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RAINBOW
USA Tour 1997 Reviews






Birch Hill Club, Old Bridge, NJ 20 Feb. 1997


Doors opened at 8. The place was packed. Capacity was 1300, and I'd say they hit it, or slightly more. The place was so hot and smokey, it was almost intolerable. There were also very few good vantage points, as it was mostly flat. By the time Blackmore hit the stage, there were beer bottles everywhere for people to trip over. Wherever I roamed, I heard people talk in disbelief about how such an icon could be playing such a ratty place. This reminded me of the reaction of Deep Purple playing York. I had hoped that the atmosphere of a small setting would make up for it, but the Birch Hill Night club is the last place I'd go see a concert after this show.

Ritchie came out about 11:30. That pissed off me and many others around me, since most people had to work the next day. I felt that this was very inconsiderate during the week, considering that us fans are not as young as we once were, and we had to stand around for an eternity. It's not like we are teens with nothing to do the next day.

It reminded me of a Guns & Roses tour of a few years back, where they were criticized for late starts (but at least they were playing venues with seats). Blackmore was excellent. Doogie amazed me. He does Gillan, Dio, Coverdale, Bonnet, & Turner effortlessly. Looking back at the S&M tour, JLT could only have hoped to do as well on the other singer's material. The remainder of the band were average - at best. I kept reminding myself that I wasn't there to see a brilliant *band* like Deep Purple, but a brilliant guitarist named Ritchie Blackmore.

His set list was great, but I heard some rumblings about the absence of Street of Dreams and Stone Cold. This probably had something to do with the fact that these are the only Rainbow songs you hear on US radio, when you do hear them at all. I knew that they wouldn't be in the setlist, so it didn't bother me. Candice "Yoko" Night was a joke. She stood on the side of the stage and practiced posing with a microphone. There was only one point where you could barely hear her (during Ariel), and they made a big deal of it by bringing her out for more posing center stage and presenting her with a bouquet of roses. It was funny to see the merchandising. No tourbooks, but they had shirts, and all the Rainbow titles for sale, including Japanese and European imports. They even sold RB autographed copies of SIUA which were touted as "A bargain for $30". In my eyes, it makes Ritchie appear desperate. It seemed so Country & Western to see this at a Rainbow show.

I got some Digital Camera pictures that I'll send to Svante for his Rainbow pages. I haven't checked them yet, so I don't know if there is anything usable. A special hello to Henry S., Bobby G., Barb Fox & her husband, the always affable Bill West, Tom (Azea@aol) and his wife, and other great people whose names I forget at the moment. I'm glad I got to see TMIB, but I didn't get the feeling that I needed more shows like I did with DP. But, I do hope to see him in a small setting (with seats!) for the upcoming acoustic album.

Ed Janx






Birch Hill Club, Old Bridge, NJ 20 Feb. 1997


Ed Janx summed up the show quite nicely including sentiments about seeing a legend in a dive. It was kind of funny to see Ritchie try and hide behind the speakers like he loves to do, except there was no where to go on this mini stage. So he would stand by the speakers or Candice and stare at the wall!

Since the other musicians couldn't play, Ritchie took most of the solos thankfully. IMO the DP numbers stood out as expected, particularly Mistreated and Burn. From the Rainbow collection, it was great to hear Temple of the King and Ariel. Ritchie ought to replace Beethoven's ninth (worn out), Since you've be gone and Hall of the Mountain King (both suck).

Ritchie is still brilliant and one of a kind. Catch him while you can before the second hand smoke from these joints do him in.

Azea






Birch Hill Club, Old Bridge, NJ 20 Feb. 1997


Ed and Azea have said a lot of what I was going to say (ie. the miserable dump of a place, the late starts). Although I should say Ritchie seem a little more upbeat on stage. Instead of staring at the ground endlessly, he seem he was getting into the show and having fun with the guys. Regardless of his mood, his playing remain aces high. When numbers as Difficult to Cure or his take on Hey Joe gives him a chance to solo, Ritchie reminds us that he is and always has and always will be the guitar master.

As for the other band members, special credit should go to Doogie. He not only had to do JLT, Dio and Bonnet but he did Gillan and Coverdale, which did all 5 VERY WELL. Double credit goes to Doogie for his take on Gillan, considering JLT's and Coverdale's take of it. Although the bassist is distinct for occasionally singing (ie Glenn Hughes' part on Burn), the keyboardist and drummer remain anonymous even when they get their chance to solo in the spotlight. As for Candace, I honestly mistaked her for a bartender since I was standing at an angle where it look she was behind the bar, till I realize it was her when they got to Ariel. As Ed said, it seem like she had no other motive there but to provide backup for Ariel and receive the flowers for best looking member.

Several numbers were standout as Perfect Strangers, Temple of the King (great su prise), Man on the silver mountain, as well as Hey Joe. Some should have been skipped as Hall of the Mountain King (which is just as bad as it on SIUA) and Since you Been Gone. And too bad Ritchie only teased the audience with Lazy and Black night, I would have killed for a full rendition of those two.

Despite the flaws, the chance to see TMIB was a real treat (especially considering he was a few feet away from where I was standing), even in a real shithole as Birch Hill Nite Club.

Nimmo






Birch Hill Club, Old Bridge, NJ 20 Feb. 1997


Hello fellow Rainbow fans!!! Just to post a quick review or so of the recent Rainbow concerts in the Northeast USA that I flew from Texas to see. Hopefully this will give whoever reads this the impetus to go out and see the band or at least dust off your old Rainbow records and play them LOUD.

The anticipated tour fell through last autumn. When I talked to Ronnie Dio in LA in November, he said that it was mainly because Ritchie wanted to wait for a new album. Also, he joked about what songs each would play that were in the other band's set list. When I asked him if he would ever work with Ritchie again, he did not rule out the possibility however he said that Ritchie wanted to go back and play the "old" music and Ronnie wants to move onward and do "new" stuff. As long as Ritchie only wanted to play "old" music, Ronnie did not want to do it. Go figure...... no offense Ronnie, I love you man, but what are you thinking?????? What is the work that your fans come and tell you is the best stuff ever recorded?????? There is no shame in regaining your popularity.....

So the USA tour finally happens and like any good fanatic, I have to fly (again) to see Ritchie hit American soil. I wonder why my good friends on AOL call me "Baby Blackmore" hmmmm.......... This time around it is in small clubs- the closest you can get to The MAN. I can't sleep for days.

I arrive in the East Coast to meet the man who has been privvy to firsthand information about Ritchie and who has spent countless hours putting Ritchie's presense on the Internet: Henry Sobieski. Henry has done a brilliant job on Ritchie's web site but alas, due to the demands of work and family, he is giving it up. Henry you will be severely missed.

Henry and I arrive around 4:30 pm at the venue. As we get out and start putting our coats on etc, there in a purple soccer training suit is Ritchie, with Candace in tow, making towards the stage door. AAAAAARGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!! What a way to start the day!! We made our way to him as he signed a few autographs for a few professional autograph hounds (they didn't stay after that) and was wisked away be his assistant(s) before we could really talk to him. He appeared pre-occupied and was unshaven. I did notice he looked very fit.

We stayed by the stage door to hear the soundcheck. Really it was a rehearsal that lasted about 55 minutes. The band cranked it up with Spotlight Kid, LLRnR, Mistreated, Ariel, and Black Masquerade. There was lots of "testing" in between. Dougie did lots of warming up with lines from such songs as Run to the Hills and Black Dog. The most noticeable things about all this were:
1) the road crew peons are shits
2) Dougie is definitely new and improved.
I wont go into the first bit but as for Dougie- it sounds like he has been taking voice lessons or something. He hits the note right on and then goes beyond it. The version of Mistreated in the rehearsal was just amazing. He was really blowing it out.

After the rehearsal, Ritchie makes the great escape (done usually with two or three decoys) and by stroke of luck Henry and I chose the wrong door for Ritchie's escape- it is unattended and we walk on in to the hall. It is intimate (i.e. small) and the band is still playing around. Dougie comes over to me and says hello. As does Paul with his Chinese girlfriend and Greg. Paul has a bob haircut like John Paul Jones. Dougie has lost lots of weight and his hair is somewhat shorter than I remember. He says the weight he blames on a diet of nicotine and caffeine. The guys let us take some photos with them. Dougie hops back up on stage and proceeds to do this amazing yes amazing version of Gates of Babylon a cappella. At my request he does some Rainbow Eyes too. His vocals are spot on. I wipe the sweat from my face and expect to get kicked out any time. Instead out pops the new guy john Micelli. He seems rather nice although very sure of himself and not in the mood to talk too much. He says Chuck Burgi called him up and asked him to do the gig.

At this point we talk with the guys, especially Dougie for quite some time. I ask Dougie if any new stuff off Ritchie's medieval album will be played tonight. He says "no man, this is RAINBOW." OK.... I tell Dougie his vocals are sounding great and he says he hasn't really sung in five months or so. We asked him about songs to do and he says when it's Dougie White's Rainbow then things will be different but until then, its whatever the man in black wants....

At one point, Ritchie's guitar tech is discussing with Dougie and John what to do if the a fan jumps up on stage (guitar tech- let ME get them...) Dougie says "John (O'Reilly) showed me how to take care of someone"- he then goes up to the stage and taked a drum stick from John Micelli's kit, comes up behind me and does this move on me where he puts the stick between by legs and makes it where the stick is horizontal on my front thighs and he picks me up by the scruff of my neck and carries me around the front of the stage (it makes you go on your tiptoes or you will fall over). The band members and crew were impressed. I just asked Dougie for a cigarette.....

We asked John Micelli how long he had been with the band. He said "let's see... monday tuesday wed thursday, monday tues wed= seven days!!!" We asked if he thought Ritchie would cut him some slack if he messed up. He said "no- that's what he is paying me for...." Okay.......

Then the band wound things up and went to eat or do whatever they do before the show. Dougie told me he usually has a shot of Jack Daniels with Greg and does some exercises before the show.

Henry and I stayed in as they let the crowd in. We had waited too long for this so, as tired as we were from standing and with no food or water since lunch, we stood in the front on Ritchie's side from 7:30 or so until Ritchie comes on at 11:30pm. Worth every minute of torture.

Rainbow finally came on at 11:30pm. The last band was off by 10:30 but the set up and photo sessions took until 11:30. Our front row was now obscured by a bunch of photographers. We got vengeance on them when Ritchie came on and bent down to shake a few hands. There was this human wave over the photographers as the beer swilling masses nailed them in the back to get to Ritchie!!!

THE GIG

As Judy Garlands voice is cut to smithereens by Stratocaster, Ritchie calmly comes on stage, touches a few hands and goes into the Over the Rainbow/Spotlight Kid thing. The music is loud the club is HOT and smokey but the momentum up at the front was superb. Ritchie's tones of his new amps is really distinct- warm and thick but the leads really come out.

The band doesn't miss a lick- going on to do LLRnR, Mistreated, Wolf to the moon, Difficult to cure, Keyboard solo, Still I'm sad, Drum solo, Man on the silver Mountain, Temple of the King, Black Masquerade, Ariel, Perfect Strangers, and Hall of the Mountain King.

Again this is Ritchie's night- he controls the band (and the fans too) with hand gestures and simple nods letting the band know when to play quieter or to let him do another bar of soloing. He laughs, he concentrates, he gives out beer, he slaps hands. Dougie is spot on too and hitting everything in sight. I would have to say that Ariel was lessened only by the fact Dougie was blowing away Candace, although, admittedly it looked like Candice did not have a monitor to hear Dougie and what the rest of the band were doing.

For encore there was Burn, Hey OJ and Smoke on the Water. Oh, Since You Been Gone was in there too somewhere... There was a long pause before the encore and that added to the atmosphere. We joked about Ritchie having to use the bathroom, etc,etc. We got the encore and the band went off after two solid hours of stellar performances by just about everyone.

Ritchie was soloing the whole time like a madman- hardly looking at his hands. He moved all over the stage and spent most of the time in front of the drum kit. The band was tight and professional although being the first gig there was a certain raw energy too. High point for me was Mistreated. Great rendition- I love it most when Ritchie plays quietly. Dougie sang it, as well as a few other tunes as if he has been listening to Made In Europe or Cal Jam. Super set, super song list and super playing.

After the show i tried looking around for some of the AOL-ers. Met Ed Janx and Dave Rosenthal too~!!!! Sorry Barb Fox- will try to meet you again sometime. I had the pleasure of meeting Carole Stevens and Kris (newsletter person). She seemed genuinely pleased to meet me and meet Henry in person. They had talked on the phone quite frequently on web business. She said they came down in a limo and had a breakdown so they were late. When I asked her if there would be any TEXAS dates, she said not as yet and to FAX Bruce at POW. She said that was how the California dates got on there- you have to show your interest. So anyone in Texas who is reading this and who wants to see Ritchie- email me for Bruce's fax number or check the website!!

All in all a great night and great start to the tour. Recordings of Illegitimate origin: Security was super tight and some of the people taping the show had problems. I know a recording of the rehearsal exists and heard there was someone there who did get the show. Check your favorite bootlegger stores soon.....

Bobby Vervains






Birch Hill Club, Old Bridge, NJ 20 Feb. 1997


Let me start off by saying that I'm not a Rainbow fan so much as a Deep Purple/Ritchie Blackmore fan. I went to this show for a rare chance to see one of the great guitarists play in an intimate setting. Too intimate, as it turns out - the place was packed like a Tokyo subway. One of the doormen commented that they 'just kept on selling tickets', and I don't think he was kidding.

The show got off to a peculiar start. Some Radio Personality came out and raved about the band, said 'Now here they are!' or whatever, and ran off. About 15 minutes later the band straggled on stage. Kinda strange. First couple songs were OK except for RB's guitar being way low in the house mix. A keyboard solo very early in the set lost what momentum the band had built up, but when they came back the mix was fixed and Doogie showed what a natural performer he is by quickly pumping the crowd up again. I have to say I was really impressed by Doogie - his voice was crisp and powerful, his control and phrasing superb, and he sang his ass off on everything. No slacking off on songs originally sung by others, as is so often the case.

