what to do. It quickly earned its right for the headline spot. Even though the volume level was outrageous all night, the Cult's sound was cleaner and improved over Rainbow's mix. Its pacing, crisp endings and visual effects were well planned. The intensity never let up and many of the young audience never sat down.

With enough guitars to stock a small music store, members of Blue Oyster Cult switched to different instruments. At times the vocalist stood with the bassist and lead player. They formed a line as they all played guitar. The keyboardist often joined them with a guitar of his own. Even the drummer joined in up-front for the finale. All five guitarists squeezed out a supersonic skyscraper of sound as they traded leads, licks and screaming harmonies.

David Winkelstern
Lansing State Journal - September 24, 1979

Civic Center, Lansing MI - September 22, 1979

Musique cultique

Last Saturday's (September 22) Blue Oyster Cult/Rainbow concert proved alternately fuzzy, puzzling — and dazzling. The Lansing Civic Center crowd, however, never seemed to notice anything but the music's solid foundation, the rock-bottom beat of Rock 'n' Roll. Rainbow began the evening colorfully enough, stroking in tints of classical and traditional melodies. Inevitably, the audience waited for a hint of Rainbow's hits, like "Man on the Silver Mountain," or especially their newest, "Since You Been Gone," but were disappointed.

The group's act ended in a fizzle, as power-guitarist Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple upbringing played the entire last song off to the left side of the stage behind the curtain in an apparent tantrum. Still unseen, Blackmore began a whiny solo of "My Country 'Tis of Thee," to end after only a couple bars in a twang. A guitar solo in the wings? The unknown comic/guitarist? Whatever the point, this display seemed an immature idea of a musician's artist-to audience relationship. At worst, Blackmore seemed unable to control his emotions; at best, his was some strange British sense of humor, inaccessible to Michigan tastes. In any case, Lansing's enthusiastic audience deserved more.

Daneen Wardrop
Lansing Star - September 27, 1979

Broome County Arena, Binghamton NY - September 26, 1979

Binghamton — are you ready for the eighth wonder of the world?" screamed the promoter. There was no need to ask twice. A multitude of fists flew into the air, matches shot up in the darkness, feet stomped against up in the darkness, feet stomped against the floor, and a familiar rowdy yell of "WAHOO" rose from the wild mass of 6,000. No group could possibly have been better prepared for that eighth wonder the magic of rock 'n' roll done well, the magic brought home to the Broome County Arena last night by the Blue Oyster Cult. When a group like the Blue Oyster Cult rocks the Arena, it does it in the literal sense - one can feel the walls hum. And when Broome County's teenage community turns out to have a good time, it parties as though doomsday were just around the corner.

"How's everyone in Bingo?" asked a smiling Eric Bloom, vocalist of the Blue Oyster Cult, as the five-member group emerged on stage. It was a perfect romance from the word go. Bloom is a born entertainer who sets out to give the audience all they want, and last night's audience came to the Arena expecting to take all it could get. The group kicked off the night with two songs from its new Mirrors album — Dominance and Submission and Dr. Musk, but it was not until the third number, the well-structured Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll that the tempo of the evening reached the hip energy level people had come to hear. From that point on, the Blue Oyster Cult just didn't let up.

They played at least one song from each of the six albums the group has put out since it took on the name of the Blue Oyster Cult in 1971. They played with the impressive skill of musicians who have had considerable experience playing together; the band's membership hasn't changed since its formation, and it shows in a unity of presentation. Absent from last night's concert was the laser light show that the Blue Oyster Cult used the last time it visited the Arena in May 1978. Nevertheless, the lighting and stage show was still superbly done, with colored strobe lights swimming around the audience, mist rising from the stage, machine gun-like white lights that seemed to fire on the audience and theatrical superspeed flashes that, when played upon drummer Albert Bouchard during a remarkable drum solo, made the scene appear like something out of a science fiction movie.

Probably the peak of the evening's musical fare was the song Godzilla, which Bloom introduced with a few lines of Japanese and a startled cry of "Uh-oh, it's coming this way!" while the sound of monstrous footsteps echoed in the background. Lead guitarist Donald Roeser's swift picking expertise rocked the group steadily through their set and established him as the most outstanding musician of the evening, although bassist Joe Bouchard and keyboard player Allen Lanier were in no way lacking in competency.

Rainbow, the group that opened the evening for the Blue Oyster Cult, should not go without notice, although few people favored it over the main attraction. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover, both former Deep Purple members, roared about on stage for nearly an hour. Drummer Cozy Powell, an ex-Jeff Beck group member, did a talented solo number while a powerful white beam threw a messianic aura around him from behind, highlighting the opening act and getting the crowd in an aroused state.

