Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

O2 Arena - Prague, Czech Republic   April 20, 2018

Long live rock'n'roll!

Ritchie Blackmore came to Prague and brought the restarted Rainbow with him. The attraction of a single concert in Central Europe proved to fill the Prague O2 arena well, Polish and Hungarian sounded. Blackmore did not limit himself to his own project, he also often went to his Deep Purple songs too.

As for the The Lords, which is a West German band that has been on the stage for five decades, maybe it would not matter if you replaced them - certainly cheaper - with a DJ. Overall, the average rock'n'roll demo tape would probably sound better as a recorded backdrop. Basically, it worked, but it is a waste of the whole evening. Fortunately, the The Lords were immediately forgotten with Blackmore and co.

This year's tour is decorated with the Memories in Rock subtitle. That's why he did not surprise with a setlist that was evenly leaning on both the Rainbow and the Deep Purple. Contrary to previous stops, the program was somewhat more balanced and somewhat better dramaturgy. Quite surprisingly, as the third track appeared, the "Temple of the King", the essential composition of Blackmore's project, but also the most famous "Stargazer" or "Man on the Silver Mountain", was widely used for the later albums of "Down to Earth" and "Difficult To Cure". The stage often sang in dark purple: "Child in Time", "Mistreated", "Burn" or insidious, without the opening riff "Smoke on the Water". Surprisingly, however, the recently introduced single "Waiting For The Sign" did not got played.

While there is sometimes controversial use of the band's name by a grouping that left only one original member, Ritchie Blackmore seems to have the right to do so. That's what he defended in Prague. He was inaccessible, but virtually invisible. He was modest, unobtrusive, did not communicate with the audience, focused only on the songs. The weight of the show was on the shoulders of singer Ronnie Romero. A difficult task, to master the repertoire singled out by Ian Gillan and the other Ronnie (James Dio). But Romero did it with bravery. The color of the voice is somewhere between the two legends, the height is decent (even though Gillan's "Child in Time" does not dare to replace it with a bit of roughness) and he also brings on the stage the desired movement and show. Blackmore did not come close to the other band mates.

The solidly-filled O2 arena witnessed a very nostalgic evening. Those in the stones of pampered memories were really serious in the air. Yes, in a way, Blackmore brought a cover band to Prague, even armed with the repertoire. It really does not matter at all, because such fairly played, classically cut rock is not heard so often. Let him live and thrive!

© Jirí V. Matýsek - Musicserver CZ / Photos: Tomáš Rozkovec

Rainbow played mainly Deep Purple

The sound was terrible and the show was zero

As a founding member of Deep Purple and a respected hard rock guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore is a legend. He has his place in the history of music with his band Rainbow. On Friday, he brought to Prague its bloody incarnation, but that could be good. Unfortunately, somewhat cool musicians' access, and the gruesome sound of the concert knocked his legs.

Blackmore's Rainbow had perhaps more assemblies than studio boards. So he would not even think that in the present time they are not star friends like singer Ronnie James Dio, bass guitarist Roger Glover or keyboardist Don Airey. However, it is a great matter if the art of the new bandmates can not be appreciated because the sound has been set from the beginning in an unreadable bounced sphere.

Singer Ronnie Romero could try his best, his voice seemingly strong, but when you barely understands it, it's all a little useless.

But what in a concert in the Prague O2 Arena was really missing, it was at least a hint of any show. It's absolutely okay that some and mostly elderly bands do not jump on the current trend when the audience is ready to go death. But frankly, such a rigid concert would not have happened in the 1970s when the Rainbow was at the top of the glory.

There were also missing screens that would bring the events on stage to the back positions in the hall. And Blackmore is one of those that the viewer would like to look under his fingers.

"Do you want rock'n'roll? Are you ready for rock and roll?" Romero screamed after several songs in the hope that the concert would finally start. But then the ballad The Temple of the King. Subsequently, in the evening, Since You Been Gone and Man on the Silver Mountain, that got ended with Purple's Woman from Tokyo.