The rest of the band was OK: no mistakes, but nothing remarkable either. They certainly didn't sound like a band on opening night. Their ensemble playing was tight and energetic like a band halfway through a tour - relaxed and comfortable with the show, but not yet burnt from playing it too many times. The new drummer Jon(?) Micelli did really well for a guy who's only been with the band for a week. He was a little hesitant at times, watching the KB player for cues, but in all did quite a good job. Greg Smith sang some lead on Burn (!!!) and others and sounded pretty good. Paul Morris played well but his Hammond sounded a little crunchy, like someone stuck a mike too close to the top of the Leslie. Candice Night looked great. A good thing since we couldn't hear her at all.

And what about the whole point of the show, The Man In Black? Well, from what I could hear - for the first couple songs he was almost inaudible, later on the mix was better but still not as guitar-heavy as it should have been - his playing was spot-on. He even nailed the solo in Burn. He may not have had a brilliant night, but it was certainly a good one. His playing tended towards his more expressive side rather than the flashy: slower, thoughtful, with heavy doses of that wonderful vibrato and some interesting excursions into harmonic minor. He seemed to be enjoying himself - boogying around some and I even caught quick flashes of a smile here and there. He also cued the band to give him longer solos on a couple songs, so I guess he really was having a good time.

One thing that surprised me was his tone. The Engl amps really sounded different from the usual RB tone. Smoother and warmer than the Marshalls of old, their sound really complemented his playing style. I can see now (or is that 'hear' now?) why he made the switch. I didn't keep track of the set list - I went to hear the man play, not to take notes - but the choices were good overall. Some old Rainbow, some new, a couple Deep Purple favorites (Perfect Strangers, Burn (YAY!) and of course Smoke...) and a kick-ass version of Hey Joe. Sadly, they did play the abominable 'Hall Of The Mountain King' but I guess Nobody's Perfect.

Screaming Metal






Birch Hill Club, Old Bridge, NJ 20 Feb. 1997


Blackmore RULES!!!! Doogie sounded strong, and very soulful, Blackmore had all the taste and passion that he's best known for, and the rest of the band was very tight, considering their "engine" was just replaced a few days ago. Kudos to John M. for his powerful playing and delivering on such short notice. Paul's solo was in Rainbow tradition but only more piano than synths, which was ok for me. Greg also sounded great, great backbone to his playing and very nice support vocally for Doogie. Candice although hard to hear sounded good as well, and looked fabulous. Lucky Ritchie!

Above all I was just thrilled to have been able to see an Icon like Ritchie, whom I've loved for years, in such an intimate setting. I am looking forward to the last date in NYC.

Russ Wilson






The Strand Providence, RI 21 Feb. 1997


I intentionally arrived late hoping to miss Great White (no such luck). The Strand is an old theater with the seats removed and bars along the sides and in the back (beer was reasonably priced). Only V.I.P.'s were allowed in the balcony. In the entrance area Great White and Rainbow had T-shirt booth's set up. T-shirts were the CD cover or a band shot both in black (big surprise) R.B. S.I.U.A. key chains were available as well.

They also had the guys from JART music there selling the entire Rainbow catalog on CD. I almost picked up an autographed CD (Dougie and Ritchie) in case one of you wanted it but it just isn't the same unless you get the signature yourself is it?

I was told that Ritchie only signed 10 a nite there seemed to be plenty left at the end of the night. The whole CD's for sale thing made it seem like an unsigned bands show. Very unprofessional. The crowd was a mix of lifelong RB fans and "rocker dudes" who probably go there every nite no matter who is playing. The place was a dive and I quickly became sorry I had brought my girlfriend to such a hole. I found one of the only seats (at the very back) and stayed there throughout the show. I was able to stand up on the stool and easily see the stage over the crowd.

First up was Great White. I have never liked them (I still don't) so I can't give a fair review. The Mix was bad and the stage banter was comical. The stuff this guy said makes Spinal Tap look like amateurs. The only two songs I recognized were Once bitten..... and Rock me. They were loud and seemed to bore the RB fans that were near me. I recognized an AMDP person who sat on a couch next to me but I don't know who it was (any of you???)

At 11:40 Dorothy's voice came over the house system and we were "over the Rainbow rainbow rainbow......." Spotlight Kid was first up and it really kicked. The sound (mix) was the worst I have ever heard at any show I have been to. It got better and worse throughout the show. I don't remember the exact order so I will just comment on the songs in no particular order.

Spotlight Kid Excellent!!!! Doogie won me over right off the bat. He made that song HIS. He does a bit to much of the "rocker" movement stuff but he was entertaining. S.I.U.A. DOES NOT do justice to his voice. I would like to hear him do some more JLT stuff and give it some life like he did on this one. The Keyboards were inaudible throughout most of the show so the solo consisted of white noise and some feedback. Ritchie took a very nice solo using the original as a guide.
LLRR Was next and again Doogie sounded great (does Dio the best!) Little bits of Black Night mixed in and a little "call and answer" between Doogie and Ritchie. Some pub songs were mixed in as well. It made me feel like they were sticking to a format though.
Mistreated Doogie "oversang" this one. Of course DC has been known to do the same thing. Doogie is a great ROCK singer but he lacks a bit of soul and it shows when he tries to get Bluesy. R.B. used a harmonizer on part of the solo, good, but not earth shattering.
Hey O.J. was funny for about one verse then it got stupid and then annoying. I would rather heard a straight version.
Wolf to the Moon one verse and chorus and then into Difficult to cure. Again O.K. versions but the keyboard player is really weak.
Ariel was plauged by feedback. In fact RB walked up to the mike after the song and said "we'll try that again without feedback". Candice was hidden well off stage holding her Stevie Nicks tambourine. Ariel was the only time she was audible and she sang VERY flat.
Still I'm Sad O.K. I don't think it was a full version though (don't remember)
Temple Of the King Great!!!! and a nice surprise alot of feedback again though. Doogie again showed his talent and Greg Smith added a tastefull second voice. Ritchie's guitar was not audible through much of the song so it was almost all vocals (kind of nice actually).
Black Masquerade Sounded good! Liked this one the best of all the new ones. Doogie oversang a bit again. But a great solo from Ritchie, he obviously likes this one.
Perfect Strangers was O.K but again the keyboard player ruined it. Doogie did O.K. but he doesn't do Gillan as well as he does the others.
Since you've been gone one verse and that was it. Ritchie cut many songs short during the night. He would give the "cut" sign (hand to neck) many times during the night. He was upset by the sound (don't blame him). But as always we the fans suffered for it by getting an abbreviated show (1 hour 25 min including the time waiting for the encore!!!!!)
Burn and SOTW Pretty standard stuff good but not great. Bass player did a good job on the GH parts in Burn.

Overall impression of the band

Doogie very good just needs to get some more time under his belt. When he sings straight he is fantastic, when he tries to hard he fails.
John Micelli A pro/a ringer this guy has been around. He played very well but he seemed like a stand in. He played WITH the band instead of in the band (if that makes sense) I do like him better than O'Reily (on SIUA) Micelli reminds me more of Cozy Powell, a heavy handed "flat stick" kind of player. Other Rainbow drummers have seemed to metal to me. (single kick set, toms were mounted very flat like CP plays his)
Greg Smith O.K. nothing special, pretty good back up voice and he worked well with Micelli. (played a P-bass couldn't see his rig though)
Paul MorrisPainfully bad. He and the sound man ruined this show. Even his solo (Jon Lordish classical) was very sloppy. If Ritchie looses this guy he may have a band that could impress. Morris is the weak link for sure.
Ritchie Same old same old. He had flashes of brilliance but I don't wan't to stand on a spinning stool all night waiting for "flashes". He was animated moving around and taking center stage alot. His comments made it clear that he was in a bad mood (got one of the opening acts scratched for starters). He did not hide and brood though. He seemed to go through the motions and just shorten everything up. He was not the Ritchie I became a fan of. He was the "going through the motions Ritchie" that I have seen with the reunion Purple. (Fender strat with guitar synth hooked to the bridge, 2 4X12 cabinets with two power heads 1 2X12 with built in head which seemed to the control head all were ENGLE of course).

Richard W. Shailor






The Strand Providence, RI 21 Feb. 1997


Well my day started off at 2 pm when a friend and I arrived at the rear of the Strand Theatre in Providence RI hoping to meet Rainbow and most notably, Richie. We'd been standing there for a few minutes when this guy with long hair was seen, by myself, shooting some video with a camcorder. I walked over to my friend and asked him if that was Doogie, the singer from Rainbow, we quickly checked our CD covers for further examination and we decided that it was he.

We approached him and my friend asked if he was Doogie, and he said in his very Scottish accent "Why yes, I am" and he said some other funny stuff, the guy was a howl! He signed our cd covers and posed for pictures quite graciously. We talked for a minute and he went around sightseeing for a while. So we waited around for a while and the Die hard Purple and Rainbow fans started to filter in.

One guy had seen Purple 7 times on the _/_ tour he flew to Switzerland and other places to see them. He had a 1983 Rainbow tourbook that he needed signed, and he, like the rest of us waited for The Man In Black. Well, Paul Morris, and the Bass Player, forgive me on his name, it's late, showed up and signed autographs and looked through the kid's Rainbow tourbook, and both exclaimed "He shouldn't be smiling" when they saw the pic of TMIB on the cover, smiling. Doogie also said that when he saw it later.

Jack Russell from Great White was hanging around too, obviously fucked up on booze or drugs. He signed some shit for the GW fans that were there. Ritchie didn't show up for soundcheck, we had heard that he didn't do them anyway, but it was worth a shot. We talked to Doogie after soundcheck, and he told us that the band really only sees Richie, when they go on stage. We waited around for another hour, but we had to go pick up my friend's girlfriend, so we took off without seeing TMIB.

When we arrived at the club at 8:00, when doors opened there were about 250 people lined up, which was rather impressive. We got in and talked to another fan who had seen TMIB, when he entered the venue, apparently, he was pissed because there were 2 opening bands on the lineup. According to the fan he said "There are 2 opening bands?, no there is only ONE opening band!" So the first band was scratched.

GW went on stage at around 9:55 and played until 10:45, it was a mediocre set. After they played, about 350 people left the club. So I would say that the amount of people at the show that were there to see Rainbow was about 850, unless there were people in the balcony, which they barely ever open, but Doogie was talking to them from the stage, if there were people on the balcony, I would say that there were about 1000 people in the 1500 capacity club. Rainbow went on stage at about 11:35. The set list was identical to the set played at the Birch Hill NJ show, minus "Hall of the Mountain King".

Spotlight Kid
Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
Man on the Silver Mountain
Since you've been gone
Mistreated
Perfect Strangers
Black Night (interlude)
Still I'm Sad
Wolf to the Moon
Black Masquerade
Ariel
Temple of the King

Encores included:
Burn
Smoke on the Water
Hey OJ

The show started out strongly with Spotlight Kid, but the keyboardsolo ruined the end of the song, it was basically noise, Jon Lord he is not. I had a great time, I was impressed by the show, for the first half, Ritchie was on fire, but the middle part of the show was plagued by feedback, and what appeared to be input jack noise from TMIB's guitar so from then on, he stuck to the songs, not improvising much.

The highlight's were, spotlight kid, burn, temple of the king and mistreated. I was very very impressed by Doogie's voice, it was phenomenal, much better than the CD. For a second I thought I heard Glenn Hughes in Burn. The show's total time, was 1 and a half hours, and I'm being generous. The t-shirts for sale were the lp cover shirt, and a band shot shirt, with european tour dates on the back. They were selling the entire Rainbow catalog, and some imports, but nothing super rare. No Jealous Lover CD. As a whole I would give this show an 8 out of 10. I was able to sneak 15 photo's on a disposable camera. The lyrics to "Hey Joe" were changed to "O.J., where you going with that knife in your hand, I'm going out to slash my old lady cause I caught her messin around with Ron Gold-man" Funny shit, did they sing it like that at Birch Hill?

Art Ellis






The Strand Providence, RI 21 Feb. 1997


Two weeks ago saw Rainbow (yeah Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow) at a Strand theater, Providence, Rhode Island. 2 Months before that, I saw Dio in the same club (so it was very interesting to hear the song Mistreated twice - Dio & Rainbow both played it).

Opening band: Great White. Damn, I still don't know what is worse: alternative or glam.

Rainbow:

I expected to see the virtuosity of Blackmore with cheesy a-la JL Turner vocals, but I was mistaken. While Ritchie wasn't a SUPER guitarist that nite (he was excellent, but just not like he was in his good old glory days), the new singer D. White was beyond all expectations. The guy sang everything from all Rainbow and Deep Purple eras and did a FUCKING GREAT job. He was audited for Iron Maiden before, but Maiden decided not to go with him. Blackmore was in good shape, didn't look old. Why should he? He recently got married with a 25 years old girl.

Song listing in no order, but close
Spotlight Kid (opening track)
Long Live Rock'n'roll
Kill The King
Since You've been gone
Man From The Silver Mountains
Mistreated
Temple of The King
Ariel
Another one from new album (the fast one)
Perfect Strangers
Hey Joe
Still I'm Sad
Burn (1st 1 of encore)
Smoke on The Water (2nd 1 of encore)
And few more,but I forgot...

Comparing Dio and Rainbow version of Mistreated, Rainbow's 1 was much better. Dio had a superb voice, yet he had a very shitty guitarist, who was technical, but nothing more than that - bastard spoiled the whole song. In Rainbow D. White did a great job, while he wasn't Dio, yet remained very powerful.