Before it finished, Rainbow degenerated into smashing a guitar on stage and throwing it out into the audience. But much of what the group gained in howls from such action, it lost in respect. Sean Thornton, 13, one of the youngest people in the audience (which generally ranged in age from 15-23) said. "If a group is good enough, they wouldn't have to do stuff like that. Some of the stuff they do is pretty childish."

They ended last night's performance (which lasted about 90 minutes) with a powerful version of Steppenwolf's hit of the late 60's, Born to be Wild. They were unanimously called back for an encore and drew screams of delight from the audience by closing off the evening with their biggest hit, Don't Fear the Reaper.

Jonathan Greenberg
Press and Sun-Bulletin - September 27, 1979

Erie County Field House, Erie PA - September 27, 1979

I can offer one update for the 1979 gig list. The opening act for the show at Erie, Pennsylvania at the Erie County Field House on Sept, 27 was Rainbow.

I was at that show. It was a great bill by both bands. Blackmore blew the crowd, and most of our ear drums away !!

And BOC put on their usual great show topped by Eric riding his motorcycle on stage for Born to be Wild.

Mark Strandburg
Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

The Spectrum, Philadelphia PA - September 29, 1979

This was my second time seeing Blue Oyster Cult. I was all ready to be blown away again as I had seen them on the Spectres Tour in Buffalo in March of 1978. Unfortunately, for me, this show turned out to be somewhat of a letdown. I'll explain. Rainbow was the opening act.

I had never seen Deep Purple or Ritchie Blackmore live before, and I've gotta tell you, they really stole the show. Ritchie was absolutely ON FIRE this night. Poor Buck didn't stand a chance and he was pretty much blown off stage by Ritchie. And this is coming from a guy who worships Buck's guitar playing. This was the Rainbow with Graham Bonnet on vocals and the late, great Cozy Powell on drums. I remember the song "Stargazer" very well. Awesome tune. Like I said, Ritchie was red hot. I think he was out for blood that night.

After being stunned by Blackmore, BOC hit the stage. They opened with "Dominance & Submission" and I noticed almost immediately that the energy just wasn't there. It was even more noticeable when they did the songs from the Mirrors album. It was rather strange to see them playing "In Thee" and "The Great Sun Jester" with acoustic guitars. They're decent enough songs on record, but live???

They did manage to pick things up a bit with "ETI", "Astronomy" and "Hot Rails To Hell" but I still wasn't getting blown away. Another letdown for me was the absence of lasers. I would have to get used to that in years to come. Toward the end of the set they started to wake up a bit and "Godzilla" and "The Reaper" sounded great as it should have. I don't know what happened at this show. Maybe it was me. Maybe I wasn't stoned enough (HA HA)!!

I guess it was Rainbow's fault. They were just too hot and BOC were just lukewarm. It must have been an off night for them. The Cult Boys were to redeem themselves a year later, however, during the Cultosaurus Tour. A much better tour and much better album than Mirrors.

Can't win 'em all, right?

Mike Breene
Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

The Spectrum, Philadelphia PA - September 29, 1979

The Blue Oyster Cult was loud, louder, and louder still when it sold out the Spectrum Saturday night. During "Godzilla," drummer Albert Bouchard donned a rubber "Godzilla" hood and banged out a drum solo as if he were tearing up Tokyo. After driving a motorcycle on stage to begin a show stopping "Born to be Wild," the band returned with "Don't Fear the Reaper," an encore Eric Bloom dedicated to Chrysler Corporation.

The Cult was upstaged somewhat by warm-up group Rainbow, featuring former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover. The Cult gave an energetic whimsical show of soaring sound effects, spoofs on classical cliches, and brutalized guitar. Cult fans screamed for more.

Bill Kent
Courier-Post - October 5, 1979

The Spectrum, Philadelphia PA - September 29, 1979

More Than a Cult Following

Saturday night's concert was another great one for the books. Opening the show for Blue Oyster Cult was the hard rocking group Rainbow. Ex-Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover joined Ritchie Blackmore and drummer Cozy Powell forming Rainbow's strongest and most versatile line-up yet. Also in the band were keyboardist Don Airey and singer Graham Bonnet.

The concert was rip roaring from the outset. The heavy rock'n'roll true to Blackmore's style, rattled the Spectrum. Blackmore dazzled the crowd with his intermittent guitar solos that ranged anywhere from picking to harplike strumming. Blackmore stepped out of the limelight so Don Airey could master a synthesizer solo and Cozy Powell could shake the Spectrum with an energetic drum solo that finished with charged flashes and strobes.

