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Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in Glasgow 2017

This past Sunday evening June 25th I had the good fortune to see Ritchie and his band perform at the Hydro SSE Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.

I estimated the crowd size to be about 6000 to 7000 or so. When the lights went down we could hear the first strains of Land of Hope and Glory through the cheers. However when a flying Union Jack appeared on the stage’s video screen, the local crowd seemed to become a bit more subdued, and even a few boos could be heard.
After Somewhere Over the Rainbow, all seemed forgiven once the band jumped into Spotlight Kid.

The band then settled into I Surrender with a quite nice solo by Ritchie.
Next up was Mistreated, with strong vocals by Ronnie Romero and a gorgeous bluesy solo by Ritchie with some renaissance / medieval flourishes (I noticed lots of Blackmore’s Night style trilling and arpeggios in Ritchie’s playing throughout the evening). On Since You’ve Been Gone the crowd was really into it, singing right along with Ronnie R. That song then blended seamlessly into Man on the Silver Mountain. From my vantage point I could see Ritchie smiling a lot – he seemed very happy all evening.
Ritchie played a very nice extended solo on Sixteenth Century Greensleeves, very melodic. Ritchie may not be the “speed demon” he once was, but he put every note exactly in its right place, no noodling, just tasty, classy improvisation to enhance each song. And the band seemed quite tight on this evening, more so that I can recall from the Memories of Rock CDs of the Germany 2016 performances.

On with the show; Ritchie brought out an acoustic guitar and sat down to play a beautiful version of Soldier of Fortune. Then came Perfect Strangers which was nicely done, but I felt it sounded as if it was missing something…perhaps I am more accustomed to hearing the fuller-sounding version played by the Morse-led Purps. Difficult to Cure demonstrated that Ritchie can still play with considerable speed. What kind of slowed down the momentum of the concert was a quite long and somewhat plodding keyboard solo by Jens Johansson. It was well played with great skill but it was very down-tempo and lengthy to the point that some in the audience started to get restless. Ritchie came back in to save the song and then jumped into All Night Long which brought the crowd back onside.
The two big highlights of the evening were Child in Time and Stargazer. On the former, Ritchie showed how nimble he can still be on the fretboard. On the latter he produced a very nice, hypnotic middle-eastern-tinged solo. Nice work on the vocals by Ronnie too. Both songs got huge appreciative responses from the audience. Afterwards it was Long Live Rock and Roll, Burn, and the closer – Black Night complete with a drum solo. After very brief interlude came the encore songs: Temple of the King, and finally, Smoke on the Water. At the end lots of smiles and waves from Ritchie. Candice came out too to take a bow along with the band.

Rainbow’s concert run time was about 2 hours. A total of 17 songs in all, 10 Rainbow and 7 Deep Purple ones. The sound was very good and as such I am hopeful that a CD of the show might be released in future.
Gary Halverson

14 Comments to “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in Glasgow 2017”:

  1. 1
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    Viva LA Rainbow Moon!…. Now, if they could only learn to play ‘La Bamba’….. Smiles to ya!.

  2. 2
    Johnny Main says:

    (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow/Mostly Autumn, The SSE Hydro, Glasgow – Sunday 25th June 2017)


  3. 3
    UWE HORNUNG says:

    I was at the Glasgow gig as well and agree with what Gary writes, I had posted my impressions already a while ago in the “Manchester Cancelled” thread (for lack of a better place!), I’ll repeat them here for convenience.

    Executive summary: I’ve been to better Rainbow and Deep Purple gigs, but I’m not sure that I have been to many gigs where Ritchie himself soloed better.

    I was highly critical of last years Loreley and Bietigheim-Bissingen (and justly so!), but Ritchie and the band have done their homework, in 2017 the band is way tighter. Ronnie doesn’t oversing as much (and his English has become a lot less cringeworthy), Bob has changed his sound (different bass too) and plays a lot less (sometimes too little in fact), the punky little drummer can now – for those of you who care about such things – do the drum intro to Stargazer (with the band then promptly not commencing to play … obviously the false start is an inside practical joke of the band).

    And then there is Jens Johannson, sigh! Still the weakest link in the package and the weakest keyboarder Blackmore has ever played with; the nadir was when people started booing and whistling during his shambles of an incohesive keyboard solo during Difficult to Cure. The poor guy is unable to play an entertaining keyboard solo that holds the listeners’ attention. No Jon Lord, no Don Airey, no Tony Carey or Colin Towns (whose solos were always great in their nerdishness), compared to him even David Stone and David Rosenthal were charismatic, attention-grabbing players. Even his solo during Burn was hushed and subdued, what’s wrong with him, is he not enjoying himself (he did smile to Bob once)? If the keyboarder abbasolutely has to be Swedish, why not get Benny Andersson instead? He at least knows how to entertain, write a tune or two, also has a double consonant in his name and – last I heard – Ritchie appreciates the band he used to play with?! ; – )

    Yes, Ritchie, I wanted to write about him too … He was quietly gifted in the Hydro, more of his idiosyncratic slide playing than I have ever heard before (nearly every song) – the arthritis in his fingers might make him lean more towards slide playing these days – and I love just that because his slide style is as original and unmistakeable as, say, George Harrison’s – worlds apart from what traditional blues players do in their classic open tuning. I infinitely prefer those majestic slide melodies to his shredding attacks in the late 80ies.