Ritchie decided to return to Coverdale-Hughes days and had his bass player filling up some vocals. His voice was indeed pretty close to Hughes. Another song that deserves attention was Hey Joe. Written by Willie Dixon, both Hendrix and Deep Purple covered it. Deep Purple had it on their Shades of Deep Purple if I'm not mistaken. Rainbow played it, but, leaving pretty much the same lyrics, the words "HEY JOE" were replaced by "OJ". That indeed was funny. Send me a lyrics to Hey Joe if anyone's got one.

Sound: The first half sound engineer fucked up the sound, but it got a bit better on a 2nd half.

Overall, I was really impressed by the show. So I rushed to the store to get their latest Stranger in Us All CD. After playing, I was very disappointed, it sounded like another Joe Lynn Turner era album. Ohh well, I should have known that the live show is always more powerful than the studio album.

Leonid Makarovsky






The Strand Providence, RI 21 Feb. 1997


I was not sure what to expect from RB but on the whole it was a great show. RB seemed really into it !!! He did get upset a few times about feedback or something and even spoke in the microphone about it!! Here is my review of what i remember of the show.

Spotlight Kid --- Great song from JLT days, Doogie sang great
LLr&r -- not my favorite song, but done well with bits of Black Night thrown in!
Hey Joe --- Doogie turned this into "HEY O.J" It was sort of funny, but I'd prefer the normal version.
Mistreated-- Doogie did a great job on this and so did Ritchie
Temple of the King -- Excellent!!!!!! -- they did a great job
Man on the Silver Mountain --- done well
Still I'm Sad -- I sort of missed not hearing the intro Ritchie used to do on "On Stage"
Wolf to the moon, Ariel, Black Masquerade, Difficult to Cure, Perfect strangers-- all done well but nothing really special
Burn-- Being one of my Fav Purple songs, I still though it sounded rushed and uninspired
SOTHW- Closed the show well

They did not do HotMK ---but according to some on this newsgroup I should consider it a blessing! I would loved to have heard Gates of Babylon or Stargazer, but I guess that is a bit too much to ask. Maybe next time???

Tim






JAXX Springfield, VA 22 Feb. 1997


After a great start to the tour in Birch Hill, Henry and I made our way back to the Washington DC area. Providence was just too far to do it all so we missed that gig and went on to Jaxx in Virginia early.

When we arrived around 4 pm Ritchie was already inside and playing a little. The band was not present yet but showed up a few minutes after we got there. They looked a little tired and bedraggled and hurried into the venue. Henry at one point was allowed in by the owner of the club who he had met before and got to meet Ritchie and say hello. Lucky guy!!! It pays to live a few minutes away from the venue!!!!

We met some of the AOL people (hi Joel, John T. Jacob, etc) and waited around by the backstage door. Somehow the vibes I got were that this was not going to be a good gig. (I am glad for once that I was wrong). The roadies mentioned that RB was not in the best of moods. The band also looked like there was something up.

The band played for soundcheck Wolf to the Moon, Temple of the King, Black Masquerade, Ariel and Still I'm Sad. The way they kept re-doing parts of songs made it seem like RB was being a perfectionist and perfecting certain nuances of a few of the songs.

Ritchie made his famous getaway again- this time I guessed the right exit door and was nearly alone when Rob drove the Jeep by parked it by the hidden exit and knocked on the door. Rob said Ritchie was not signing autographs just now. I stated to Rob that I just wanted to give Ritchie a bottle of Texas white wine I had brought for him. Rob recognized me and since I was nearly alone, he took the bottle from me as Ritchie exited the door. I said to Ritchie the wine was from Texas for him from me. He waved his thanks and got in the jeep giving me a thumbs up as he drove off. Whether he actually drank the wine or gave it to his dog I will never know but it was a thrill to give it to him. I hope it will be subtle reminder to COME DOWN AND PLAY TEXAS!!!!

After that we went to eat and returned to the venue to hear two warm up acts. The atmosphere heated up as did the temperature inside. Around 11:45pm Rainbow hit the stage and from the first note I knew it was going to be special. It was one of the most memorable gigs ever- solely for its spontaneity. They went from Spotlight Kid to LLRnR to a killer Mistreated without missing a lick. Dougie did pause to tell the joke: "Why are there no women on the moon?- it doesn't need cleaning yet!!!"

Dougie was wearing those spandex pants again like he wore at Birch Hill. The other guys in the band were kidding him about his "leather fetish" etc. When Dougie put his leg up on the monitor and stretched his crotch you almost tell what religion he is..... He was in tremendous form. I think a little experience has really got Dougie's confidence up and that has really helped his singing. He has confidence now to hit that note in Ariel and to even give a little shit to Ritchie.

Ritchie again was on fire but a little different. He waved on the band to keep playing and extended solos and played some really neat improvised stuff. After Wolf to the Moon, difficult to Cure and Still I'm Sad with assorted solos, things began to get different.

Man on the Silver Mountain had a really different intro with a funky solo. Temple of the King (best song of the night) had a wonderful solo. No harmony vocals over the solo part though. No candace tonight. Black Masquerade had Ritchie all over the stage, moving so much he struggled with the Gypsy acoustic run as he was in motion at the time smiling. Something was up.....

Ariel was soft and sweet with Paul doing the oh oh oh part on keyboards from what i could see. Ritchie gets quiet- the calm before the storm. After Ariel a fan shouts out "Blues". Ritchie walks over to Dougie and mentions something to him. Dougie announces they will now play some Blackmore Blues. It is about this time that the band does away with the song list and just plays as RB takes the lead. RB starts out with that familiar lick then they go into a FULL FLEDGED blues number with vocals!!!!! Dougie does a magnificent job of singing some negro blues chops over Ritchie's playing. I bet all the vocals were ad libbed too!! This was really something different!!

Perfect strangers sees Dougie jumping up on the barricade to be assisted by some fans. He is really pumping the crowd and giving it 200 per cent. Ritchie gives beer and slaps to the crowd. It still amazes me that I got soooooooo close!!!! I could see his hands for most of the gig- for a RB guitar fanatic who has been playing for 15 years, it was humbling. I wanted to go home and practice for hours after seeing that...........

Hall of the mountain King thundered away as Ritchie plays it and does all the key changes without hardly ever looking at his fretboard. He adds a solo and the outro that was not there on other tours from what I remember.

For encore RB walks on smiling and begins to play My Woman from Tokyo. He nods to the band to keep going and they end up playing a nice version. Dougie by the look on his face had no idea this was coming. He did a nice job. After the song Ritchie walks off stage and the band looked surprised.

It was another few minutes before RB walks back on and asks the punters at the front what they wanted to hear. Burn it is and Rb rips it up playing an extremely fast and note intense version complete with picked arpeggios. Humbled yet again.

At the end of Burn Dougie is up on the barricade again and hops off stumbling a bit and bumping into the microphone stand. Ritchie doesn't look too happy and mouthes to Dougie "are you okay?" Dougie shrugs it off and goes on, never missing a beat. Dougie is going all out and taking chances for this crowd. Its exciting and soooo close- this club is small. Did i mention that THIS CLUB is SMALL???? Its so small if Dougie got a hard on he would be plugging himself into the board. It was only yards away!!!

Next Hey OJ with more improvised lyrics from Dougie lasting more than just a few bars. He goes on and on calling for more solos from RB who is just loving it!! Finally RB cuts it all off and goes into Smoke. Nice long noodling intro I love so much. Long version and they RB swaps guitar/bass with Greg. RB starts to play and he does so with vigor. No couple of notes or a little thud thudding- he is really playing it steve harris style!!! He was slapping it and everything.

Finally they make a grand exit and we hear very soon after that everyone must be out of the club within 5 minutes- state law (it was 1:55 am). WOW!!!!

what a show. So much energy and raw power yet showing a refined and experienced Rainbow. When you look at the band and Ritchie onstage it is like he is teaching them how to be musicians. He is dad and they are his children learning to watch for the signs and to take Ritchie's advice. Seeing this gig was like what it must have been in the 60's. This was professional jamming. A true treat.

Dougie is in fine form and hopefully here to stay. As he told me "Ritchie told me- Dougie if I wanted another singer in the band there would already be another singer in the band" Can't get much better assurances than that. He seemed a little bit upset after the show and was yelling "someone nicked my jacket." Wasn't me Dougie- you know where I was...... :)

Greg kept up with it all like a seasoned pro. I asked him after the show how he keeps up with Ritchie on a night like this? He said: man... I just keep playing......

Paul seemed upset after the show and I saw him slam the stage door. It's probably nothing cos he had a great gig too. Someone must have given him a copy of On Stage cos he does some neat Tony Carey type stuff during his solo.

John Micelli really changed his tune. Before Birch hill he seemed confidant and almost cocky with an attitude of "I played with Meatloaf... I can do this." When I asked him after the show how he kept up with Ritchie tonight and all the improv stuff he shook his head and said "like I knew what I was doing..... NOT!! Man I was scared!" I guess he has finally met his match. Hopefully he will grow as a musician because of it.

Ritchie is Ritchie. He is enjoying playing and he rips it up. He is teaching the band to be musicians and seems to be tolerant of mistakes and all because he is changing it all up and keeping the band on their toes. You have to remember that these solos are all different every night!!! To me that is amazing. It's not a solo on an album you duplicate live for the next 25 years. It's new, fresh stratocaster spitfire every night.

Ritchie and the band are giving 200 per cent. This night was special because it was spontaneous and exciting. If the other shows on the tour are even half as energetic as this one, the rest of America is in for a real treat.

Recordings of illegitimate origin- thankfully recordings of this show should exist- a professional bootlegger was there. Also this Japanese couple keep showing up at every gig...... reserve your copy now!!!!

Bobby Gervais






JAXX Springfield, VA 22 Feb. 1997


Went to the show last night and all I can really say is that they kicked ass. Ritchie was in fine form and was extremely friendly to the fans. He handed out many a beer, I got one myself, shook hands throughout the show, and smiled on numerous occasions. I was even responsible for an RB smile myself when I requested Stargazer and he giggled a bit before he started into Burn.

The band played well too. I've heard a lot of complaints about the keyboard player, but he didn't embarrass himself or RB, and the new drummer was pretty good. Everyone played well. As far as the songs go, the set was pretty much the standard that we've seen before. The weakest song of the night was Ariel, but it's a great song anyway. In a nutshell, if they come back to town, I'll be first inline to see them. I highly recommend seeing them.

Jon C






The Warehouse, Toronto, Canada 26 Feb. 1997


Venue: The Government Warehouse (or "The Warehouse"). Acoustics of a drafty barn, but very friendly staff and 3 bars. Easy access from Queen Elizabeth Way, parking $10 Canadian, and also $10 US (for idiots who didn't know the exchange rate should have saved me $2). Crowd numbers were VERY weak when the doors opened, but picked up slightly by 10:30 (expected time for Ritchie to come on stage). No where NEAR the size of crowd that turned up for Purple at this same venue (The Warehouse) in November, 1996.

Crowd: Very few RBR shirts -- more Purple shirts. We wore Tommy Bolin shirts (for the heck of it) -- which lead to meeting several other Purple fans who liked both RB and TB! (On a personal note: I always hated hearing, "Blackmore!" during TB's solo's , so I got a modicum of revenge by shouting "Bolin!" during the intro to "My Woman From Tokyo!" -- Don't worry, I'm not a jerk - it was only loud enough that my girlfriend had to hear it! ;^)

Anyway... The crowd was mostly older rockers, longish hair, lots of leather: 90% male. Surprising number of shorter dudes! I had to wonder if they're all fan-remnants of the Dio years! ;^) For some reason, there were overall fewer knowledgeable fans than I would have thought - but the fans we spoke to were fun. Due to scheduling restraints, I couldn't hook up with the internet newsgroup-ers whom I know were there before the show (at the Hard Rock Cafe?). Next time.

Merchandise: Unlike other shows (from what I've read), there were no CD's available (that I saw) - only a few shirts and key chains and hats - and nobody was buying. The small stand was located near the Coat Check area, and the single salesman was so lonely... he had to tie a Joint around his neck just to get people to come over and talk to him (ba dum pum)! [Sorry.]

The one shirt that did look pretty cool, was a black short-sleeved shirt with a lace-up v-neck (ala mid-ee-EE-val style). $48 !! (US currency prices, but rationalized for Canadian buyers as "including tax").

Opening act: "Something" Dolls (No, not "Goo Goo"). They were local standard bar fare - no better. Poor bastards - everyone hated them! (Or were ignoring them). No one clapped their hands in the air when prompted 3 times! Apparently they have a CD.

RB came out, as promised, just after 10:35pm. My girlfriend and I were right in front of the right stack of speakers the entire show (yes, we're OK, we had good filtering ear plugs!), so I had a great view of RB, DW, and Candice (who was nearly off-stage --far back right). For the record, she is VERY easy on the eyes! She is prettier in person than the pictures on SIUA. Both she and Ritchie wore black robin-hood tights (she doing them more justice, IMHO). RB sported a mustache only (no goatee or zapatta lip-thing), black knee-high archery boots, and a black lace v-neck medieval shirt. I *think* I saw him enter the dark stage area in back with the black stove-top hat, but that could have been the "Contact-High" talking!

[Songs aren't ALL listed (had no pen, and I'm not that smart), and may be slightly out of order!]