Blackmore got the crowd charged up again with the hit Long Live Rock and Roll which ended with Ritchie stomping on and smashing his guitar on the speakers. Hee threw the pieces of what was left of the guitar out in the audience Blackmore was hot; he had the crowd wanting more. The band left the stage with the crowd roaring for an encore. But to no avail as Rainbow didn't appear again.

Unchanged since 1972, BOC is made up of vocalist / guitarist Eric Bloom, drummer / vocalist Albert Bouchard, his brother bassist / vocalist Joe Bouchard, keyboardist / guitarist / vocalist Allen Lanier, and lead guitarist / vocalist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser. Blue Oyster Cult opened their set with the hit Dominance & Submissioin. The crowd was quickly on its feet showing their appreciation. The group performed excellently as a unit performing show stopper after show stopper. BOC hammered some new tunes from their 8th album Mirrors, including Dr. Music & the Great Sun Jester.

The Cult is trying to get away from the reputation of being a laser band and becoming a hardcore rock'n'roll band. They certainly accomplished this with an explosive mini set from the album Secret Treaties containig the songs Astronomy and ME 262.

Each song showed another facet of Buck Dharma's soloing ability. The show intensified as it proceeded. Hits like Godzilla and Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild, in which Eric and Buck did their Texas chainsaw guitar duel by rubbing the two guitars' strings together to attain brainshattering modulation. The band came out for an encore of Don't Feat the Reaper which wrapped up the night perfectly.

James Halferty
The Triangle - October 1979

Civic Center, Baltimore - September 30, 1979

I have seen Ritchie Blackmore play quite a few times. I do not know if it was the 2 hits of mr natural/acid or it was just the best performance he ever did but He was awesome. Graham Bonnet was great also.

Blue Öyster Cult one of the better performances by them I have yet to see a bad one these guys rock brought a motorcycle out on stage with fog everywhere for Born Top Be Wild the old Steppenwolf song and The Drums lit up like a dragon in Godzilla what a show I was living in the Lord Baltimore Hotel for about a year and a half at this time and let me tell you there were many good shows only had to walk a block on a above ground sidewalk. I love Baltimore.

Classic Rock Concerts

Memorial Auditorium, Columbus OH - October 2, 1979

This was the first concert that I ever went to. I was 16 and BOC was my favorite band.

Rainbow (w/ Graham Bonnett) opened the show and were fantastic. A great way to start the night.

George Peyton
Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

Civic Arena, Pittsburgh PA - October 5, 1979

Blue Oyster, Rainbow Hit Big With Hard Rock

It would have been next to impossible to some up with two bigger hits in this town than the two Willie Stargell had yesterday, but Blue Oyster Cult and Rainbow made a pretty fair stab at it at the Civic Arena last night.

The Cult comprises five small men who play big rock 'n' roll, and despite never having hit the biggest of times they know how to please a crowd, as they've proven here a number of times. And although much of the Long Island quintet's music is loud rock at its most elementary, melody has crept into their sound more lately, yielding two of last night's better numbers: "Mirrors," with all four guitarists up front, and "Vigil," featuring Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, one of rock's elite on that instrument.

Not that they denied their harder heritage. "ETI," "ME 262," "Godzilla," "Hot Rails to Hell" and their fine version of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" more than filled that bill. The most significant aspect of their performance was that their laser light show was gone. As guitarist-singer Eric Bloom put it, "We took them (the lasers) to Japan and saw we didn't need them anymore. We thought we'd get back to the basics of playing our bleeps off, and the kids have accepted it.

" Indeed the kids here accepted it last night, although there still was plenty to see: Blasting caps atop the overhead light bar, spurting strobes on drummer Albert Bouchard (who wore a necktie, of all things) and the monster head he donned for his solo on "Godzilla," Roeser and Bloom playing their guitars upside down and overhead, the motorcycle Bloom rode to center stage and lounged on during "Born to Be Wild" and sparkler jets flaring way up in the air to end that number before an encore of, natch, "Don't Fear the Reaper.

" Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore's post-Deep Purple project, finally has him re-united with a Purple mate, bassist Roger Glover, and Rainbow now offers the best of Blackmore's penchant for steamroller rock 'n' roll with Glover's more highly refined artistic sense.

In Cozy Powell they have an excellent drummer, in Don Airey a fine keyboardist and in Graham Bonnet one of the best lead singers you'll ever hear - on record. Being the warmup act, they didn't get a sound check and Bonnet unfortunately sounded tinny and often got drowned out.

Nonetheless, Rainbow scored with "Eyes of the World," "Love's No Friend Of Mine," Äll Night Long" and "Lost in Hollywood" before Powell's great drum solo which overshadowed Bouchard's superior effort on "Godzilla."

