European Tour 1980

Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany - January 23, 1980

Fight for Ritchie's guitar

Burning sparklers flew onto the stage, the nearly 9,000 fans lit lighters and matches, they kept that in the air - that's how Ritchie Blackmore and his group in the Frankfurt Festhalle were celebrated even before the first sound had been played. Two and a half years have passed since the last last tour, eight times the concerts got postponed because Ritchie fired his musicians again and again and replaced them for new ones after months of sought. But the fans don't have Rainbow forgotten - despite the disco sound, punk and New Wave.

And Ritchie is now proving that he has lost nothing of his energy. The "Man in Black" raged 90 minutes - like his fans because of his black clothes - across the stage. He played his hits "Since You've Been Gone", "Love's no Friend" or "All Night Long ".

But then Ritchie showed that he can also be different. With the soft one "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" the heavy guitarist became suddenly a gentle folk rock musician who plucked the strings so carefully as if they were made of silk. Or his improvisional classical compositions like Beethoven's Ninth Symphony "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring".

But all of this should only be the beginning. Ritchie himself excelled in the encores. After dangerous climbing on the high amplifier walls house he played "Long live Rock'n'Roll", and smashed his guitar, that pelted and howled and finally crashed and broke - until he threw at the end the individual parts into the audience. And no one avoided that because everyone wanted a sliver of Ritchies guitar to take home...

Bravo, Germany - Februari 14,1980

Ahoy Hall, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - February 2, 1980

A little faded

As mentioned on the posters, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow came to the Netherlands for the third time in yet another new line-up: Blackmore guitar, Cozy Powell drums, Roger Glover bass, Graham Bonnet vocals and Don Airey keys. Despite the many band changes over the years, Rainbow is enjoying a significant growth in popularity, as evidenced by a sold-out Ahoy Hall.

The most surprising thing about the performance was the conviction with which the James Dean-like Graham Bonnet presented himself; his voice and his great reach are certainly not inferior to those of predecessor Ronnie Dio. Especially in songs such as Eyes Of The World, Love's No Friend Of Mine and Lost In Hollywood, Bonnet was particularly good. As Cozy Powell had already confided to the Oor readers last October, little old material was played and the emphasis was mainly on the Down To Earth album.

We heard, among others, Since You Been Gone, All Night Long and the oldies Catch The Rainbow, Man On The Silver Mountain and Long Live Rock And Roll, the last two in the encore. I always find the solo ego trips disturbing: this time two pieces by Airey and countless ones by Blackmore, some of which were still okay. Powell's drum solo (Over The Top), on the other hand, was not too long and excellent. Furthermore, the sound was not very good and Rainbow was a bit messy. They took the mickey of Bonnet in the encore when he announced the song Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and the band had left the stage.

'Just a practical joke', Blackmore stated afterwards. All in all, Rainbow's concert was at times excellent and Blackmore smashed his guitar to splinters at the end, but the overall impression was significantly less than at the concert two years ago in The Hague, when the group was a very overall very tight and had a fantastic sound. But Blackmore still remains an executioner of a guitarist.

Kees Baars, Muziekkrant Oor - Februari 13, 1980
photo: Kees Tabak

Ahoy Hall, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - February 2, 1980

Concert Rainbow drove on convenience

At concerts by the Irish New-wave group Boomtown Rats in the Amsterdam Carré and by the English Rainbow in the Rotterdam Sportpaleis Ahoy it once again became apparent how the public can decisively influence the course of events.

In Amsterdam, the public killed the Boomtown Rats. Considering the fact that this group recently had a number one hit with I Don't Like Mondays, Carré was remarkably empty. And the people who were there did not seem to move to any enthusiasm, while they worked hard on stage for a good result. It did not happen because the Boomtown Rats, as fairly inexperienced musicians, did not know what to do with the situation. After a tight and convincing start, self-confidence clearly decreased. Towards the end the music turned into a messy and deafening roar, which indeed did not deserve any major acclaim.