INTRO - Somewhere Over the Rainbow (more of this followed the encore).
Spotlight Kid - I didn't like this as an opening number, but it was OK. RB came up right in front of me to shake some hands and pass out a beer (just out of my reach!). He did this 3 times during the show. He never talked, but at least he didn't turn his back to the audience once!
LLRR - Including various parts of silly songs - not that memorable (to me), but many in the crowd loved this.
Mistreated - I thought Doogie did very well on this. The crowd responded well to it.
Wolf to the Moon - Strong rendition of this (but cut it short?) The keyboard player (Paul Morris) did "OK" here and throughout the show. He wasn't as bad as I would have expected (from reading other reviews), but I agree he was nothing to write home about (or here, I guess). At least he didn't screw up, or get Ritchie mad at him tonight.
Ariel - Well done, and a crowd pleaser. Candice's vocals were very pretty on the "Oooh oooh ooh, Aaaaaarielllll [DC al coda]" stuff, which is the only time her microphone was turned up strongly. I can definitely report, however, that it WAS turned on throughout the show - but VERY low! Since I was standing within "pissing distance" of the right stack of speakers (and missed very little of the sound), and since I could see her lips move (she was about 3-4 meters away), I'm SURE she actually sang background vocals, which was on about 75% of the songs (NOTHING DEMANDING, of course). She sat down the rest of the time, and had very little interaction with the other musicians. I had read that she sings flat, but tonight her pitch was good. She smiled much more toward the end of the set (looked scared or pissed at the beginning). People had called out for "Ariel" throughout the show, and weren't disappointed.
Temple Of the King - A good rendition, with Greg Smith doing very good additional vocals. I thought he basically did a pretty good Glenn Hughes Impersonation all night. He is NO Glenn Hughes, but the impersonation holds up long enough to get the job done. His harmony was well done all night, and his GH part of Burn! (last encore song - see below) was pretty good (didn't try to hit the expected high notes - "Ya know we had no... TIME! TIME! TIME! TIME! AAAAAAAAAAAHH!!! -- but nobody expected him to!).
Drum Solo - Sorry, don't recall when exactly this occurred. But John Micelli is an extremely capable drummer, and his solo was good. It obviously could have been MUCH more creative, but he only had about 3 minutes to work with. Doogie said he's "...been with the band now for 9 or 10 days!"
Still I'm Sad - Another strong rendition, not too varied from the CD, except there was a (weak) keyboard intro instead of guitar.
Hey O.J. where you going with that knife in your hand? Hey Joe (didn't say OJ this second time), etc. etc. The African American security guard in front of me was NOT amused, BTW! He turned and glared at Doogie throughout this bit! Speaking of this guard, he had to deal with a very intoxicated large-breasted woman, who succeeded in getting up on a speaker to dance for about 30 seconds before he was able to pull her down! Not only hilarious, but it afforded me an opportunity to snap a picture of Doogie with Ritchie behind him (hope it turns out - the lady was falling in front of me just as I snapped!). Anyway, he didn't catch me snap about 5 pics. He was making camera people put their cameras away when he caught them.
Black Masquerade - The "gem" of the show. Mostly just like the CD. Will be a classic. Excellent vintage Ritchie Blackmore. Fast, accurate, exciting gee-tar stuff here!
Hall of the Mountain King - Excellent! OK, the other "gem" of the show. Doogie did an excellent Gillan-type scream near the end, then ran off stage. Anybody know why? Probably to get a drink of water! But I wasn't sure if he skipped out on a second such scream or not.
Since you've been gone - I saw this in at least one other show-review. But Doogie made it seem like it was impromptu, and credited it's inclusion to some hard-core fans in the front row. Anybody know why? Ritchie seemed to pay a lot of attention to that small group of fans.
Perfect Strangers - I thought Doogie did a good Gillan. A well-done song.

ENCORES:

My Woman From Tokyo - sounded great. But then, half way through the song, it just STOPPED! Then Doogie looked sheepish and turned to RB, who came over and they had a quick private discussion (I could hear their voices, but couldn't make it out). My girlfriend said she heard RB say ("It's OK"). Then Doogie laughed it off, and said something like, "You all just heard that song here a few months ago, right?" (Referring to the Purple show in late November). Then, "Well here's one you didn't hear!" Then they went into "Burn!".
Burn - Being the only bed-wetting MkIV nut in the audience, I liked this song the best! (Since Mk IV opened most of their gigs with it - at least according to the boots *I* have!). About 1/2 way through, TMIB started looking anxious and when it was over they thanked the crowd, and he motioned everybody off (all had been looking to him for what to do next). Since I read that Smoke on the Water was an Encore at other shows, I wondered if all of a sudden something went away?

Oh well, who needs SOTW anymore anyway?

In conclusion, a very good show, and the crowd enjoyed themselves. Doogie White is an amazing singer, who doesn't mind doing Dio, Coverdale, JLT, or Gillan (and can do them well!). Blackmore's playing and timing were excellent, and the energy of the show was very high. I've had the good fortune recently of seeing for the first time: Deep Purple in November, Ronnie James Dio in December, and Blackmore in February. Full circle-type experience! It wouldn't have been the same without finally seeing The Man In Black. He didn't miss a note; he interacted a wee bit with the crowd; he smiled 3 times; and he NEVER turned his back on the audience. Hmmmm... sounds like I'm saying, "He never stole a freight train!" If so, I apologize. It's just that he kept me on edge emotionally because I kept wondering if he was going to get mad or be moody (which he does a lot, and there was SOME evidence of it tonight). But I blame this edginess on his "bad press" - whether he brings it on himself or not. At least I enjoyed the music and the show immensely! The bottom line is, Blackmore is a living legend who continues to live up to his name. And you should DEFINITELY go see him every time he's in town. You will not be disappointed!

Scott McIntosh Rochester, NY






The Warehouse, Toronto, Canada 26 Feb. 1997


"WOW......Great Show"

Since they did not play Montreal I had no choice but to fly to Toronto to catch the show. We got at the venue around 1:30 PM to try to met some members of the band. We got to met Dougie White, Paul Morris and Greg Smith. They were all very nice and signed autographs for everybody that was there. Paul was the first one we met, he was surprised that we recognized him. I asked if it was true that Ritchie was hard to work with, he said it wasn't true.

The show was at the a place called the Warehouse. The show started with Spotlight kid, it rocked. Ritchie seemed to be in a very good mood. There was a lot of interaction on stage between him and Paul Morris during solos. Dougie is a great frontman and singer. Among the highlights, there were many, Mistreated and Temple of the King, Ritchie put a lot of emotion into the solos. Among the new songs Black Masquerade, my favorite on the SIUA, rocked, amazing solo.

They also changed a couple of bars at the end of Hall, it got intense Ritchie was riffing like a madman. The new drummer fitted in well, he has only one bass drum, which was good, I thought that Chuck had a tendency of over playing the songs. The encore was Burn, great version. The crowd really got in to it, there was about 1000 people, very good considering that the new album is hard to find and Ritchie hasn't toured North America in almost 10 years. I don't like to compare but I much preferred the Rainbow concert than the Purple 96. There is something exiting in seeing M. Blackmore play. To quote Ian G. in "Super Trooper" ...even tough you try to make me think you're magical... well Ritchie is in concert.

SET LIST:

Spotlight Kid
Long Live R'n'R (with a bit of black night)
Mistreated
Wolf at the Moon
Beethoven 9th (key solo)
Still I'm sad (drum solo)
Man on the silver mountain
Temple of the King
Black Masquerade
Ariel
Since you've been gone
Perfect Strangers
Hall of the mountain king

Encore:

Woman from Tokyo (a few bars)
Burn

Ozone






The Warehouse, Toronto, Canada 26 Feb. 1997


Feb. 26 at The Warehouse in Toronto (unfortunately, not sold out; DP packed it, about 3,000, at the same venue back in November.) Simply put, amazing. Mr. Blackmore blew us all away Wednesday night. Amdp'errs Jim Corrigenda, his wife, Lynn, Nick from Ottawa, Mark from Halifax and I met up for a couple of drinks before the show. It was like: "Where all Corrigenda the notes coming from?" There are guitar players, and then there's Ritchie Blackmore, who can whiz you to a musical land of euphoria in the simple space of a guitar fret.

After watching the opening act, the show began at 10:45 pm and ended at 12:15 a. m., so we got an hour and a half for our $20 tickets. Blackmore was his usual maestro-self on stage, directing the other lads with those darting glances or flick of the wrist commands which signal where to direct the next wave of music. It was my third time seeing him live (1982, Straight Between The Eyes; 1985, Perfect Strangers), but for this occasion, I got right up front to the stage, where I could witness TMIB's gymnastics up close.

It all began with the customary Wizard of Oz intro, and then Spotlight Kid. Right off the bat, there were good signs: the sound from his guitar amps was crystal clear, RB flashed a quick smile and the band was grooving. The highlights for moil were: (1) whenever RB touched his strings, (2) the absolutely speed king pace on Hall Of The Mountain King (3) the smoking' version of Burn (4) the warm and Purple shivers all over courtesy of Perfect Strangers, with fine vocals from Dougie and (5) TMIB plucking away on Woman From Tokyo.

Here's the setlist (thanks to Mark for jotting it down!)

Spotlight Kid
Long Live Rock And Roll
Mistreated
Wolf To The Moon/Difficult To Cure
(Piano solo)
Still I'm Sad
(Drum solo)
(Guitar solo - amazing!)
Man On The Silver Mountain
Temple Of The King
Ariel (nice dreamy background vocals from Candice)
Perfect Strangers
Hey Joe (aka Hey O.J.)
Hall Of The Mountain King
(ENCORE)
Woman From Tokyo
Burn

Of course, we all had quibbles about the set. Don't we always?! Hearing nothing from Rising was a letdown, but oh well, it's not every year(as) I get to see RB play. I hope the rest of you get to see RB on a good night like we did. You won't be disappointed, just amazed.

Glen Miller






The Warehouse, Toronto, Canada 26 Feb. 1997


Just got back. RB blew us AWAY!!!!! Best version of Burn I've ever heard *him* play. Great concert. HOTMK was THE highlight IMHO.

Setlist (thanks to Mark who took a job of taking notes)

Intro: Over the Rainbow
Spotlight Kid
Long Live Rock'N'Roll
Mistreated
Wolf to the Moon/Difficult to Cure/drum solo
Still I'm Sad/keyb solo
Live jam/Man on the Silver Mountain
Temple of the King
Black Masquerade
Ariel
Since You Been Gone
Perfect Strangers
Hey OJ
Hall of the Mountain King
encore:
Woman From Tokyo
Burn
Outro: Over the Rainbow

The show was just brilliant. Ritchie was in excellent mood that was obvious from the very beginning: the first thing he did after getting onstage was handing down a beer to some lucky guy in the front row and shaking hands with fans.

It was a general admission show (anyway, there're no seats at the Warehouse) and we stood in 5-6ish row, not more than 3 meters from the stage. Glen Miller and Mark managed to get even closer, but they had to wait in the line while it was raining. Perfect view. Nearly a perfect sound. Keyboards were a bit too low in the mix, but I didn't really care much about it. Guitar was loud and crystal clear.

Ritchie started delivering his outstanding performance right from the SK, playing all the arpeggios and solos. LLRNR was Ok, pretty much close to what they did on the Rockpalast show. Doogie tried to initiate guitar-vocals duo, but it didn't work out completely.

Mistreated/WTTM/DTC were the real treat, these are classic. I don't play anything myself, so I can't comment on technical details, but I was amazed how Ritchie's fingers were flying over the neck of his strat. Keyb solo was pretty messy, but as I was exposed to Dusseldorf boots, I didn't really expected much in this dept. SI'mS was a short version quickly going into drum solo. I guess, Jim will make professional comments on that, but I liked it. The guy seems to be getting into band pretty well. Doogie introduced him as 'John, our new drummer, who's been with us ...uhm... eight, nine - ten days already!'

A wonderful live jam starts with Ritchie teasing us with MOTSM licks. That was probably the point when I realised that in spite of all the enthusiasm and appreciation, I was badly missing something during last DP tour. Now that 'something' was playing his white strat in front of me... Mind you, I enjoy both bands tremendously. My point here is that it's just too bad for me that I haven't seen the Purps in all their 1972ish glory...

Temple of the King. Doogie and Greg start singing a capella, Ritchie joins in and plays a truly gorgeous long solo, teasing and building the tension, smiling and waving his head. Lovely moment. From here the show went with encreasing tightness up to the end. Black masquerade and Ariel, the real killers, imo, the two best cuts from SIUA, followed by shorty SYBG and full version of Perfect Strangers. To my surprise, Paul's solo in PS was quite good. He might be getting some inspiration from TMIB that night.

Hey OJ was a short thing mostly with Doogie fooling around with lyrics. Here comes HOTMK. Beautiful, energetic and Ritchie having his time first conducting the band and then going into really fast, unexpected and amazing solo. I was shocked. That happened to exceed all my expectations for this night. But here comes the encore, WFT - what a surprise! Again, that was a shortie with cutoff right before Jon's piano starts on the album. Ritchie comes to Doogie and they have a brief discussion. Doogie announces: 'That was a thing from a long ago, but you probably have heard it live a couple of months back [smirk]. Here comes another old one which you probably haven't 'heard for a while'. It's Burn. A killer version, a true highlight and a masterpiece of Ritchie's talent. I've screamed my voice off and still can't speak clearly ;).

We expected them to do SOTW, but no luck - the lights onstage go off and outro is played through the speakers. The show is over.

We're hanging around for a while and Doogie, Greg and Paul came out to chat with fans and sign whatever the stuff was there with us. Greg mentioned again that Ritchie had probably already left the place with Candice and that they don't see him much offstage. One of the guys next to me introduced himself to Doogie as a promoter from Poland and said that he's going to bring the band over there. So, panove might be lucky to see the guys live somewhere later ;). Greg also mentioned that they might be working on the new album towards the year end.

Too bad, we didn't manage to meet Ritchie, but even without that I had the time of my life. Thank you, Ritchie! Thank you, Doogie, Greg, Paul, John and Candice. And Long Live Rock'N'Roll!

Nick Soveiko






The Machine, Massillon, Ohio 27 Feb. 1997


After a long stint with Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore has finally brought his band Rainbow back to Ohio. When I first got to the venue I saw a huge line waiting to get into "The Machine". This place was small. I think it held around 300 people. It was a dump. I was really surprised that Rainbow would play this place. When I got into "The Machine", I went to the stage. It was a general Admission show. No seating here! The stage had a 3 foot chain link fence in front of it. The stage was very small.