From a long synthesizer interlude by Airey, Powell beat the skins fast and thunderously until the final portion of the "1812 Overture," on tape, chimed in, the part with the church bells and cannons, and Powell played even more furiously, all the lights coming from behind him to make him almost a fantasy figure and finishing with strobes and flash pots.

"With Purple it was a long, slow buildup. With Rainbow I jumped right into gigs like this," said Glover of the two experiences. "I've just joined it; I joined at an opportune moment. Being a backup act isn't the best things I like to do, but I understand the business reasons better now than I did with Purple.

"I think Rainbow could do a headline act, but I think it's safer for us to tour with Blue Oyster Cult and then go out and headline. We've tested the water and it's very warm. It's a brand-new band and we don't like to go out and rely on the Purple name. We want to go out and prove ourselves as Rainbow."

Pete Bishop
Pittsburgh Press October 6th, 1979

Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland OH - October 7, 1979

BOC kicked ass as usual, but the thing I remember was that Rainbow was awful. They must've had an off night because the crowd disliked them immensely, and Blackmore resorted to playing behind the stage.

We sat stage left, and saw him playing back stage while the band kept playing on stage. Needless to say, it was very unprofessional and their set was appropriately truncated.

Tom Eden
Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland OH - October 7, 1979

It was abandoned because of band trouble. Ritchie and me had a fight on stage so the set was abandoned. He went off and the rest of the band eventually followed. It wasn't very good but it sorted out a lot of problems actually. We shook hands the next day and I never thought anymore about it, neither did he. It got mentioned in the papers that I threw quite a good right hook!

Don Airey
Rainbow keyboardplayer

Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland OH - October 7, 1979

That night and for whatever reason I can't remember but Ritchie was behind his amps playing and Don came over and yelled at him, told him he was unprofessional or something and when Cozy was playing his drumsolo Ritchie went over and kicked Don in the rear end and told him 'Don't talk to me that way again'.

Raymond D'addario
Rainbow roadcrew

Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland OH - October 7, 1979

Ritchie Blackmore broke a string 1st song, and played the rest of the set BEHIND his stacks...

When it came time for Cozy's solo, Don Airey walked over to Richie and asked him why he was standing back there.. and right in front of my face, RB knocked him flat on his arse and jumped on him and went to wailing...

Once his roadie Fergie went to break it up, we (Ricky Reyer, Fergie and I) joined in and yanked Blackmore off Don... but at this point Cozy finished the solo... BAM!!... flashpots went off and Cozy jumped off the riser and went to kicking the shit out of Don, who was still down, being attended to by Rick Downey...

At this point Downey nodded with his head that we should probably fall back to neutral ground and we left the stage... they played "Long Live R&R" and came off short about 10 min... end of the night...

Fast forward 6 hrs to 3 AM at Richfield Coliseum (45 miles from Cleveland) and the nearest CAB much less TRUCK and, as our buses pulled away from the gig in the middle of the prairie, there sat poor Don Airey at the top of the ramp... with his Hammond B-3, 2 Leslies, Yamaha CP-80 piano and 4 synths... all alone... in the cold rain... enough gear to FILL a good sized "Transit Van" as you lot say...

No idea what he did that night... I'd love to ask him sometime...

Sad image for sure...

Sam Judd (Blue Öyster Cult roadcrew)
Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland OH - October 7, 1979

I've seen Rainbow from their beginnings with Dio and this was the worse show I've seen. Ritchie played behind the amps and Graham Bonnet sat on the edge of the stage kicking his feet for most of the show. The show was very short and sounded horrible.

Jamie Coleman (on Facebook)

Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland OH - October 7, 1979

"What the hell happened to Ritchie Blackmore?"

That was the question on everyone's lips as Rainbow's brief, puzzling set ground to a halt without so much as one encore. After their first couple of songs, ex-Deep Purple axeman and Rainbow's founding father Blackmore disappeared with no explanation.

The remaining members of the band limped through selections from their latest LP (and little else), feebly accompanied by an anonymous guitarist hiding behind the curtain. To many of the group's fans, Ritchie Blackmore's patented heavy metal guitar is Rainbow and they had every right to feel ripped off. Don Airey's rambling, self-important keyboard exercise and Cozy Powell's pointless drum solo (a drowned-out accompaniment to the 1812 Overture) were no substitute for Blackmore's real artistry with six strings — wherever he went.

Electron for electron, it would be difficult to find a group that matches Blue Oyster Cult's output of raw energy. I could just picture the meters down at CEI topping as Buck Dharma (Donald Roeser) stepped forward to deliver one of his scintillating, see-if-you-scintillating, see-if-you-can-follow-my-fingers-leads. BOC kept the boisterous throng of 16,000 on their feet (and sometimes mine) through various selections from their newest album, MIRRORS, as well as a generous sampling of past favorites: "Cities On Flame," "Astronomy," "ETI," "OD'd On Life Itself," "Godzilla."