    He had difficulties on some faster runs, his picking hand isn’t as precise and strong as it used to be, but he makes up for it by choice of notes and feel. He took me on a journey with his solos more than once and that is what a good Blackmore gig should do. That said, he doesn’t have the nimble and sneaky elegance of, say, California Jam anymore, that gorgeous Burn riff doens’t run smoothly in his hands anymore.

    What else is there to say? Very good sound at the Hydro, Blackmore much more to the forefront (without drowning anybody out) and prominent than at the 2016 German gigs I saw. Set list lazy (not the song!): If you were waiting for Gates of Babylon or Tarot Woman, you were disappointed, it followed almost exactly last year’s gigs. Highway Star dropped from the set (thankfully so, all the versions I heard last year were severely botched), no screens which at a hall the size of the Hydro is hardly state of the art, especially given how many people came to watch Blackers play up close. While the band was much tighter than last year, they are still not really heavy, not compared to Rainbow of yore and not compared to current DP, what you get today is a sort of Dire Straits version of Rainbow.

    The highlight of the gig was telling though: It was Blackmore’s acoustic solo during Soldier of Fortune (which was nothing like the original studio version we all know and love). That was so beautifully nuanced and controlled, yet apparently off the cuff, you couldn’t help thinking that by now he just feels more at home expressing himself on an acoustic instrument than wielding a Strat.


  4. 4
    UWE HORNUNG says:

    Two additions:

    – I’d say the Hydro was a good 3/4 full at least, so I’d estimate the audience more at 10.000 or more.

    – Why Mostly Autumn couldn’t (or weren’t allowed to) play with their full line-up escapes me. Too little room on stage? Anyway, the smaller line-up provided for a less cinemascopic sound, the songs came across stripped bare, not a good thing with them. And their set was way too short – a scarce 30 minutes, when MA’s music needs a little more time to develop (I have all their albums and expected great things from them as an opener, but was underwhelmed). They had only really just loosened up with their last song when they already had to leave stage. Audience reaction was lukewarm, but then that is nothing new, even in their heyday Rainbow never had an audience that was gracious to openers, whether it was AC/DC (’76 German Tour), Grateful Dead spin-off Kingfish (’77 German Tour, I saw the bass player hit in the face by a beer can thrown from the audience – those were then still allowed -, he didn’t miss a beat!) or a fledling Def Leppard (for the JOLT line-up, early 80ies). People always wanted their Ritchie and nothing else.

  5. 5
    Moreblack says:

    It was a great show judging by the films people had posted and as always the crowd had yelded Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie Ritchie…

  6. 6
    George G Martin says:

    Were any of these shows recorded for a future release?

  7. 7
    UWE HORNUNG says:

    I’m sure there will be at least a soundboard quality release – especially given the improvement over last year’s gigs where even Birmingham (the best of the 2016 batch) was shaky in comparison to what I heard at Glasgow.

  8. 8
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @6 George G Martin, they’ve learned from last year’s little experiment… you’ll see….

  9. 9
    Rossco says:

    @4 In comparison to the Maiden show at the Hydro in May, which was packed to the rafters, I’d say the venue was about two-thirds full for Rainbow. Hence the curtained off blocks of seating and discounted tickets on itison, etc. Still, it was a substantial audience.

    Re. Mostly Autumn, as I noted in another thread, I’d never heard of them. Ditto, I suspect, for most of the people sitting around me, but by the end of the short set the applause had grown from polite to enthusiastic, and there were plenty of positive murmurings.

    Finally, here’s another review, from The Scotsman:


    Apologies if it’s been posted already.



  10. 10
    Sal says:

    I’d love to see Ritchie bring Rainbow 2017 to the Beacon Theatre or Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

  11. 11
    RB says:

    With regards to not being sold-out: I imagine that last year’s poor performances from Ritchie damaged the ticket sales. If he’d come out all guns blazing then in 2016 then I would expect all the venues would be sold-out. Perhaps, if he decides to come back again, more will attend.

  12. 12
    byron says:

    Some improvement yes,but this backing band really sucks -except Romero who’s really really good.Ritchie was rather good on acoustic guitar but sounds terrible on Burn,MAOTSM ,Child in time etc…Very thin tone-and he still plays just like he does with BN.
    The best part was the song for Jon Lord,rather moving.It’s a pity he didn’t play it at Jon’s tribute evening in London

  13. 13
    Rene says:

    I think that a lot of people did not go because of what happened at Manchester. Last year i was a the Lorely and i must say that what i Saw these year on the YouTube sounds beter. Buy Ritchie is Ritchie. He plays the songs on his one way every time different. 2 August i will see him again. The first time without BN

  14. 14
    UWE HORNUNG says:

    That backing band is not really heavy rock-reared and -trained. And while heavy rock and metal are often belittled as music not requiring substantial skills, it’s not that easy to supply that controlled energy for 90 minutes or more if you are not used to it. The Powell/Bain and Powell/Daisley rhythm sections were barbarians at the gate, Carey was a cocky gung-ho keyboarder (and even David Stone wanted to be heard and seen as a virtuoso). There is none of that in the current line up.

    Just imagine how a new Rainbow would sound if it had Ian Hill/Scott Travis as a rhythm section and, say, Phil Lanzon of Uriah Heep as the keyboardsmith? They’d probably overpower Ritchie these days.

    I remember Whitesnake when Neil Murray left and Colin ‘Bomber’ Hodkinson joined (with zilch heavy rock experience). Now Colin is a lovely man and an intricate player with an idiosyncratic style, but he was utterly unable to provide for Powell what Powell needed. With him, Whitesnake ran on three cylinders rather than four – even though they had Cozy Powell replacing Ian Paice.

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