The opening act was a local band called "Horse". They played for around thirty minutes of cover tunes. "Horse" even did "Freebird" from Lynyrd Skynyrd then after a brief pause while the roadies were setting up Rainbow's gear, the man in black made his appearance.

He had his knee high medieval boots on with a white Minstrel type shirt with the puffy sleeves. The fans cheered wildly while Ritchie Blackmore was shaking and 'high-fiving' the fans. He seemed to be in a great mood. They opened with "Spotlight Kid". It was LOUD. Doogie White the singer sounded very good. He had a mix of Dio and JLT in his voice. The sound mix was not good in the beginning all you heard was Ritchie Blackmore's guitar. During the Guitar and Key solo the sound worked itself out. "Long Live Rock n Roll" was next. Doogie got the fans into it. He's a great cheerleader.

Ritchie Blackmore again was amazing on the Guitar. He didn't have his Marshall Amps. Ritchie was using a German made amp called ENGL. Ritchie Blackmore didn't have much in effects. He did have his famous reel to reel tape player going. After "Long Live Rock n Roll" came the Purple tune "Black Night". Another awesome solo! The next song was "Still I'm Sad". That let everyone else in the band have a go at showing their stuff. Then they went right into "Difficult to Cure". That let the band open up and jam a bit. It was so good to hear these songs after such a long time. "Temple of the King" came next. I was very shocked to hear this great song off the first Rainbow album. The fans loved it, then another short break with RB passing out beers.

He switch guitars to do "Mistreated". Doogie White added his touch to this song. Doogie did the song justice. The next three songs were off the latest CD called "Strangers To Us All". They were "Ariel", "Wolf to the Moon" and "Hall of the Mountain King", which they performed the best version since I heard "Savatage" perform it years ago. "Man on the Silver Mountain" came and went with Ritchie giving us a lesson on how to do a guitar solo. After the fans settled down, the opening chords of "Since you were gone" were heard. This was not a bad version, although I think Graham Bonnets was better.

Ritchie Blackmore then commenced playing "Hey Joe", the Jimi Hendrix tune. Doogie changed the lyrics a little. Instead of "Hey Joe" he put in "Hey OJ where are you going with that knife in your hand?" Enter now "Perfect Strangers". This really got the fans up on their feet singing.

The band left the stage for a few minutes to then come back for a couple of encores, which have been rare in Rainbow over the years. They commenced with something called "A Waltz with Ritchie". It was him just fooling around with the guitar. A bit of "Woman From Tokyo and Hendrix's "Little Wing". The final song of the night was the monster called "Burn", which brought the house down!!!

What a way to end the show. Everyone in the small but very lively crowd went away satisfied.

Larry Mathis






The Machine, Massillon, Ohio 27 Feb. 1997


...My wife (Gail) and I arrived in Columbus on Thursday afternoon, and headed straight to Massillon. There we met up with several of the on-line folks (Bobby Gervais - 'Ritchfan', Jim Amentler - 'Gluteman', and Andy Hathaway - 'MOBRULES') at the venue, "The Machine", just as the band arrived for the sound check before the show. Doogie came up to the bar to order some hot tea and honey (he was nursing a cold) and we all got to chat with him for quite a while. He was very personable and a lot a fun to kid around with. He then joined the other band members (ex- Ritchie) on stage for sound check.

The sound check was a show in itself, Rainbow Eyes, Lady of the Lake, No No No, No One Came, Rocky Mountain Way, Heaven and Hell, and others. Doogie sounded fantastic, especially acapella, in spite of his cold. He truly has a great voice! This really got me more pumped for the show, if that was possible. Gail, who had never seen Rainbow or Ritchie before was loving it, and I told her just wait till we add the guitar to the mix :-). We got to meet and speak with Paul, Greg, and John after sound check. We were allowed to stay in the club after the sound check, enabling us to pick our spots for the show. I again took front row center stage just as I did at Jaxx a week earlier.

There was one opening act and they concluded around 10:15. Rainbow took the stage just after 11:00 p.m. They opened with the "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" track on the PA, and broke into a kicking version of "Spotlight Kid". These guys are amazing, as they come right out of the gate rocking at full speed.

Ritchie was energized and immediately began to play the crowd, shaking hands, pointing and nodding to the audience. His effort was relentless all evening and his playing was wonderful!! He actually seemed to be smiling more this evening than at Jaxx, although he handed out fewer beers here than at Jaxx :-).

Doogie put on a great show. He seems to improve each time I hear him. Ritchie and he seem quite comfortable with each other. Paul Morris seemed to be higher in the mix, sounding better and was more animated than at the Jaxx show. Greg Smith really cranks on bass and his vocals are a pleasant addition on several numbers. John Micelli is a really hard driving drummer - man this guy must work up one hell of a thirst! :-)

The highlight of the show for me was the encore. It began with an awesome rendition of "Woman From Tokyo". After that tune, Doogie inquired through his mike to the crowd as to what they would like to hear. People were going crazy. At the same time, Ritchie got down on one knee at the front center stage, looked straight into my eyes, about one foot away from my face and asked me what I wanted to hear. I took his cue and enthusiastically screamed "Burn". RB turned to Doogie, pointed at me and said "he wants Burn". He then proceeded to lead the band into, to quote a Jim Amentler phrase, "one of the best versions of Burn ever". Most certainly one I will always remember!!

Another marvelous show. The band played for nearly two hours. Ritchie gave a command performance, and again I can't emphasize enough how great it is to see a band like this in such an intimate setting.

We lingered around for a while after the show and got to speak with Paul Morris. He was very friendly and seemed to be in a great mood. He remembered us from the afternoon and thanked us for coming up from Georgia. On to Columbus!

John D. Tramontanis






The Machine, Massillon, Ohio 27 Feb. 1997


Thursdays show actually started for me on Wednesday night when I took the red eye flight from Los Angeles to Columbus, Ohio. It was rather uneventful, but very tiring. I left LA at 11:30 PM on Wednesday and arrived in Columbus at 11:00 AM Thursday morning. Tired, but excited to see Ritchie for the first time in 17 years, I sat and waited for Bobby Gervais to arrive at the airport from Texas. We ended up finding each other after I had him paged. After we got our luggage we got our rental car and left for the hotel.

The weather was (unseasonably) beautiful. Around 65-70 degrees in a city that's usually around 20-35 degrees that time of year. I go to Columbus every year to photograph the Arnold Schwartzeneger Classic. Arnold and his partner Jim Lorimer were good enough to collaborate with RB this year to make this a very special weekend.

Bobby and I got to the hotel, dropped off our stuff and started our 2 hour drive to Massillon. After a McDonalds stop, we got down to some serious driving. With Bobby driving our Chevy Lumina like he drives his Porsche, we got there in time for soundcheck. In fact, we got there before the band! Nice driving Bobby!

We walked around the venue to see if anyone was around and went in the front door, sat down, had a beer and started talking to club owner, Red, and promoter, Don. Great guys! We told them we flew in from California and Texas and they were shocked! We also met up with John Tramontanis and his wife Gail, who flew in from Atlanta and Andy who flew in from Florida. They were all very nice and we had a great time!

After a beer or two, Dougie, Greg Smith, Paul Morris and John Micelli walked into the club. We walked up to Dougie and introduced ourselves. He remembered me from our phone conversations (Stuart Smith hooked us up) and Bobby from previous shows that he had attended. We spoke for about 20 minutes when the other guys yelled for Dougie to come join the soundcheck that was already in progress. Ritchie and Candace were no where to be seen. Which probably explains why we were allowed to stay inside for soundcheck. The guys ran through many songs from Rainbow and others. Including, Black Masquerade, Perfect Strangers, No No No, No One Came, a FANTASTIC a capella version of Rainbow Eyes and a piece of Lady Of The Lake! They finished off with Heaven And Hell, Run To The Hills, a Meatloaf song and School's Out by Alice Cooper.

When soundcheck ended the owner told us to that since we had come from so far away, we could stay and just grab whatever seats we wanted instead of having to go back outside and get in line. We found a prime spot and waited for the show to begin. The first band on was actually pretty good. They should stick to the hard blues material they did so well and leave the more alternative sounding stuff out.

Then, around 11:00 PM, the lights went down and we heard the familiar, "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore!". After that it was almost 2 hours of fantastic music. Ritchie played extremely well. Dougie was amazing. Much better than the tapes that I have heard of the last tour and much better than on SIUA! Greg Smith is great as a bass player and as backing vocalist. I could definitely hear Greg and Dougie doing a fantastic job on the Mark III material. Paul Morris, the much maligned Rainbow keyboard player. I have to say that Paul played MUCH better that last year. He has obviously been listening to the old Tony Carey material as he incorporated many of those sounds into his work this night. I think that he's improved his sound greatly.

The setlist is as follows:

Spotlight Kid
Long Live Rock And Roll/Black Night
Mistreated (absolutely SMOKING version!!!!!)
Wolf To The Moon
Difficult To Cure/Keyboard Solo
Still I'm Sad/Drum Solo
Man On The Silver Mountain (another fantastic version!)
Waltzing With Ritchie
Temple Of The King (STUNNING! Best song of the show!)
Black Masquerade
Ariel
Since You've Been Gone
Perfect Strangers
Hey OJ

ENCORE
Woman From Tokyo
Burn (One of the best versions of Burn ever!)

All of the songs were done extremely well. The standouts being the ones above with comments next to them. It was a very enjoyable show. After, Bobby and John said that the Jaxx show was better. It had more improvisation. I had nothing on this tour to compare it to, so I thought it was amazing. It definitely ended too early. I would have loved another several hours of the guys playing! :)

The show ended around 1:00 AM. We hung around talking for a while and then decided that we should be going since we had a 2 hour drive back to Columbus! :( A long drive at that time of night, but, the show was well worth it. And I'd do it again! After stopping for some coffee to help the eyes to stay open we rocked on down the highway. Still amazed at how good Ritchie is. We finally ended up at the hotel at about 4:30 AM, very tired, but, very happy to have seen Rainbow that evening.

Well, on to the Columbus review in the next post.

Jim Amentler






The Machine, Massillon, Ohio 27 Feb. 1997


Thought I'd try a little review of the Rainbow show at Massillon. I live in NW Ohio so it only took us a few hours to get there. The Machine was kind of a scary place but I was able to get into the second row in front of Blackmore's Engle amps. I was able to see what he was playing the entire night. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the opening band. I thought the guitar cooked but the band lacked well written songs and a good singer. As for Rainbow, I was blown away! from the opening notes of Spotlight Kid to the closing notes of Burn, Rainbow was right on. I can not imagine a better evening. I personally felt that Rainbow hit stride in Mistreated, which I enjoyed as much as my Blackmore's Last Concert CD I got last year. This was one hot tune. Add to this, ending with a no holes barred version of Burn at the end of the night, and that spells a perfect evening.

I thought Deep Purple did a better job with Perfect Strangers, but Rainbow was good. Temple of the King was very nice, and Hey O.J. was great if only for Blackmore's skilled interpretation. This show has gone to reinforce my love for Blackmore's playing. I can't even imagine him playing any better than he did in Massillon. He didn't miss a note. I couldn't hear the keyboardist from where I was standing, but I could close my eyes and almost hear Paice playing the fills for Burn, and that's not easy to do, check out Glenn Hughes Burning Japan. Bass was fine and Mr. Doogie White was absolutely impressive. Being a longtime fan of Turner, but also admiring Dio and Bonnet, I'll have to add White to my list. Any word on Ritchie's new acoustic 1500's album?

Tinfool






Alrosa Villa, Columbus, Ohio 28 Feb. 1997


My wife (Gail) and I arrived at the 'Alrosa Villa' in Columbus on Friday afternoon. We again met up with Bobby Gervais and Jim Amentler, and several others that we met the night before in Massillon. The band had already begun the sound check, but we were not allowed inside. This time Ritchie was rehearsing with the band. Doogie came in and out several times through the backstage door to get some items from the tour bus, and conveniently (I believe intentionally) left the door slightly ajar enabling us to hear them jam. Thank you Doogie :-).

As the sound check wrapped up, Ritchie’s driver came out and got in the car, so we knew Ritchie would be exiting soon. As several folks followed the car as it circled the building, I spotted Candace peeking out of a door close to where I was standing. As I headed towards that door, the car also approached accompanied by the followers. About that same time, Ritchie and Candace made their exit from the building. Ritchie accommodated the small crowd by signing cds, posters, and other items. He was soft spoken and serious, polite, and somewhat shy it seemed. While he signed my copy of "Stranger In Us All", I thanked him for playing "Burn" the night before, and he broke into a subtle, albeit brief grin as if he recognized me from my request at Massillon. To answer the question as to whether he signed with his left or right hand - I have no idea. After being a fan and waiting 29 years to get TMIB’s autograph, I was too mesmerized at the time to notice (or care)!!

The gang then went to White Castle for a burger feast. I passed on the food, but I enjoyed seeing how many Castle burgers Gluteman and Ritchfan could consume at a single sitting!

There was one opening act. Rainbow took the stage just after 11:00 p.m. The set list was the essentially the same as the other evenings with different twists on several of the songs. The sound was better than the night before, and the show was fantastic.

The performance was full of highlights, but again "Temple of the King" stood out the most to me. Ritchie’s playing was highly emotional and Doogie’s vocals with Greg and Candace backing had a magical effect. I love the way the song softly fades, and then the band bursts into a wailing rendition of "Black Masquerade". Watching Ritchie’s fingers work during this tune is a sight to behold, and Doogie plays the crowd well during this one. The audience was loving it!

After the show, Doogie came out in the club and signed autographs and posed for a picture with me. We also got to speak with Greg Smith who was also very nice, and remembered us from the night before and thanked us for making the trip. We then said good-bye to Bobby and Jim and called it a night.