Those who missed their show last year were amused by Al Bouchard's drum solo on the latter while wearing the monster's head. All things considered, though, I'd have to say BOC was better last time around. This show saw them a little too casual and a little too loud, as if making up for finesse with pure volume. Last year the bit that has all five band members flailing away on guitars impressed me; this year it struck me as indulgent overkill. Likewise, the previous show's laser effects were among the best I've seen, but this year they didn't use a single laser— just their customary pyrotechnic display and repeated assaults on the optic nerves with blinding flood-lights. The front row must have come away with terrific tans.

Was it just the Doppler Effect, or was BOC's final, obligatory encore — "Don't Fear The Reaper" — trifle flat? By that time, my ears were ringing too much to be sure.

Dave Voelker, Cleveland Scene - October 11, 1979

Brown County Arena, Green Bay WI - October 11, 1979 [cancelled]

Rainbow was to play in Green Bay for that tour but they didn't show.... a band from Milwaukee called Sweetbottom open instead and BOC played an extra hour of music because of it... good show...

Tim Frasch
Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

Brown County Arena, Green Bay WI - October 11, 1979 [cancelled]

An explosion of sound, light

The most famous light show in rock dazzled a young audience here Thursday, as Blue Oyster Cult pounded a blend of power chords and rising harmonies. The Cult nearly sold out Brown County Arena, indicating the renewed interest in this heavy metal band. Older demonic and space voyage scenes were mixed with lighter, sometimes pretty, material, such as the hit "Pretty Girls.". The vocals, along with any clues to most song titles, were lost in the muddy thunder caused by the hockey arena's terrible acoustics and the intense volume of the band.

The Cult's famous lasers, once investigated by the federal government as a potential hazard to audiences, were not featured in Green Bay. But the ban's impressive manipulation of well over 100 spot, strobe and other lights left no one disappointed. The stage was bathed in colors melting from hue to hue, to a dazzling pure white light. Blinding banks of carbon arc lamps aimed at the audience were used to emphasize the band's slashing guitar work, with fog, fireworks and explosions occassionally enhancing the effect. The lights were used especially well in a drum solo during the song "Godzilla." The drummer flailed away on a pulsating red platform, while flickering orange lights made it appear as if he were engulfed in flames.

The orange light eventually gave way to a collection of strobe lights and the impression that some monster was indeed coming to life. But the only spark the Cult ignited was in the receptive imagination of the audience. Throughout the concert, the band Mixed guitar skills with effective electronic effects. The only disappointment came during a bass solo, a risk seldom taken by any band. The show's finale was preceded by a jam in which all five members of the group, including the drummer, played guitars while fading into darkness.

But they leapt onstage amid explosions and the opening chords to Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild." Their passionate version of the classic was emphasized with mirrored guitars reflecting the largest spotlights. The song closed with fountains of fireworks and a bid of good night. But the audience got their expected two-song encore, which included the Cult's most famous hit, "Don't Fear the Reaper." But disappointingly, the band rushed through the song, perhaps because of the less than resounding demand for it.

The band had been preceded by Richie Blackmore's Rainbow, whose performance was summed up by a member of the Blue Oyster Cult early in their own performance. He said, "Richie and his friends didn't feel like playing Green Bay, but we do."

Bill McClenahan
The Post-Crescent - October 12, 1979

Hammons Center, Springfield MO - October 14, 1979 [cancelled]

Rainbow was scheduled to open, but cancelled due to someone being ill. Eric made a comment along the lines of "the British don't travel that well in the US...." during the show.

Jim Flanigan
Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

Market Square Arena, Indianapolis IN - October 18, 1979 [cancelled]

Band Performance Order:

1. There was an opener but I don't recall the name
2. Rainbow did not perform at this show

The Blue Oyster Cult set for this concert was extraordinarily long because a roadie stepped up to the microphone and announced that Rainbow would not be playing that evening. The crowd almost started rioting until the roadie angrily shouted into the microphone that one of the Rainbow band members was injured in a car accident. The crowd settled down quickly and waited for Blue Oyster Cult to take the stage.

Blue Oyster Cult did about a 3 hour show. It was really, REALLY long. I never did any research to see if the car accident was true or just a way to keep the crowd from rioting.

Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

Freedom Hall Civic Centre, Johnson City TN - October 20, 1979 [cancelled]

Pretty sure the date on the stub is the date of the show, because on a couple of stubs I have marked out a date and written in the correct date, or act, in some cases...

