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Rainbow review and interview in Burrn! magazine

Rainbow Live Review, O2 Arena, London, 6/17/2017 (Summary)

Did Ritchie Blackmore really enjoy his return to the world of rock in 2016?
The answer must be yes as he is actually seen to be smiling in the DVD from the shows. Most of Ritchie’s fans gave accolades to the 2016 lineup, so it was no surprise when the 2017 shows were announced with the same members.

In the O2 Arena show in London, the focus was on Rainbow tunes rather than Deep Purple. The opening was Spotlight Kid, vs. Highway Star from last year.

Ritchie was the obvious star of the show, but Ronnie Romero was not so far behind. Of course his vocals do not reach the level of Joe Lynn Turner in “I Surrender” or David Coverdale in “Mistreated”. However, it is worthy of praise that Ronnie reached the high notes of all the tunes, including “Child in Time”.

All of Ronnie James Dio songs were great. It is obvious that Ronnie Romero seriously studied Rainbow’s “On Stage”. The special effect of showing RJD’s image on the screen also worked quite well.

Ronnie did some comical things on stage, such as taking a guitar pick from the previous band, and throwing it to the audience, saying “I always wanted to do this.” I am not sure whether Ritchie enjoys this kind of humor, but the audience certainly did.

Last year’s Rainbow lacked rehearsing, but this year it was different, and they were much tighter. There may be room for them to become “heavier”, but they certainly are not “Blackmore’s Night playing Rainbow” as some people say. They are much heavier.

Ritchie is not a complacent guitarist. He is always looking for ways to change tunes that he has played hundreds of times. For example, “Long Live Rock’n Roll” was lighter and a bit jazzier. For “Smoke on the Water”, the arrangement was new as well.

Ritchie may no longer be able to play the best hard rock riffs, but his play is more soulful than before. The acoustic guitar in “Soldier of Fortune”
was indeed deeply touching.

The setlist itself was not dramatically different from 2016. I am sure there were many other Rainbow or Deep Purple songs that fans wanted to hear.
But in the case of Ritchie, we just need to be content that he has decided to do this. No one tells Ritchie what to do.

So what next? He is unpredictable, and people do not know whether he has the biggest ego on earth or no ego at all. Only time will tell whether he will seek a heavier sound with the new Rainbow or will stop here.

Interview with Ritchie and Candice (excerpts):

On “To the Moon and Back”:
Candice: We started on this, I think the middle of last year. We had input from our fans using SNS. We have some re-makes and some new songs.
Ritchie: Yes, we have “Ghost of John”. This is not about Jon Lord. It’s an old English folksong. Our daughter Autumn brought it home from school. We decided to include it in the album since it was wonderful. Autumn is singing at the end of the song. She is 7 years old, but she has a nice voice. The original song was written 300 years ago.
C: The first verse is the original. Ritchie said we should add verses,
so I wrote the other verses and made it into a ghost kind of story.
R: Ian Andersen played the flute in “Play Minstrel Play”.
C: The fans requested “Shadow of the Moon” the most. Other favorites
were “Under a Violet Moon”, “Fires at Midnight”, “Ghost of a Rose”, “Village Lanterne”. Ritchie’s favorite has always been “Renaissance Faire”.
R: Yes. Also, “Ghost of a Moon”, “Fires at Moonlight”, “Under a Violet
Moon”, “Renaissance Moon”, “Shadow of the Moon”, “Spirit of the Moon”, “I Surrender to the Moon”. (Note: all made up by Ritchie except for “Under a Violet Moon” and “Shadow of the Moon”.)

On Eddie Jobson:
R: Eddie almost joined Rainbow. We auditioned him in LA. I think it
didn’t work out because we wanted a keyboard player but he wanted to play the violin.

On “I Surrender”:
R: Candice sang the track I sent to Ronnie for his recording. But
Candice’s vocals were really good, so we decided to include in our album and release Ronnie’s separately. You will note that the backing track is the same.

On “The Land of Hope and Glory”:
R: I have always loved that tune. I decided to record it when Candice
was away for a few days. I told the producer we could use the tune using electric guitar for Rainbow’s opening tune. It turned out well so we decided to include in the album.
C: It was important to release it at this timing, considering what
happened at the Manchester Arena where Rainbow was scheduled to play.

On Rainbow’s Shows:
R: I do it every year, but it still makes me feel nervous. We usually
rehearse for a week. We played in London, Scotland and Birmingham.
Manchester was canceled. In Birmingham I think I finally felt comfortable.
In the other shows I was praying it will go well. It takes time to get used to each other, relax and feel the music. It takes time to get to a point that I could express myself well in the tunes. I was very scared the first day. I was not sure what I was playing. But it went well. Everyone did a great job.
Those shows are exactly the opposite of Blackmore’s Night shows.
With Blackmore’s Night, I sit on a stool, talk to the audience, and play for
4 hours. I am relaxed throughout. With Rainbow, I am more tense. I love to play the Stratocaster and plug in. My technique is using the pick with my thumb and index finger. With Blackmore’s Night, I use the acoustic guitar. To use the pick, I need to clip my nails. For acoustic guitar, I need to grow my nails. So after Rainbow’s last show, I took one month off to grow my nails. It is actually quite challenging to play the guitar in different styles.
Regarding the setlist, I took Candice’s advice. There were comments on the internet that people wanted to hear more Rainbow songs. So I dropped “Highway Star” and added a few Rainbow tunes.

What next:
R: We will probably do some shows in the US. I worked too hard in the Deep Purple days, so it’s important for me to take time off. I don’t want to work like that again. We manage our own schedule.
I think there will be more Rainbow shows with Ronnie Romero. We can play music that everyone enjoys. It went well last year, it went well this year. Of course will do it again.
We would like to go to Japan, but traveling is a challenge these days.
C: I would like to go during cherry blossom season. Then I could write
a cherry blossom song.
Burrn: That would be late March to early April.
R: Then we will go around that time.

many thanks to Akemi Ono for the news and translation

5 Comments to “Rainbow review and interview in Burrn! magazine”:

  1. 1
    Blackwood Richmore says:


  2. 2
    Jeff says:

    I’m certain it is expensive but please consider another live DVD in the future. The crew that did the last one did an outstanding job and the quality of the bluray was fantastic. The only regret was that the material was under-rehearsed.

  3. 3
    Bob Worm says:

    Japan here I come 🙂

  4. 4
    Matt Love says:

    The o2 was such a disappointment for me personally, but I hope others enjoyed it.

  5. 5
    DeeperPurps says:

    The concert review of the O2 show in Classic Rock magazine was a total hatchet job. The writer obviously had a nasty axe to grind against Blackmore. No objectivity at all – it clearly was written with a negative agenda behind it. Sad for what was once a relatively balanced magazine, albeit generally too little good Purple / Rainbow coverage.

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