Things went differently with Rainbow in Ahoy! Not a single note had been played yet when 7000 fanatic hard rock fans created an atmosphere in which it is nice to work for pop musicians. Rainbow, led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and singer Roger Glover (both once played in Deep Purple), however, have not been inspired by the enthusiastic audience.

The repertoire, consisting of unwieldy hard rock, was performed tastelessly with themes from classical music. The music of Rainbow is only digestible for the real enthusiast, everyone else will either doze off or leave the hall prematurely, because it is so sad and sad what this group makes of it.

Ton Olde Monnikhof, Algemeen Dagblad - Februari 4, 1980

Ahoy Hall, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - February 2, 1980

Weak Rainbow

Due to the overwhelming number of new groups of late, it would almost got forgotten that the phenomenon of hard rock enjoys an unabated popularity. On Saturday evening Rainbow played in Ahoy in Rotterdam in front of a sold-out house. Despite the hollow clichés that the five-man formation showed, the enthusiasm of the audience already on forehand guaranteed a successful performance.

Rainbow was founded in 1975 by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. He was the acclaimed guitarist in Deep Purple, that wanted to take a less tough course around that time. Blackmore wanted to stick with the old Deep Purple way, mainly because it was a commercial success formula. The principles of Rainbow therefore resulted in a total lack of musical developments, and the mere exhaustion of a music style that received less and less content.

The group's sound during the concert was very opaque. It was a cloud of heavy reverberation in which only Blackmore's guitar and the forced voice of singer Graham Bonnet could be distinguished. The mediocre compositions were stretched to ridiculousness for completely uninteresting solos and the perfunctory incitement of the audience.

Rainbow is artistically a thing of the past, that is evident from the activities of the various members outside the group. For example, drummer Cozy Powell has already founded a group with Jack Bruce and guitarist Glem Glemson. But as long as the public maintains an almost frenetic adherence for Rainbow, this wind trade will be financially milked to the end.

Geert Kistemaker, Volkskrant - Februari 4, 1980

Ahoy Hall, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - February 2, 1980

Emptyness and a lot mistable

Hard rock audiences are a distinct bunch, not the most shrewd part of the nation, most comfortable in the position of the underdog. Nothing has changed in this world for years. This is very reassuring for those who feel at home in this. It would make no difference to the future of pop music if this dilapidated genre were still buried today, were it not for the fact that there are still a lot of people walking around who are only too happy to indulge in blunt manipulation, which is hard rock in most cases. is. For them hard rock means solidarity, religion almost, just like football.

As usual, the concerts end in a stallion ball. The beer consumption is enormous and the hunt for the idols most tasteless souvenirs is no less. The sight of the intoxicated, trophy-hung and, in 1980, still in blue denim clad is anyway sad. The meeting point of the hard rock legion was the Ahoy Hall on Saturday evening, where Ritchie Blackmore's group Rainbow gave a concert.

The performance of Rainbow is a miracle, but the hall was almost sold out. An explanation for this lies in the long absence of the group, more than two years, and in the fact that there have not been too many hard rock concerts recently.

Blackmore was once a guitarist with Deep Purple, a legend to the denim crowd, and he can claim to have taken the legacy of this group. Blackmore is known for being tricky. The now almost 35-year-old star already used so much manpower that, after five Rainbow LPs, only he himself remained from the original line-up. His group currently consists of bass player Roger Glover, also from the Deep Purple camp, drummer Cozy Powell, keyboard player Don Airey and singer Graham Bonnet.

According to insiders, the variety of their musical backgrounds contributed to the strongest line-up Rainbow has ever had, which is to say, it is almost unimaginable that it must have been worse. It was noticeable from the previous Rainbow concert that the group is in a dead end street. Since then, oppressive circles have been made there. A concert like that on Saturday is characterized by a blunt empty-headedness and a lot of fun.