I'm very sure that Robert Palmer opened, because again folks were not very into RP, as his music was very different from BOC, and this area is up in the hillbilly country - Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top etc...

RP was in a suit, and kinda shuffle music. I kinda liked it, but I was way into stuff like King Crimson, Genesis, Supertramp, and not so much the southern stuff...

But BOC were fantastic this time with full out lazers, mirrors, smoke and lots of guitar. Loved In Thee, I guess my favorite - well, in the top 5 - BOC tunes...

Looking back, this was the last time the REAL BOC toured, before the 'hits' and all. So I think this may have to be the second best BOC show on my list...

And the after show party at the Ramada - hung out with some famous groupies!

Rick Glover, Beatlefan Mag
Blue Öyster Cult: The History Project

Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz CA - November 6, 1979

Johnston Dominates Rock Show In Civic

The billing could have easily been flip-floppod around during Tuesday night's Tom Johnston-Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow rock 'n' roll show at the Civic Auditorium. While the acid rockin' Rainbow band was the headliner, it was all furious set by Johnston and his eight-man band which provided the musical high point of the Bill Graham production.

Johnston, the former charter member of the Doobie Brothers, looked remarkably fit and trim while leading his unit through a seething set of rockin' material ranging from tunes off his Warner Brothers solo debut "Everything You Heard Is True" to some wonderful renditions of songs Johnston originally wrote while with the Doobies. Johnston's performance harkened back to the early days of the Doobies when the band was in distinctly more progressive space then it is today.

Backed by two drummers (one of whom was former Brother John Hartman's guitarist (Gregg Douglass of the Steve Miller Band), a bassist, a keyboardist and the amazing Memphis Horns brass section, the Johnston band rocked with alarming authority. In fact, if the present semi-softcore Doobies were situated on a stage at the other end of the auditorium, the Johnston band would have simply drowned them out. Johnston, wearing a white number 12 football jersey, looked sharp as he dug into some of the precision lead guitar licks which helped shape and forge the early Doobies sound.

Having kicked nagging health problems, Johnston - who talks in a slow homespun drawl but sings like a bird - was his usual hard-playing self, breaking several guitar strings during the course of the evening. The three-man Memphis Horns, who have played with a wide variety of contemporary music's finest artists, were the decisive factor in Johnston's set, providing some memorable moments of tight, piercing brass chops. After a fine rendition of Savannah Nights" from his new album, Johnston soon slid into his Doobie favorite "Long Train Running" to close the show.

The audience wouldn't have any part in that, though, bringing Johnston and Co back for an encore of "Listen to the Music"(quite possible his most popular composition), and then the double-edged "China Grove," which nearly brought the house down.

Rainbow, featuring ex-Deep Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore, definitely had its work cut out for it after such an outstanding performance by Johnston, but they responded with a sometimes awesome, lavishly produced rock 'n' roll stage show. Cooking up a steaming - nit to mention loud - serving of somewhat dated hard rock material, Rainbow offered a predictably guitar-oriented attack somewhat riddled with some of muscle music's more boring cliches.

While Blackmore surely is one of the more talented guitarists to hit Santa Cruz in '79, Rainbow's performance had neither the vitality nor the interested of the TFB.

Greg Beebe
Santa Cruz Sentinel - November 7, 1979

Auditorium Arena, Oakland CA - November 7, 1979

I saw the same tour of these three groups but the show was at the Cow Palace in San Francisco (Should have been Auditorium Arena in Oakland as Rainbow did 3 shows with Hansen as support and the last two Ritchie wanted to go on before Hansen).

John Cougar was booed off the stage then Randy just blew the place wide open running into the audience and it was great. Cougar got through one song, "I need a lover that won't driver me crazy" and full drinks and booing was something mean. He cussed out the audience and left the stage.

Rainbow was okay but Richie did a funny thing on his encore. Came out with a white strat that had the neck sawn so he could break it really easily. It broke into little chunks while he was hitting it on the amp or something. Randy was what I remember from that night the best. I was thirteen or so.

The Gear Page

Auditorium Arena, Oakland CA - November 7, 1979

I was there, Oakland, Ca. 79' IIRC. Poor guy (John Cougar) got beaned upside his head with a bottle, everyone was waiting for "Ritchie". Hansen was also a good show.

I thought John Cougar were doing alright for a opening act, but the place was filled with Blackmore fans and to most of them... there's only one guitar player in the building.

The Gear Page

Auditorium Arena, Oakland CA - November 7, 1979

In the early 80s, I saw Randy Hansen open a show in Oakland, followed by John Cougar and Richie Blackmore. Hansen was so amazing, that the crowd booed Cougar off the stage and Blackmore brought Hansen back on to jam at the end. He is truly under appreciated.....a great feel for Hendrix, indeed.