Again a memorable day and evening. What a week. It had been 15 years since I had seen Ritchie live, and getting to see the great one perform 3 times in 7 days was an opportunity I'm glad I was able to take advantage of. Even my wife, nearly a week later, is still humming Rainbow tunes around the house and talking about the show. She is even letting me play the stereo louder at home now too!!

Long Live Rock and Roll!!!!!!

John D. Tramontanis






Alrosa Villa, Columbus, Ohio 28 Feb. 1997


Columbus was a surprisingly nice town was easy to get around in and had some really nice people. We arrived about 4pm and Ritchie was already in the venue doing a soundcheck. The ever friendly roadies promptly shut the door in our faces to make sure we couldn't hear much of anything. I met a lot of nice people at the backstage door and tried my best to listen in. What I heard was Paul and Greg working up a combination bass keyboard thing that they would later play during the solo part in Still I'm Sad.

At one point I heard Ritchie playing very slow blues stuff on slide. It was just great and he kept on for a good twelve minutes doing this!!! Nice! I asked Dougie after this show about the blues thing that was improvised at Jaxx and Ritchie playing blues at the soundcheck. He said he had read in an interview that Ritchie said he didn't think Dougie had a good blues voice. Dougie said that bothered him so he learned a bit of blues let it rip at Jaxx. As for blues being in the regular set, Dougie couldn't really say whether Ritchie had any plans to put it in the set.

I gave Dougie a bottle of wine from Texas there and asked to come in and watch the soundcheck. He said "Ritchie's not letting ME into the soundcheck man!"

After the soundcheck though I left the group back backstage and followed Rob in a the car. Sure enough there came Ritchie and Candice!!! I said hello and got a few autographs. He was soft spoken and extremely cordial. I asked him if he gotten the bottle of wine from Texas I gave to Rob to give him at Jaxx as he exited the stage door. He said yes and thanks. I said "I hope this is a reminder that you have a lot of loyal fans in texas who would love to see you." He said he had some offers in Texas he was considering. I hope they make it down to Texas soon so I don't have to keep flying all over the place to see them!!!! A got an autograph from a smiling Candice.

THE GIG

This gig was excellent. It blew away the Massillon gigs was my opinion and others who witnessed both. The venue was nicer than the boarded up in the middle of nowhere "Machine" in Massillon. Sound was really nice and monitors seemed to be working great. All members were hot and the show was quite memorable.

I have to tell what happened before the band went on. The little Japanese couple who I saw at every gig were up at the front next to me. The guy is named Tem. Ritchie's assistant who we called English Rob came over to him and said "alright Tem, like I said- NO TAPING! I mean it mate, NO TAPING". Tem looked at him sheepishly and shrugged. Perhaps there will be a good set of recordings floating around Japan soon!!!! A sixteen Cd box set I imagine..... ha ha

The set list contained all the usual stuff and a bit of Lazy before Since You Been Gone. Candice was back for Ariel and did rather well. The addition of a little classical thing done with Paul, Greg, John and Ritchie was a nice lead in to the keyboard solo. Also thrown in was a really awesome bass solo by Greg, no more rhythm section stuff. Greg did a full blown bass solo. Lead bass. I didn't know he could play like that!!!!

There was little kid about twelve up there at the front next to me. Dougie and Ritchie both, at different parts of the show came over to shake his hand. Dougie gave him a coke too. Seeing him there reminded me of when I saw my first gig. I was twelve and the gig was Rainbow in 1981 in Dallas. I was never the same again and couldn't help but think the same of this little kid I saw. His eyes were wide with excitement. So were mine still.

The show had all the markings of being as good musically as Jaxx (although without all the improvised stuff) until after Perfect strangers. After Perfect Strangers Ritchie looks ready to play some more. The show was a cracker up to that point, the crowd was going wild, the sound was good, Dougie was hitting the notes and Ritchie wanted to play. Were we to get some special stuff like at Jaxx? NO. Thanks to John Micelli. Ritchie looked back to start playing something else. There was John leaving the drum kit. Ritchie glared at him. John motioned that he needed some water. Like schoolteacher scolding a child, Ritchie pointed to the drum stool as if to say SIT DOWN. John jumped back into the stool. Ritchie just shook his head and walked off as if to say aw fuck it. ARGGGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGH!!!!!!!! There went the chance for something special. The band did return and played killer versions of My Woman and Burn, but again, no Smoke on the water. The band played about 95 mins. Great show!!!

AFter the show Dougie came out to sign autographs and talk to the fans. He is a true gent.

next: Chicago (KILLER!!!!)

Bobby Gervais






Harpo's, Detroit, Michigan 1 March 1997


Well -- the bottom line is that Dougie was great (I will now go back and listen to SIUA with new respect). He REALLY handled the Dio material well -- what a great singer. RB was in fine form -- (for what I saw).

I went to "Harpo's" (an old rotting nightclub (former movie theater ) in one of the worst parts of Detroit) at 7 PM -- waited for an HOUR to get in to the place (NO doors were open). The tickets said showtime was 8:00 but guess what? Two warm-up bands played from 8:30 til 11:15, so Rainbow didn't hit the stage til 11:30!

My 2 kids were with a weary relative, and I was so worried I left in the middle of the 4th song! ^@#$%%%#@!@!!$#% I HOPE to be able to see another show in the Midwest before they Leave!

Ed Coury



Harpo's, Detroit, Michigan 1 March 1997


I didn't go for the RBR concert because Harpos is in the roughest neighborhood in Detroit and I didn't want to do it alone. (Call me chicken!). However, I did meet up with a guy yesterday at the Detroit Record Club show and he told me the concert sucked! He was pretty bummed 'cause his friend in Columbus saw a great show there. RB's guitar licks were much too lame to fire up the crowd. He said the mix was awful and the RB's guitar was much too loud. But then again someone did say when it is too loud you're too old. :-)

Amit Roy






Jackhammers, Schaumberg, Illinois 2 March 1997


On to Chicago, the windy City. It was a true pleasure to meet Mark Cantin and Collin O'Brien before the gig. We went to the show together early. Unfortunately there was no real backstage area and the band did not appear to do a soundcheck. We stood in line (despite being told the weather was nice for this time of year, i froze my Texas ass off....). Dougie and Paul came over and some point to us in line to tell me hello. Mark and Collin got to meet them at least for a short time.

The venue was really nice and laid out well for a show. The only disappointment was that the marquee outside listed "Rainbow and next week the Bay City Rollers." Groan!!!

Inside the show we saw Dougie over by the girl selling T-shirts. I had heard the girl selling T-shirts say she was Dougie's wife so i asked Dougie. Dougie said they recently got married!!!!!!! I asked when and he said the day before the Birch Hill gig!!! I was surprised and joked "the lengths you will go to, Dougie to get a visa!!" ha ha. His wife is really nice and from Virginia. After the Chicago gig they were going away for a few days. I told Dougie if he makes it to Texas I want him to be my guest and take him deep sea fishing. He eagerly accepted and said he hopes they play Texas. I offered to take him to some good bars too but he said "I'm a married man now" and couldn't go. Yeah, right, Dougie!!!

The opening band were a fairly good original band but they had this guitarist who looked like a cross between Brian May and Gino Vinelli who kept doing windmills on his guitar and throwing up his pick and missing it!!! It was funny to watch!!

THE GIG

I snuggled up to the front and said hi to Tem and his wife. The band hit the stage and musically, this was the best gig I saw. The solos were creative and inspired, the sound incredible, and Dougie was blowing out the PA. In particular the Mistreated solo was a quiet solo much more like the old 1976 tour solos, until Ritchie hits that guitar synth and does some middle eastern harmonic minor scales. Very nice. A young lady also decides to take her top off and point to Dougie. Quite a nice sight!! The bass solo again was terrific!! Ariel had a sweet, sweet slow slide solo. Very melodic!!!! Since You Been Gone was thrown in too with Dougie singing "I get the same old shit, same time every night..."

The encore was Woman from Tokyo, an improvised piece "Smokin in Schaumberg" Burn and Smoke on the water back in the set. Greg was obviously sick because Dougie sang the high part on Burn that Greg usually sings. He did it well too. Killer performances all around. Nice set running about 105 mins. Best sound and solos and "Dougie screams". Great show to end my mini tour on.

After the show we found a side entrance with Robs car running. Mark, Collin and I had brilliant timing and found Ritchie and Candice coming out the door. Ritchie stopped and signed a few autographs for us. It was just the three of us. He was super nice again and let us shower him with some heartfelt praise. When I tell Ritchie he has changed my life, I really mean it. He and Candace hopped in the car. I did the Ritchie medieval hand sign to him and he gave me a thumbs up. As the car left I did the same to Candace and she took the effort to turn around and do the hand sign back to me out the back window. Wow. What a way to go out.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Well I made it to five shows and would have done more if they had been on weekends where I wouldn't have to exhaust my few vacation days I have at my work.

Birch Hill was raw energetic and fresh.

Jaxx was musically brilliant and has some really special improvised stuff. Ritchie's Blues in particular was really something to see.

Massillon had a soundcheck that I will always remember. I hope Dougie does some of that LA Connection in LA next week. Lady of the Lake would be fine too I guess!!!!!

Columbus was brilliant and could have been another Jaxx if Micelli had kept his seat. I hope Ritchie will do that 12 minute blues jam again like he did at soundcheck.

Chicago was musically the best gig and had a little bit of improv too.

Paul- I met up with Paul at most of the gigs and met his asian girlfriend at Birch Hill. Super nice guy sporting a new John Paul Jones haircut. His solo is much improved since Germany 1995. I had a hard time hearing him if I was up at the front. The keyboards run through the PA I guess and there is little monitor.

GREG- Greg was always thundering away and kept up with Ritchie's impromptu changes. He never missed a note and did some great vocals too. The bass solo helped a lot. It brought Greg out from being just a rhythm player- it showed everyone what he can do. He is a great guy.

John- Hmmmmmmm.... I only met John at Birch Hill and Jaxx. He seemed very confidant then and a little more humble at Jaxx after Ritchie threw a lot of improv at him. For someone who only had two weeks or so to learn all the songs- he did extremely well. He needs to bring a water bottle with him though!!! ha ha

Candice- lovely as ever but not at all the shows. She was probably sick too. She had no monitor it looked like so that made it hard for her. Very happy to meet the fans though.

Ritchie- well Ritchie is Ritchie. Looking very fit and inspired with this group of musicians he continually gets out there with no nonsense and just starts ripping it up. He plays fast and furious. He also plays slow and melodic. He plays slide and if you are lucky you will find him playing blues too. His solos are great and you probably don't notice but often he is playing them with his eyes closed or not even looking at his hands. Sometimes he does so while in motion across the stage. He stands in front of the drums for most of the show as if to say "this is my band and I am happy". His hand gestures and nods keep the band on their toes and let him play and play, changing things up how he likes them. I love it. The best parts are the quiet parts in Mistreated, Ariel, and Temple of the King. Also the ripping fast stuff in Black Masquerade, the improvised stuff like Blackmore's Blues and the funky new intro to Man on the Silver Mountain.

Dougie- Ritchie is, of course, the star. However I have to give a plug for Dougie. Night after night, he gives 200 per cent. His vocals really cut through and he takes great pains to add a little bit of harmony and different vocal approach. He seems perhaps more confidant. Before the Birch Hill show I asked him if he was nervous. He said no, he just gets out there and sings. If he thought about it might affect him and then he'd be nervous.

Just like Ritchie plays different solos every night, Dougie does some different vocals every night. It is refreshing to hear his different vocal approaches to the same songs. You do hear a bit of Coverdale and Dio in songs like Mistreated and Smoke, but Dougie really is stepping into his own style. I assumed that Ritchie was my connection to the 1976 Rainbow sound that I adore. Seeing His playing is of course a reminder of those days. However, I really think that Dougie is the greatest link to 1976 Rainbow. His singing in particular on Mistreated keeps true to the original stuff yet he changes it up and makes it his own. His out-tro harmonies on Mistreated don't sound like anything you have heard before from 1976 but they sound like they could have been done at any 76 show. Even on new songs like Wolf to the moon and Ariel, if you listen to some of these live versions they have vocals melodies similar to the "old stuff."

Night after night if you are up at the front you see the tremendous effort he puts forth. Monitors may or may not be there for Dougie but his vocals were conconsistently. He seems to be singing better than I have ever heard him. For many of the shows he was sick too. Yet every night up there he sings until he is blue in the face. You will scream it out, drop to the floor in front of me, shake off the sweat running off his face and get up and belt out some more. He is a true professional.

Dougie will always find time to talk to you and sign whatever you like. He has a great sense of humor and at one show I remember him taking a photo with a fan where his holding up a sign he had scribbled "NOT JOE LYNN TURNER". Good luck Dougie and I hope to hear that solo album.

All in all it was a tremendous trip for me. Meeting people from the internet, and meeting Ritchie and Candice, and five wonderful shows so close to Ritchie I could have tickled him. I hope they come to Texas and Dougie, I hope I get that fishing trip some day.

Bobby "Baby Blackmore" Gervais






Jackhammers, Schaumberg, Illinois 2 March 1997


I got a chance to see Ritchie and Rainbow live this past Sunday. Mark Cantin, Bobby Gervais, and I showed up at Jack Hammers around 4:00 to begin waiting in line. The show was general admission. After standing around for 2+ hours and listening to a lot of "who's singing for Rainbow these days?" questions, the doors finally opened and we headed to the front to find a good place to stand (no chairs, unfortunately....).

The venue itself was *small*; my guess is the attendance was about 700-800, in a place that would ordinarily hold about 500. Needless to say, it was also ridiculously hot as a result, at least until 1/3 of the way through Rainbow's set when some clever person at the club realized there was an ample supply of cold air outside and decided to open the door. Hey, it only took them 4 hours to figure it out...

Opening band #1 (Wave) went up at about 7:30, an hour and a half later than scheduled. They sounded like they were trying to be Pearl Jam imitators, but other than that weren't too bad.