There was a lot of covers at all. The Deep Purple songs were almost half the setlist, and Blackmore may not be angry about it. In addition to being a grateful fan for fans (and those with Purple t-shirts too), they will not enjoy similar bits with their next Blackmore's Night project. So there were still songs like Child in Time, Smoke on the Water or Burn as an addition.

Unfortunately, all the effort was taking away long and quiet pauses between songs, rather played than real singer's efforts to shake the audience and zero show.

According to the organizers, nine thousand fans arrived in the hall, not really. And many have obviously enjoyed that evening, so you can expect them to be more likely to be used by the reviewer. Let everyone who goes happy be wished. But hand to heart, a good concert looks and sounds really different.

© Václav Hnátek - iDNES CZ / Photos: František Vlcek

Blackmore's Rainbow is just a shadow of glory

A little boy was looking forward to being a little kid: Ritchie Blackmore, hardrock icon for a quarter century will see a normal bigboat play again. Some of the fans apparently put on their pink glasses, some of them remained cool and some of Rainbow's Friday concert was even prematurely gone.

Ritchie Blackmore is one of the most respected hard rock guitarists, absolutely stylish-making personality, and despite all that you will hear next, he will stay. When he was in Deep Purple, the band reached its highest peaks. And the original Rainbow, which he started after Deep Purple for the first time, had a high level.

Then he returned to "Purple" for almost ten years in the 1980s (he played in Czechoslovakia in 1991 and 1993) and after apparently leaving, he basically turned away from rock music. Because the Blackmore's Night project, in which she is dressed as a Renaissance troubadour and plays the second violin for his wife, Candice Night, can be described differently, but it is definitely not a rock band.

That's why classic hardcore fans were excited when the Rainbow rejuvenation announced their return to the scene in 2015. That was so great that the organizers of the Prague concert were not afraid to put on the O2 Arena - and it was at least for two-thirds really filled.

Both the pros and cons of the concert were his program. On the one hand, Blackmore has the majority of listeners still connected with Deep Purple, and so were their hits that he clearly rewrites songs from to the old Rainbow repertoire (including Black Night, Child In Time, Mistreated, of course Smoke On the Water). Because they are just great songs.

On the other hand, it was inadvertently because Rainbow was always a band with a distinct character (which should not be said to be better or worse than Deep Purple) and that was lost in such an odd mix. It is a flip-off remark that it was better, but objectively reminded that visitors bought Rainbow tickets, not revival Deep Purple (no matter that nobody doubts Blackmore can play their songs with the devil).

Another major problem of the concert, however, was surprisingly the interpretation itself. The explosive and yet sophisticated Ritchie Blackmore style seemed to have come to the end, his solo was mostly boring, just out of a duty. And the energy, the band's interplay and its coherence, does not go beyond what Blackmore's veteran Deep Purple bandmembers do these days (as we have seen in this same place last year).

And that's true for singer Ronnie Romero, who is pretty decent in middle positions, but is lacking in his personality and in extreme heights, such as Purple's Child In Time, and good tuning. His predecessors in the band, especially Ronnie James Dio, can not even be equal. It must be acknowledged that in some songs, such as I Surrender, he tried to find his way. However, unfortunate moments were unfortunate.

© Ondrej Bezr - Lidovky CZ

Blackmore and Rainbow starred primarily in Deep Purple hits

Legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore performed today with his rock band Rainbow at the O2 arena in Prague. However, most of the program was devoted to songs from his period of existence in the famous Deep Purple. Hits like Black Night, Burn, Child in Time, Smoke on the Water or Perfect Strangers applauded about 9,000 fans according to the organizers.

Blackmore, who has appeared in the Czech Republic in recent years with his Blackmore's Night project, returned to rock music with new musicians following a long break in 2015, following the link of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. The members of the current set are alongside Blackmore keyboardist Jens Johansson, drummer David Keith, bass guitarist Bob Nouveau and vocalist Ronnie Romero. There are two background vocalists at the concerts.

Singer Romero has been trying to break off an audience composed of mainly middle-aged rock fans from the beginning of today's performance. It was only after a few minutes with a famous song from the repertoire of Rainbow, Since You Been Gone, but the audience finally took the most of Deep Purple songs. "I'm happy because such Mistreated or Child in Time at the Purple concerts can not be heard," one of the fans said.