Long Beach Arena, Los Angeles CA - November 11, 1979

Rainbow's Night for Hard Rocking

It's heartening to report that Rainbow's new lead singer Graham Bonnett has traded in his predecessor's shaggy stud look for a less dated, new wave-ish style close cropped hair, straight-legged jeans and narrow-lapel jacket. But Sunday night at the Long Beach Arena Bonnett's new looks simply emphasized the vast distance between the new wave's grass roots spirit and Rainbow's overhearing hard rock.

The keynote to the hour-long set was struck when the band arrived on stage to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance"; in fact, "Pomp-rock" is an appropriate term for the music.

Led by ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, Rainbow takes the instrumental aggression, marathon solos and battering-ram mentality of hard rock and dresses them up with mystical lyrics and art-rock touches more typical of bands like Emerson, lake & Palmer. Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Rossini all showed up Sunday night, as did a traditional sea chantey and a couple of verses of "Over the Rainbow."

That heavy-handed eclecticism was tiring, cloaked as it was in a ponderous, heavy-metal framework. But it also showed that Rainbow has enough taste to look paste rock's boundaries, and some of the evening's best moments came when the outside sources unexpectedly appeared in otherwise routine hard-rock workouts.

Blackmore is a gifted guitarist whose lengthy solos always contained a few graceful and interesting touches. But those moments were too few to redeem an evening of mostly formulized hard rock. Instead, they just made it more frustrating that a talented musician has chosen to work in such an outdated and mundane musical idiom.

Steve Pond
Los Angeles Times - November 13, 1979

Long Beach Arena, Los Angeles CA - November 11, 1979

I've seen Randy Hansen several times, though not in close to 30 years. He used to play in an old club in Hollywood called the Starwood. He did a bunch of wild stuff like hanging from the balcony and playing. The last time I saw him was with Rainbow and John Cougar and the Zone.

Rainbow was the headliner, but for some reason Richie decided he wanted to go on second and Randy closed the show. At the end of the show the Rainbow road manager was fucking with them. When Randy came out for an encore the lights in the arena came on he started playing anyway but his guitar went out. He walked up to the mike and said "I guess it's just a case of too much competition" and walked of the stage.

The Gear Page

Long Beach Arena, Los Angeles CA - November 11, 1979

I saw Randy Hansen at the Whisky a few times and then he opened for Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow at Long Beach Arena. Only Rainbow went on first, and I love Deep Purple, but it was a weak show, and RB smashed his guitar at the end with little emotion. A lot of people left, not knowing of Randy Hansen I assume and then RH came on and lit the place, they ended up cutting off his power... a complete upstaging.


Beacon Theater, New York City NY, USA - November 23, 1979

Blackmore's Rainbow rises live at the Beacon

Thanksgiving holiday, a time to go home and see family and friends, and in my case to see a fine concert also. My musical tastes took me to the New York City concert scene where there were a few good name shows to choose from this past weekend. Among these were at the Palladium on the 23rd, and Steve Forbert was in town on the 24th, also at the Palladium.

I chose to go for the hard rocking Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow at the Beacon. Blackmore has been in the business for a while, since his days with Deep Purple, and he has always been a highly rated rock guitarist.

Since the original formation the band has shortened its name to Rainbow and has gone through many personal changes, with Blackmore remaining the only original member. This was the first time I saw him work a crowd and he did not disappoint me.

Friday night the latest incorporation of Rainbow was as strong as ever musically but showed weakness in the vocals. New lead singer Graham Bonnet just could not fill the space left by the departure of the original lead singer Ronnie James Dio. Bonnet joined the band with the new album "Down To Earth", after Dio left the band. Bonnet's newness to the group was probably responsible for the band short performance (under an hour and a half) and the fact that prior to the encores the band only performed songs from their latest album.

The band's musicianship, especially Blackmore's guitar work, was really tight from the opening song, "Eyes of the World" to the final "Long Live Rock and Roll". In addition Blackmore and Bonnet, the band includes Don Airey on keyboards, Cozy Powell on drums and bassist Roger Glover (another ex-Deep Purple musician). The band performed popular tracks from the new album, like "All Night Long" and the single "Since You've Been Gone", before ending the regular show with a keyboard solo by Airey and a superb drum solo from Cozy Powell, complete with strobes and revolving lights.

The group left the stage and the stage lights went on only to go off seconds later as the crowd enthusiasm brought Rainbow back again. This time Blackmore played a great solo which he ended with the smashing of his white Stratocaster. After picking up a new guitar, he led the band into a reprise of "Long Live Rock and Roll" and then they departed for good.