Opening band #2 (The Boyzz from Illinois) came on immediately afterwards, at about 8:15. They played until about 9:00.... which in their case was 45 minutes too long. They seem to have spent too much time on the visual end of their show, and may need to concentrate a little more on some other things.... like writing songs and playing instruments. The lead guitarist spent most of his time throwing his pick in the air and trying to catch it (operative word here being "trying"; I think about 70% of his tosses landed on the unsuspecting drummer). At one point he also tripped and managed to pull his cord out of his effects pedals. In retrospect it was a lot like watching a living version of "Spinal Tap". Their drummer was actually pretty good, though he did manage to break his snare during "Won't Get Fooled Again".

We then stood around for another hour (easily supported by the crowd around us; we couldn't have fallen if we'd passed out). Finally at 10:00 Ritchie and the band took the stage. The set list was pretty much the same as previous shows, so I won't bother repeating the entire thing here. The order was changed around a bit, and Ritchie included pieces of Lazy and Since You Been Gone.

The first thing that struck me was how happy Ritchie looked; hard to believe it's the same guy from years past. His performance throughout the night was amazing. He put a tremendous amount of energy into every song. Most incorporated extended soloing and improvising, and it seemed like he only opened his eyes when he was moving around the stage. I haven't seen him play with that much passion in a long, long time. And without a doubt he can still *play*. He's apparently lost nothing over the years, and in fact may be better now than ever before.

Dougie was an incredible singer. He did a good job of covering Dio and JLT-era Rainbow tracks, as well as Coverdale and Gillan DP songs. This is not meant to imply that he *sounded* like any of the other singers, but is a testament to the versatility of his voice that he can do justice to all those songs. I'd been curious to hear how Dougie would sound live; I liked his vocals on SIUA, and hoped he be able to match that performance live. Without a doubt he did, at least for the most part. There were a couple of points during Ariel and Wolf to the Moon when he sangs things a bit differently than he did on SIUA, and it seemed a little strange to me (probably because I'm used to the album versions). Whether this was a conscious effort on Dougie's part or the result of a cold I don't know. Apparently Dougie and Greg have both been sick (Chicago does that to you).

Greg Smith (bass) was steady all night, and he seemed to have no trouble keeping up with whatever Ritchie was doing at the time. His voice blended very well with Dougie's, and I thought his backing vocals added a lot to songs like TotK and Burn.

Paul Morris (keyboards) also did a good job IMO. Many of the reviews I've read thus far had been pretty unfavorable towards him, but I didn't have any major complaints with his playing. He definitely needed to be brought up in the mix a bit, though. He was tough to hear except for when soloing. And he clearly isn't playing the role in the band that Tony Carey, Don Airey, etc., did. Maybe this will come in time as he gets more familiar with the material; I'd like to hear more interplay between him and Ritchie.

John Micelli (drums) was not bad, either, particularly considering the fact that he's only been in the band for a couple of weeks. My only complaint about his playing is that he was a little over-enthusiastic during "Ariel", which didn't fit with the overall mood of the song.

The highlight of the show for me was "Temple of the King"; the combination of Dougie and Greg's vocals with Ritchie's playing was stunning. I was also impressed with the new material live, in particular Wolf to the Moon and Ariel. These happen to be my favorite tracks off of SIUA, and I had been wondering how they would sound live. My chief problem with the show, though I'm sure nearly everyone will argue with me, was song selection. I love MotSM, LLRnR, etc., but I've heard them enough over the years. I'd happily have traded them, SotW, Perfect Strangers, and WFT for Tarot Woman, Gates of BabBabylonyes of the World, etc. Ah, maybe next time....

I had a chance to talk to Dougie for a few minutes before the show, and he's a genuinely nice guy. At one point he posed for a picture, holding an "I'm Not JLT" sign in front of himself; obviously the guy has a sense of humor... After the show we also managed to catch Ritchie on his way out. We had a chance to say hello and get a quick autograph. He was friendly and a gentleman throughout.

After seeing DP a couple of months ago and RB now, I'll stick with my original statement that RB and DP do *not* belong together. Each is better off without the other. And as long as Steve keeps putting out solo albums in addition to his DP contribution, I couldn't be happier: 3 sources of great music where before there were only 2.

Collin O'Brien






Beaumont, Kansas City, MO 9 March 1997

***Rainbow Rocks Kansas City!***


At 10:13 CST, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow took the stage in Kansas City, MO to loud cheering as Judy Garland said "I have a feeling were not in Kansas anymore..." (Most appropriate, since we were less than two miles from the state line.) I arrived at the venue about 7:00 with my wife and met up with EW Grummons from Omaha. We proceeded to take our places next to the barricade, front and center. After the warm up band finally got off the stage, the anticipation and excitement grew. Of course there's nothing like Judy Garland to really get the areadrenalinowing.

As the band came out on stage, Ritchie came to the edge of the stage and shook a few hands. Then the band started out on fire. After "Spotlight Kid", Doogie asked the fans "in Kansas" if they liked rock'n'roll. After "Long Live Rock'n'Roll", and Ritchie tore through "Mistreated" with a solo nothing short of inspiring, Doogie came on stage with a big note reminding him that he was in Kansas City and not Kansas! The rest of the show was absolutely fantastic, though much to my disdisappointmenthey left out "Temple of the King" tonight.

The high point of the show was "Black Masquerade". Near the end of the song, Ritchie walked to center stage and pointed to himself as if to say, "Let me take this for a while". He then delivered a blistering extended solo that was flat out awesome. He ended up on knees as the place was going crazy. It was vintage Blackmore. Ritchie was having a good time as he started playing a short little country and western tune that turned into a drinking song. (Normally the place is a c&w bar.)

He gave the new drummer a hard time, as he told Doogie to announce "Street of Dreams" and tell everyone that since the drummer was new he didn't know the song. Ritchie then laughingly broke into "My Woman From Tokyo" to end the main set. For the encore, the band came out and played "Maybe Next Time", before bringing the house down with "Burn". As the song ended, Doogie walked off the stage and over to the barricade, where Ember and I proceeded to hoist him up on top of the railing. He whipped the crowd into a frenzy from atop the barricade, as the song came to an end. All in all it was a great show. I only wish it would have lasted longer than the ninety minutes it did! Those of you still waiting to see the band get ready for an incredible show. LONG LIVE RAINBOW!!!!!!!!

Phil Semo






Electric Ballroom, Tempe, Arizona 13 March 1997


I am sitting here in my hotel room at 12:15 at night. My ears are ringing, but there is a big smile across my face. I just got back from the Rainbow show here in Phoenix, and what a show it was! Read on, my friends!!!!!

My buddy Rob and I got to the club ('The Electric Ballroom') early in the afternoon with opes of meeting Ritchie during a sound check. He never showed up, but I got to talk to Candice, Doogie, and Paul Morris (keyboards). Doogie was a pretty funny guy, down to earth and willing to chat with a fan. Candice was an absolute angel. She was kind, talkative, and a pleasure to be around. Ritchie is one lucky guy to have her. I got all three of their signatures on my Stranger In Us All CD.

We were first in line whewhene doors opened. I was impressed with the Electric Ballroom. It is a great place to see a show. Good security, tall ceilings (re: not a sweatbox), and big stage. And of course I staked out my spot right in front of the stage. No one was coming between Ritchie and me. Enough with that. On with the review...

After the warm up band (Caroline's Spine) split, black curtains covered the stage. After what seemed like an eternity, Ritchie came out. He was in a great mood, and they played an updated set list. From memory, here goes my best shot at the songs in the order that I remember them:

--Over the rainbow intro--
Spotlight kid
Long live rock and roll
Mistreated
Irish drinking song
Wolf to the moon
Difficult to cure
Man on the silver mountain
Still I'm sad
Temple of the king
Black masquerade
Ariel
Since you've been gone
Street of dreams
Perfect strangers
-----------------------------
Weiss Heim
Woman from Tokyo
Burn
--Over the rainbow outtro--

What a set list!!!! In my post-concert stupor, I may have missed one or two. And there was a few solos (keyboards, bass, and drums) somewhere in there. The band hit on all cylinders. Blackmore was in great form, and Doogie impressed me with his vocal range and ability. Morris (keyboards), Smith (Bass), and Micelli (drums) all sounded great as well. Ritchie joked with the crowd, and even gave me his beer after Long live rock and roll. I downed it immediately, tasted like a German beer.

The crowd really got into it. We made some serious noise, and I know that Ritchie appreciated it. The sound was great, and I like the new-sound Engl amps. Ritchie played his white Strat the whole show.

I have seen Rainbow 3 times (all with Dio) and I must say that this was probably the best Rainbow show I have seen. I don't want to start a Doogie-Dio war, but Doogie is formidable competition should one start. They are different singers with different styles. But to hear so many songs and such a diverse setlist, you got to hand it to Doogie who pulled it off with ability and talent. (Note: It always bugged me that the Dio-era Rainbow played so few songs live.)

Standing right next to me were a couple from Japan. And I thought flying in from California for the show was something! Anyway, Ritchie recognized them and told Doogie to introduce them to the crowd. He flirted with the girl frequently, and practically sang the entire Woman from Tokyo while looking into her eyes. They really dug it!

All in all, it was quite a night. I got autographs from Doogie and Morris, meet the infamous Candice, saw Ritchie and the rest of the band in their finest form, and rocked to a new-setlist. Even drank a beer from Ritchie. You simply can't ask for much more. Rock on.

Steve Baker






The Galaxy, Santa Ana, CA 16 March 1997


Last night was the GREATEST night of my life!!!!! At the start of the show Ritchie came out and walked right up to me, knelt down and shook my hand! I waited 10 years for this show and that handshake made up for all those years. During LLRnR Doogie put the mic down and let me sing the chorus with him! Then Ritchie gave me a beer, which I thanked him for. To top it off after the drum solo (which was pretty good, I like this Micelli guy) I noticed Ritchie giving Doogie a piece of paper and pointing to me.

Doogie proceeded to walk right up to me and give me the show schedule complete with the bands autograph including Ritchie's and Candice's. As far as the show went it was awesome Ritchie was ON FIRE! He was definitely stoked to be in California again. The set list was as usual but Ritchie really stretched out on LLnR, Mistreated, TOTK and Black Masquerade. They did 4 encores: Maybe Next Time, Burn, Street of Dreams and Smoke. I hope someone got this on either audio or video cause this was incredible!

HunterWay9






The Galaxy, Santa Ana, CA 16 March 1997
Billboard Live, West Hollywood, CA 17 & 18 March 1997


I went to both LA show and the Santa Ana gig and here are my views.

The Galaxy gig- bad mix, short set, (we got about 1 min. version of WFT and SYBG) and to top it off Ritchie walked off in the middle of SOTW, bottom line- bad gig not very impressed.

The first LA show- Awesome show, much better mix, Ritchie played lots of extended solos, thus the songs were longer. No encore though. Bottom line- Ritchie was definitely on.

Second LA show- decent show, but nothing great, played all the songs from the setlist. Did 2 encores with a smokin version of Burn. SOTW was very flat and uninspired, bottom line- a decent effort by Ritchie and the band.

Aside from Ritchie, the rest of the band were "ok", Paul Morris I could hardly hear (so I can't pass judgement, his solo was nothing great though)

Greg Smith (he's a keeper, solid bass player and tasteful solos and harmony vocals)

John MicMicellioo much double bass, doesn't have a clue about "dynamics", a capable drummer, but get rid of him)

Doogie (great range, doesn't have control yet, he can hit the high notes easily, but he seems to have trouble coming down in pitch. The only song he didn't sing well was Street of Dreams, overall a good edition)

The two minute versions of songs gotta go, and there were definitely weird places of songs, Street of Dreams should not be an encore, put that in the middle of the set if you are going to play it, samsame thingth "Vielleicht Das NacNachsterl", This is a rock concert and save your rockin songs for the end of the set.

Frank






Billboard Live, West Hollywood, CA 17 March 1997


Playing Los Angeles for the first time in nearly a decade, guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore showed the long-suffering faithful that it was worth the wait by spending two hours tearing up the Sunset Strip. The former Deep Purple star returned for the first of two soldout nights with yet another incarnation of his band Rainbow.

The parts are interchangeable as long as Blackmore helms the band although the other four players displayed proficient technical and improvisational chops particularly keyboardist Paul Morris. The latter's playing ran the gamut from classically-influenced waterfalls of sound to bluesy, boogie-woogie stomping. And Ritchie's rhythm section didn't let him down. They kept the manic proceedings anchored with lots more swing and groove than most metalheads are capable of.

But of course the star of this three-ring hard-rock circus is the enigmatic Blackmore, he of few words (actually no words) and the mighty guitar. Underrated may not be the term to apply to him but he is often overlooked when it comes to superior hard rock guitar players. His playing was a combination of raw, noisy riffing counterbalanced with grandiose melodic passages that revealed his classical influences. He's still fast too but not at the expense of the song. Needless to say, his playing drove the packed house nuts.

Rainbow did a handful of numbers from their recent Fuel Records CD, "Stranger In Us All," showcasing worthy new additions to their catalog like "Black Masquerade" and the howling "Wolf To The Moon." Even better, Rainbow favorites including "Man On The Silver Mountain," "Street Of Dreams" and "Since You Been Gone" were included. The pop stylings of the latter pair showed just how adept Blackmore is at melding hard rock and commerciality.

Blackmore also gave a serious nod to his Purple past. He teased the fans with a brief "Woman From Tokyo" before launching into a shattering "Perfect Strangers." But the highlight was his monstrous, dark soloing on the Purple metal-blooze classic "Mistreated." Even Page, Hendrix and Beck would have taken notes during this one.