With spectacular projection on a large screen behind the back and support of dozens of reflectors, Rainbow members, headed by Blackmore, offered solo performances, and in songs like Long Live Rock 'n' Roll they also gave the vocal cords of the listeners present.

Rainbow, the band founded by Blackmore in 1975 after he left Deep Purple because of the controversy over the music. The renowned guitarist has enriched the musical form of his new formation and, using the vocal of vocal singer Ronnie James Dio, has created rock songs with distinct references to Renaissance and Baroque music. The very first album called Rainbow was successful in 1975, especially thanks to the song Man on the Silver Mountain.

During the band's many personal changes, singers Graham Bonnet, who sang songs such as All Night Long and Since You Been Gone, and Joe Lynn Turner, released the album Difficult to Cure. The recording of Stranger in Us All in 1995 with Rainbow was made with Doogie White.

© CTK - Ceské Noviny / Archive Photo: CTK/Doležal Michal

Live Report : Rainbow – O2 Arena, Prague, CZ

Rock music has long been a showcase for talented, pioneering, controversial, provocative and memorable personalities for their creativity, egos, behavior, passions and mistakes. Some of them have left us with time on the zenith of their careers due to substances, illnesses or other causes, and others still concern us even if they are at an advanced age.

Among these many distinguished personalities, Ritchie Blackmore, the man behind Deep Purple and Rainbow, this gifted guitarist who, with his play and compositions, "put" almost 50 years ago a huge "stumbling block" in the "metal", decided this year to add some more concerts to the endeavor of the past few years with his second and very special child, Rainbow, a child who had been "put on ice" for nearly 20 years. A touring opportunity as well as a lifetime experience for rock lovers and not just music, to see on stage one of the last great guitar players to play songs that influenced later musical trends as well as generations. The formation of the group, which is definitely more tied than in previous years, gave us a great show in the capital of the Czech Republic, being the last of the small European tour, since the 73 year old Englishman no longer wants to do big tours.

The arrival and intense early presence of the world of various ages in the concert area confirmed even the most skeptical rock musician for all of this as well as the expectation of several years to see Rainbow alive. In a fairly organized venue with exonerating control and triple ticket check our presence on the right of the scene took place. Shortly before 8pm and while the world was slowly starting to fill the arena as well as the stadiums at an imposing stage, the support band got a place on the stage. The 60's German rockers The Lords took action by raising the joy and intensity of the audience before The Man and his company would appear on stage. With good tune in between, sound and mood managed to leave a sweet taste, making us think of listening to one of our next musical quests before they left.

With the lights lowered and the intro introduction of "Over The Rainbow" to prepare the audience the great moment for everyone had arrived. With a clear start and a smile on stage, Rainbow undertook to travel back to time through songs of their rich discography, which we loved and grew up with. Songs that established them in the consciousness of several as well as synthetic epics from the time Ritchie Blackmore led Deep Purple in remarkable success, making them special for the good among all the bands of their time through an album like "In Rock" and "Machine Head". With professionalism and consistency among them and with a charismatic, both performance and communication, performer such as Ronnie Romero managed to perform ideally a setlist with demanding and non-hits. The audience's participation during the 90-minute concert show was very satisfying, with enough presence in the world for those that had traveled from several countries, singing a lot of the songs that were heard creating a very beautiful atmosphere. As for the moments that adorned the adrenaline, I would definitely say that it was the sound of 'Black Night', 'Mistreated', 'Child In Time' and 'Stargazer' a frame that scattered emotion and nostalgia to many who lived the golden age of the two bands Ritchie Blackmore was leading to the rock music pantheon.

To sum up, I would say with awe and emotion that there are no words to describe the feelings I felt. The Rainbow is definitely not one of those who we were hoping for this evening, but those who surround this rock legend have been able to emotionally shake us through the dedication they have shown on the songs. Ritchie may have grown up, but he's standing on stage and maybe he's been surprised in the future 24 years before he left the world of music for good, after this concert re-activation of Rainbow, until then... The Battle Rages On!

© Evangelos Charis - Metal Invader Greece