Rainbow performed a great show that was marred by only a few weak points. One being the short length of the set and the other being the lead singers inability to do justice to rainbow's older work. Aside from these factors the band performed a good set of hard rock that pleased the Beacon crowd.

Christopher Faussner, The Oswegonian - November 29, 1979

Beacon Theater, New York City NY, USA - November 23, 1979

I saw the Rising tour twice - first time mid-June 1976 at the Beacon (really classy show and subdued crowd), and July 3 at the Jersey shore, some hall or Convention Center - maybe in Asbury Park. Henry Gross barely had time to sing his hit "Shannon" before the crowd drowned him out. A later tour in NYC, the A's opened - same thing, but their guitarist had a beer bottle thrown at him - he fielded it and threw it back!

I can also say that the audience that night was very atypical for any other Ritchie show - I guessed it was mostly press and industry folk. As opposed to the later raucous crowds who booed openers off the stage and chanted "Blackmore, Blackmore...

Jimmie Francis

Beacon Theater, New York City NY, USA - November 23, 1979

Singer Richard Bush of The A's told in some interviews that they supported Rainbow:

The things that I really remember are the nights when things were catastrophically bad because they were the most fun, kind of, in a weird way. We had to open for Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow at the Palladium in New York [most likely this was the Beacon Theater, ed.]. It was like a pick-up gig; whoever was supposed to open canceled. We had another gig that night but we could do both. We only had to play 25 minutes, and it was the longest 25 minutes anyone has ever played! By the end of the first song, people were standing up and giving us the finger. By the end of the second song, they started throwing pennies and stuff at us.

And I just felt totally charmed. I knew nothing was gonna touch me, and nothing did. But I would look back at Mikey, who was a stationary target. I could see him ducking all the time. By the end of the 25 minutes, they had run out of things to throw at us so they actually — and I’m not kidding — they were taking the seats apart and throwing these big slabs of metal that could’ve decapitated us.

It was pretty wild. But nothing ever touched me. We hit the last chord of "After Last Night", I looked to see if Mikey was alright [and] I just saw the cymbals and the drums moving and he was already gone.

Richard Bush, The A's
Montgomery News 2014

Beacon Theater, New York City NY, USA - November 23, 1979

Richard Bush (singer): We opened for Ritchie Blackmore (former lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Deep Purple), it was the wrong thing to do. We figured we could pick up some quick bucks. By the third song, we had the whole crowd on their feet, giving us the finger. They were taking chairs apart and throwing pieces of metal at us.

Michael Snyder (drummer): I had to dive to the back of the stage. I was getting kind of disturbed.

Richard Bush & Michael Snyder, The A's
The Review (University Of Delaware) March 6, 1981

Capitol Theater, Passaic NJ, USA - December 1, 1979

Rainbow did open for BOC in 1979 (The Down To Earth Tour) but only when they played the large arenas. 18,000 or more. Rainbow was the headliner when they played smaller venues, 4,000 or less.

I remember a new wave band called the A's opened for Rainbow and they got booed pretty bad.

At the Capitol Theatre in Passiac New Jersey someone jumped up on the stage and punched the singer in the mouth. I never saw a band in my life take more abuse. It didn’t help that the singer told the crowd, Boo all you want, we got your money!

George Martin
The Highway Star 2008

Agricultural Hall, Allentown PA, USA - December 2, 1979

Last Sunday night's performance of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, at Allentown's Agricultural Hall, demonstrated that Rainbow's two former Deep Purple mainstays and three cohorts know how to combine genuine class and a cool professionalism while unashamedly drawing from classical and popular music to bolster their lighter, sophisticated brand of heavy metal.

You could tell Rainbow was going to be different even before they started, because the taped music between acts was reduced in volume and it wasn't heavy metal. Then the fluorescent lights went out, a tape of Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" cut through the smoke of the auditorium, and a taped countdown to zero propelled us into "Eyes of the World" — a good, high-energy opener helped out by two flashes of incandescence from a bank of lights which held almost every color in the rainbow.

In an hour-long performance — no more, no less, and no encore — Rainbow cranked out excellent versions of five of the eight tracks on the current LP, including the irresistible cover of Russ Ballard's "Since You Been Gone." Also included was a piece by J.S. Bach performed by keyboardist Don Airey and the two former Purples, guitarist Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover. Later, Airey contributed a juiced-up, spook-house version of Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor," which is inevitably played in movie versions of "The Phantom of the Opera."

There was something for everybody, except an encore. The audience booed a little, but put out their cigarette lighters and left tamely when the lights came on after a tape of Judy Garland singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Alan Janesch
The Morning Call - December 7, 1979