Blackmore in particular has an enormous, almost classical pretension, which leads to an extremely inelegant fusion of standard hard rock with blaring electronic sound impressions and baroque variations on themes such as Greensleeves, Somewhere over the rainbow, Close encounters and Alle Menschen werden Brüder. In addition to older work such as Catch the rainbow, in which Blackmore tried to strike a nerve, a large part of the last LP Down To Earth was on the program. Graham Bonnet sang his vocal cords to shreds on such a one-line repertoire as the new Rainbow stamper All night long.

Towards the end, long-winded solos increasingly crumbled the performance and Bonnet's recruiting power faded away like a candle. However, the audience thought everything was equally beautiful. The bear even got loose when Blackmore in the encore Long live rock'n'roll smashed his guitar to shards on one of the sound towers. Sensation everywhere. Unfortunately it was all done on purpose.

Peter Koops, NRC - Februari 4, 1980

Ahoy Hall, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - February 2, 1980

Trusted sound at Rainbow

And that's where Ritchie Blackmore's guitar went to pieces. For those of the 7500 in Ahoy Saturday who should not have seen it, it was not the real expensive Fender Stratocaster of the star, guitarist of Rainbow. Just the same type from an unknown brand that looked exactly like it. That cheaper approach was, after all, the only major difference from the performance of this post-Deep Purple formation four years ago in The Hague. Then clownish Ritchie smashed his precious Fender to shreds after the last encore.

For the rest you can place Rainbow in the list of pop groups that are busy with a march on the place where only peace is missing. Nothing but good about the presentation of the music. The Rainbow Show (said the announcement) was provided with so much decorum that it seemed for a moment that Franz Marijnen was holding the premiere of his "Wasteland" in the Sports Palace.

Edward Elgar's "Pump and circumstance", the child voice of Judy Garland from "The Wizard of Oz", a magnesium light bomb, a gigantic background, in short, everything was on and on.

The group itself also went crazy (especially decibels were not looked at). Graham Bonnet screamed his lungs out and Don Airey (keys) and Cozy Powell (drums) didn't just put their energy in their solo. With this enthusiasm the contribution of bass player Roger Glover ("Love is all") was somewhat out of place. Ritchie Blackmore himself also seemed a bit more timid than in earlier years.

Then the music. At normal volume, quite fun to listen to, but still, nothing new under the rainbow. The songs from the last album "Down to earth" are very catchy ("All night long" has been released on single these days). So much that you think you've heard them before in Deep Purple, the former band of both Blackmore and Glover. Those who have not yet heard enough of all this can still enjoy the Rainbow of today and perhaps also in the future.

Louis du Moulin, Het Vrije Volk - Februari 4, 1980
Photo: Rob Verhorst

Ahoy Hall, Rotterdam, The Netherlands - February 2, 1980

Colorless Powerhouse

Time stood still on Saturday evening. The English hard-rock formation Rainbow gave a concert in a sold-out and enthusiastic Ahoy Sport Palace that would have been up to date ten years ago in terms of form and content. Tons of equipment, and uniform heavy rock music, consisting of long drawn-out compositions without structure, were the colorless spectrum that Rainbow showed.

Nevertheless, there is still a lot of interest in this genre and in this case that was mainly due to the line-up of the band, which with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover (two ex-members of Deep Purple) could count on a sufficient audience. Deep Purple was the hard rock band par excellence in the early seventies, which got a successor after the declining popularity in Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.

With the recruitment of Glover, drummer Cozy Powell, keyboard player Don Airey and singer Graham Bonnet Rainbow got its current form. After almost 45 minutes of waiting, the tension had reached a climax in a clever way, which got released under Wagnerian music and a great light show.

The cover of the last album "Down to earth" on which a rainbow cuts through the universe, formed the decor and the music of the LP the repertoire of this evening in a grand projection. Playing six songs within an hour and a half clearly shows in what stretch they can be performed.