John Lappen - Hollywood Reporter 1997






Billboard Live, West Hollywood, CA 17 & 18 March 1997
The Edge, Palo Alto, CA 19 March 1997


Having seen all three LA shows, one thing stands clear: Ritchie Blackmore is THE BEST and for all the Steve Morse/DP magic on Purpendicular, they can't raise a candle towards what Rainbow accomplished live here. Last night was one of the legendary near-perfect shows, with the material from SIUA standing out from anything recorded by DP with or without RB since Perfect Strangers. The actual set list ran like this on 3/18 at the Billboard Live Club on Sunset Strip (former site of Gazzarri's Nightclub, which launched Van Halen and The Doors among others):

SPOTLIGHT KID
LONG LIVE ROCK N' ROLL (with a bit of BLACK NIGHT)
MISTREATED
WOLF TO THE MOON/DIFFICULT TO CURE/STILL I'M SAD (with keyboard, bass and drum solos)
MAN ON THE SILVER MOUNTAIN
TEMPLE OF THE KING
BLACK MASQUERADE
ARIEL
BLACKMORE'S BLUES
SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE
PERFECT STRANGERS
---------
ENCORE:
WOMAN FROM TOKYO
BURN
HEY JOE (done as Hey OJ)
SMOKE ON THE WATER
STREET OF DREAMS

It was a fascinating night in a great club filled with an electricity that few guitarists can rival. Indeed, Tony Iommi, Van Halen, Mick Jagger and others were there to watch it come down. DP has a way to come live to rival what Blackmore accomplished with a band of unknowns... but he has the SONGS to match the chops. I have seen DP and RB many times since 1972... and this spate of three shows beats nearly all of them! Don't miss Rainbow if they travel your way... it's special.

JJ Gunne






Billboard Live, West Hollywood, CA 18 March 1997


In a Nutshell: Awesome

Songs (in reverse order):

Encore 2:
18.Street of Dreams
17.Smoke on the Water (Ritchie and Greg Smith switch instruments during the song with Ritchie playing bass.

Encore 1:
16.Burn (excellent solo)
15.Hey OJ (Hey Joe)
14.Weiss Heim (excellent)

Main Concert (they may be slightly out of order):
13.Women From Tokyo
12.Ariel (excellent)
11.Perfect Strangers
10.Black Masqerade (best song overall with exceptional guitar solo)
9.Temple of the King (excellent)
8.More Bar songs
7.Wolf to the Moon
6.Difficult to Cure (excellent, this song really got the crowd into it)
5.Since you been gone
4.Bar Songs
3.Mistreated (very different version}
2.Long Live Rock N Roll
1.Spotlight Kid

I probably forgot a song or two.

Other highlight of the show included:
Excellent Venue
Show recorded live by Westwood One : )
Doogie being passed around the crowd.
Band playing tight and sounding excellent
Ritchie playing better than ever
Ritchie having fun
They played small parts of Lazy and Greensleeves

Anyways this is just my 6th time seeing the man in black (over 17 years) and am I ever glad I got to see him one more time.

Dave Schmitz






Billboard Live, West Hollywood, CA 18 March 1997


I'm glad I waited a day and went on Tuesday.... this show was the BEST I've heard Ritchie play. The sound was about a million times better than in Santa Ana.... of course standing about 20 feet away from the PA speaker pointed directly at me probably helped.

RB's tone was absolutely awesome.... the ENGL amps (which must be Class A.... creamy tone!) totally blew away his usual Marshall tone. Of course, a lot has to do with RB's fingers as with most guitarists.

The set varied from Santa Ana with the addition of "Hey OJ"... uh, I mean "Hey Joe" with new lyrics.... "Hey, OJ... where you going with that knife in your hand?" & "Blues" among others. The L.A. Times (Orange County Edition) had a review of the Santa Ana show and basically said it was just OK. THIS show was definitely about 10 times better.... Ritchie more "into it" (Maybe he was expecting music industry types and other known players to be there). I would have paid a couple hundred dollars for this show.... it was that good. Yngvie has a LONG way to go to be this musical. And we were spared the usual yawwwn opening band.

I do remember Dougie at one point shaking his head back & forth in the manner of Gillan. IMO Dougie is the best singer since Dio to have sung in Rainbow.... I couldn't tell he had a cold. Greg Smith & Paul Morris both have more than enough talent.

And SIUA blasting in the car tape player all the way back home...

Carl






The Edge, Palo Alto, CA 19 March 1997


Here is my review of last night's Rainbow concert at The Edge Nightclub in Palo Alto, CA. I read the few others that were posted, good stuff! I think I got the setlist for this show straight, I may be off on a song or two, or missed one, but I know they did all these. I'll post the setlist in this post, my views on the shows in part 2. Setlist for last night's Rainbow show (the last Rainbow show for awhile it looks like):

1.Over the Rainbow (no canned Toto, I have a feeling were not in KS anymore....:-( / Spotlight Kid
2.Mistreated-RB solo
3.Long Live Rock N Roll-w/ a bit of Black Night (crowd here did do whoa whoa part!)/and drinking song-Faleri-Falera
4.Wolf to the Moon-Difficult to Cure
5.Paul Morris solo
6.Still I'm Sad-Greg Smith and John Micelli solos
7.Man on a Silver Mtn.
8.Temple of the King
9.Black Masquerade (one line of Gates of Babylon after-fan request)
10.Woman From Tokyo (first verse)
11.Ariel
12.Since You've Been Gone (first verse)
13.Perfect Strangers

Encores (done together, after the band came back onstage)
14.Maybe Next Time
15.Burn

I thought the show was good, not as exciting as the LA shows, or some others I've read reviews on, but a solid show. Ritchie must be tired, he didn't move much early in the show, and mostly just played, got on his knee once I saw, shook hands with the crowd 2 or three times, no beers to crowd or any of that. Doogie was fun, he does the Coverdale bit with the micstand-crotch bit, had the black leather pants and all, but was energetic, having fun. He sang well, still had a cold I think, sang in a lower register sometimes (but spoke to the audience clearer than Gillan did last yr. when I saw Purple!). Greg Smith was good, bass and singing, Doogie introduced him as from "Wayne's World" (he was in Alice Copper's band at the time and was in the movie!). John Micelli was powerful, big boot sound! Twirled the sticks, threw them in the air a few times, showman, not like Cozy Powell is, but good. Paul Morris I couldn't hear much, except on the intros and his solo, which was OK, he's gotten a bit better, still not my fave.

There were about 1000 people there last night, good crowd! A lot didn't get into it, must not have known the newer songs. Some stuff got large approval, the DP stuff, and things like Man on a Silver Mtn. High points-Mistreated, Ariel, Temple of the King, Maybe Next Time, Burn (oooo, both last two, soooo good!). Low points-little keyboard interplay with RB, no whammy bar stuff from RB, no Smoke...., Hey Joe/OJ, Street of Dreams, Man on a Silver Mtn. sounded hollow, where was the guitar?? Overall, an average Rainbow show, with some highs. We also got-Doogie carrying a tray of cheese I think to Paul Morris at the end of the keybd. solo, and Candice coming out front at Doogies' request, for a tambourine solo :-) after Ariel, and danced with Doogie till TMIB broke them up. Sorry I didn't get to meet the amdpers or AOLers there, got there in the middle of Vicious Rumors act-9:15PM. A good show, good to have Ritchie and company come back to this area (Doogie seemed to like it here by what he was saying :-). I stood near the amps on the left side of the stage, about 4 people back, nearer to Morris and Smith, sound was OK, RB's sound was fine! Best I've heard sound wise in the 4 times I've seen him in my life now. Fun night, hope it happens again!

Michael Friedman






The Edge, Palo Alto, CA 19 March 1997


I was standing directly behind the soundboard for the whole show. The person who was running the board for the opening act (possibly the "house" soundman) moved up to run the monitor mixing board during Rainbow, and Rainbow's soundman took over the main board. One of the roadies moved through all the instruments on stage, tapping microphones, playing keyboard chords, and pounding drums, as the soundman set each channel level on the board. I noticed they started with keyboards, and only checked a couple of them. There was only one channel devoted to them on the mixing board, anyway. In contrast, there were 7-8 channels for drums (Tom-1, T-2, T-3, T-4, Bass Drum, two cymbals, and a couple of others. There was a channel each for Bass, Dougie, Ritchie, and Candy (that's what it said on the tape on the board). Ritchie's channel was in the very center of the board and separated from the other band members' channels by two open ports (to make absolutely sure that was not one to fuck with, I guess).

They finished the final soundcheck by around 10:20, and then waited. And waited. And waited. By a quarter to 11, the crowd was getting annoyed, as was the soundman. As each song on the house tape came to a close, he was clearly looking for the signal to queue the house lights and start the Toto Tape. As each song ended and the next song started, he began throwing up his hands, as if to say, "Where the fuck is Ritchie?!" So was the crowd. By 10:50, they were booing loudly. I confess that I joined them. I didn't fly down to San Francisco to stand around for three hours listening to a "best of 1980's metal" tape (I have a far better collection of 1980's metal at home, thank you very much). Also, many of us have lives outside of being Blackmore fans that involve day jobs. That's how we're able to afford Rainbow CD's and Rainbow concert tickets and Rainbow T-shirts. Please take note of that next tour, Ritchie. If your Moodiness doesn't want to play until 11, then have the decency and honesty to officially start the concert at 9:30 or 10:00, so that folks can plan in advance for a late night.

When the lights finally went out a little after 11, and Ritchie launched straight into Over The Rainbow, the soundman was just as surprised as everyone else. He threw up his hands again, as if to say "Do you want the Toto Tape or not?" When the answer was obviously "Not," he began frantically trying to set final levels. Watching him, I realized that the use of the Toto Tape/Over The Rainbow intro is not just to pump the crowd up, but to give the soundperson a final chance to set all the live levels against each other. By bypassing the usual procedure, Ritchie screwed up his soundman, which resulted in the sound levels being what they were for the show.

In summary, as others have stated, the versions of Mistreated and Temple of the King were worth the trip. However, the full hour delay between the opening act and Ritchie's final decision to grace us with his august presence was completely unwarranted. I consider myself merely an amateur Blackmore fan (I only spent around $3,000 last year on Rainbow bootlegs), but that hour really tested my patience. I had been on my feet all day, and by the end of the show my feet had serious objections to my lifestyle choice. As one of my friends who had to leave by midnight said (at 10:50, when there was still no sign of TMIB), "It's not like he's all THAT popular." My response was merely to nod my head and say, "This is really lame." Sorry Ritchie. You are my favorite guitarist, you have recorded much music that has carried me through many a dark time, but if you are going to announce a concert at a certain time, please show up within a standard deviation of that time. I lost a lot of respect for you on the night of 3/19/97, even if you did place prodigious bootmarks in my gluteous maximus when you finally appeared and started playing. I was on vacation, but the friends I was with weren't, and I suspect much of the crowd wasn't (many people headed for the door before the encore, not because they weren't enjoying the show, but because they had to get SOME sleep before work the next day). And that's the way it was, 3/19/97, Palo Alto, California. Until the bootleg box set comes out, anyway. :-)

P.S. While I'm lecturing to Ritchie, I feel the need to get this one out of the way: What is the big deal about Candice dancing with Dougie? You actually stopped playing to break them up and send Candice backstage (VERY unprofessional, sir). I can understand you considering Dougie to be an all-around bounder, cad, and layabout. I CANNOT understand you having such little faith in Candice that you assume she would leave you for anyone who had fun with her. That is what you're afraid of, isn't it? Otherwise, why would you interrupt a concert to stop them dancing (when they weren't even touching each other)? Get a clue, Ritchie. She likes you. Accept it. Deal with whatever bizarre self-doubts you have on your own time, not ours.

Douglas Brown






The Edge, Palo Alto, CA 19 March 1997


In few words it was a so-so show. I expected it, not because of the band, they were just incredible, but the for place and the sound crew. "The Edge" is a difficult place to set up and the sound engineer didn't do their job. As a result Dougie had a very hard time tryin' to be heard and to hear himself. At the end he was so pissed that he took two monitors, flipped them on the short side and turned to the crowd. The general sound was too loud and the keyboards were just a noise in the background.

Ritchie was just incredible, I mean, he played so well and effortlessly that it was a great experience just see him play. What strikes me is that, from yesterday's show, Ritchie appears to be a really nice guy. He smiled all the time, he applauded the other members of the band, all this while directing the band in his famous way. High point of the show: Mistreated, Temple of the king (absolutely fabulous), Maybe next time, Burn. Perfect Strangers was mediocre, Ritchie didn't seem to be much involved. A humoristic note: toward the end of PS Dougie danced with Candice for quite a bit until Ritchie "separated" them. He stayed cool but Candice was sent to backstage ;-)

The band was really good exception made for the keyboard player. Interestingly enough Ritchie applauded him and didn't seem to be upset. At some point Ritchie reached the crowd to shook hands and while doing it he asked us about the sound. Ritchie speaks! I heard the voice of TMIB live! Seriously, Dougie has a very good stage presence, a good voice and a lot of patience. The bass player was one the best seen in Rainbow and the drummer just blew us away. I hope they record more disc with this lineup.

I hope to see them again, maybe next year, in a better place. For the record I saw Steve Morse in the same place and his sound was absolutely perfect. This is not a critique to Ritchie, in fact he demonstrated to be concerned about it, but I hope he changes crew, those guys don't have a clue.

Paolo Ciccone






The Edge, Palo Alto, CA 19 March 1997


I was there, too. I paid all my attention to Ritchie, so I didn't see the things that you saw. I agree with you about the keyboardist. He's not good at all. I also didn't like the singer. He was OK, when he sang IG's songs, but he was terrible with Ronnie's and surprisingly, his own songs. Maybe, he couldn't hear his voice. Anyway, I don't like him on the album, either.

To me, the most impressive songs were Mistreated and Temple of the King. I had never heard Temple of the King live version. This was awesome. The drummer was pretty good. Ritchie should keep him. The bassist was one of the best in the Rainbow history, and he reminded me Glenn Hughes in the 70s.

Masashi