Bonnet's gravel voice was a bit of a buzz in the beginning, just like the improvised question-and-answer vocals he built up with the audience in "All night long". Soon, however, the true nature emerged: directionless powerhouse in which everything to do with originality, emotion or tension was missing.

The low point was reached in "Lost in Hollywood" when the solos of some band members, an obligatory affair in this genre, appropriately lost themselves in nothingness. Blackmore knitted Irish jigs, pieces of Bach, Jimi Hendrix imitations and a lot of cacophony together into a messy whole.

Airey imagined himself as Keith Emerson when he put a Bach theme on the organ and drummer Powell put together a Waldo de los Rios product to bombastic Wagner tones. Together with the dazzling flashes of light, the drum and cornea were severely tested, as was the attention turned into sounds of rejection. Despite all this, the audience cheered for an encore for five minutes.

Hard rock music without pretensions can be quite fun, as Status Que for example still proves. This Rainbow pretended to be multi-colored, but brought only a greyness that unfortunately still earns the pot of money that can be found at the end of the rainbow.

Stijn Rijven, Nieuwe Leidsche Courant - Februari 4, 1980
Photo: Mark van Dorp

Roda Hall, Kerkrade, The Netherlands - February 3, 1980

Rainbow gives catchy concert in Roda Hall

The more than 2000 attendees at the concert of the British band Rainbow, on Sunday evening in the Roda Hall in Kerkrade, were served a generous portion of the last LP of the group around Ritchie Blackmore. On that LP, Down to earth, singer Graham Bonnet is allowed to show his qualities for the first time. Bonnet also has a gigantic volume live and his reach is a bit higher than that of Ronnie Dio, his predecessor. This time Blackmore has drawn a old yellow card from the tray of the Deep Purple sundicate for the bass player (varying per LP) to eventually come up with Roger Glover. Blackmore and Glover on one stage is pure nostalgia.

Surprisingly, these "fat" men in their thirties attract an audience consisting mostly of teenagers and young twens. Rainbow's music had the appearance of heavy rock in Kerkrade, because the true strength lay in the long torn-out songs such as "All Night Long" and "Catch The Rainbow", which created more atmosphere than most of the audience would like.

It was all too clear that Don Airley (keyboards) can do more live. With the theme of the SF film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, in which light effects and already the moment supreme of the encounter between the earth and extraterrestrial life, sounded very impressive under his hands and revived the impressive film images for many.

Blackmore's affinity with J.S. Bach was not hidden either. The end of the third of the Brandenburg Concerts was, via Blackmore's master hand, not inferior to Bach interpreter no 1: Walter Carlos. Rainbow's music has the charged intensity of classics such as Bach. Not comparable, but related.

Besides the solos of guitarist Blackmore, drummer Cozy Powell and keyboard player Don Airley, the songs "Eyes Of The World", "Love's No Friend" "Danger Zone" and "Gates of Babylon" were performed. The rock concert in Kerkrade was more than once a tribute to Bach, but no less catchy. [note: Rainbow of course didn't play "Danger Zone" and "Gates of Babylon" and the keyboard player's name is Don Airey and not Airley, Ed.]

Bart van Aalst, Dagblad De Limburger - Februari 1980
Photo: Peter Schols

Palais des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles, Paris, France - February 12, 1980

Contrary to the ticket mention, the show was relocated at : Palais des expositions de la porte de Versailles. I attended the show. Some "anecdotes" and remembering of the show : awful sound : Ritchie shortened the soundcheck because of the technical issues. The opening act consisted of two lads playing acoustic guitars....their show too was shortened because some fans threw coins at them (not to say lot of)!!!

Ritchie was brilliant and he destroyed his fender at the end of the show and wind the remains of his guitar around the spotlights...we faced the drama because the fans at the first rows started to pull the jack and the guitar. I missed by an inch to grab the fretboard...argghhh. Roadies and managers looked the spotlights swing above the band heads with real fear on their faces. Fond memories anyway.

Stephane Muller