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Rise or plummet?

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Classic Rock has an opinion piece by Neil Jeffries titled Will Ritchie’s RAinbow rise… or plummet down to earth?. Which, really, says most of it. He has his doubts, and so does truly yours.

So, almost two decades after giving up rock to play alongside his wife in the semi-acoustic Blackmore’s Night, the Deep Purple and Rainbow guitar god Ritchie Blackmore is back… to plug his Stratocaster into a Marshall stack and crank it to 11 for one last hurrah.

Well, three last hurrahs – two festivals in his beloved Germany and the indoor gig at Birmingham’s Genting Arena. He says he’s “doing it for the fans”. But I’m worried.

I’m worried that next June’s shows could do to the reputation of Ritchie Blackmore what the Come Taste The Band tour did to the standing of the 1970’s version of Deep Purple. The situations are different, but the outcome could be the same. In 1976 Purple were debuting an unfamiliar line-up and all eyes were on the guitarist: Tommy Bolin, the new guy. Come next June another unfamiliar line-up will debut, and all eyes will once again be on the guitarist: Ritchie, the old guy. To be blunt…

Blackmore will be a 71-year-old man fronting a recently formed covers band.

Continue reading in Classic Rock.

Thanks to Danny N for the heads up.

44 Comments to “Rise or plummet?”:

  1. 1
    Jim Collins says:

    I don’t understand the uproar over all this. RB decides to put a short term band together to play three electric shows. There’s been no talk of an album, long term plans, additional touring, nothing. What’s to rise or fall? He’ll go out, do the three rock shows and then return to Blackmore’s Night. There’s nothing to gain or lose in all this. People will either like or not like the performances, the same as any other show. His reputation hardly rests on how these shows go over.

  2. 2
    Alexander Taylor says:

    Indeed. I remember the last tour with doogie white it got sagged in the press but now when you watch it on you tube everyone says how brilliant it was. Ritchie will deliver he always does.

  3. 3
    Wiktor says:

    Well, I for one do not doubt that the man in black will pull it off next june even if he is 71 years old at the time… He´s still the man!!

  4. 4
    Corinne DeLutis says:

    Old? Let’s have a list of “old” guitar players. Its not nice to shit all over what you allegedly love. I will begin…..Robin Trower…. 70….hard core touring musician who still packs the house. :p

  5. 5
    Frederic Werner says:

    Let’s see the bands of all the haters out there who talk trash…..

  6. 6
    Ole Martin Glørstad Meisdal says:

    I`m in! Got my tickets for the German shows. Ready to ROCK !

  7. 7
    Matt Love says:

    Apparently his wife is onboard doing BV duties with another lady… I never liked that in the other “radio friendly” lineup 🙁

  8. 8
    Stephen James Smith says:

    Seems he has a tax bill to pay and is looking for the crock of gold.

  9. 9
    Mark Zimmerman says:

    Grateful to have seen him numerous times with DP and Rainbow, over 3 decades. Then I saw him in Blackmore Night. Time to retire RB

  10. 10
    John says:

    The banjo player took a hike what’s that song I used to like!! He must be hard up for cash. He’s playing small clubs while dp are raking it in. Long live the Morse Era!!!

  11. 11
    Keith Livingstone says:

    Lets wait and see shall we?

  12. 12
    Kevin Nacey says:

    I didnt read the article because of the headline…”it might be bad, but then again it might not be”. No shit Sherlock….

  13. 13
    MacGregor says:

    Read this ‘article’ also a few days ago at ‘classic rock’ & commented as others did! The bullshit about it being a ‘covers’ band really says it all! Blackmore has always had different members in Rainbow & as we know, the first Rainbow was actually a ‘solo’ outing wasn’t it?! Who ever suits at whatever time, is what happens, simple really! It is being marketed as Rainbow, but it is more than likely a ‘solo’ gig, it simply doesn’t matter! The line’ Ritchie has nothing to gain by going toe-to-toe with the current incarnation of Deep Purple, even though he might secretly love to wind up Ian Gillan one more time’. That says it all in regards to this rubbish! The other crap about this wind up is the mentioning of his age?????? What does that have to with it, plenty of other ‘older’ musicians wandering around planet earth doing the same!
    Many successful ‘solo’ musicians change their band members consistently! Do certain ‘fans’ complain about that? Yes most probably, it is rock ‘n roll chaps! Oh & by the way, we don’t seem to see many comments in regards to Jen Johansson the keyboard maestro? I wonder why? Surely he is up to it! Cheers.

  14. 14
    Zlatan Hadzic says:

    Profoundly meaningless article. The things might go bad because blah blah…

  15. 15
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    Oh ye of little faith…..

  16. 16
    Rod Allan Martinko says:

    It’s not like the guy hasn’t played an electric solo over the last 20 years. Don’t know if people out there know but it hasn’t been all lutes and hurdey gurdeys

  17. 17
    Robin L Haddon says:

    The female backing vocals on the 83 tour were perfect

  18. 18
    Robert Daems says:

    Seems to me that someone is already writing away a probable disappointment. Tssss, be open to a nice show for old times sake. I bet that he’ll surprise the world with these three gigs, make the everyone beg for more but return to Blackmores Night again.

  19. 19
    kraatzy says:

    @ first … He do not use Marshall Amps anymore … it will be an ENGL stack !! 🙂

    And for the rest …

    It´s HIS wish to play some hard stuff for us and for himself …
    I don´t think that he has any other ulterior motives …


    I am there @ Loreley …


    LL Ritchie


  20. 20
    KC1961 says:

    I just hope that this “rock” thing really is Ritchie’s idea and therefore his heart is in it.. I can’t help but wonder if it is a Carole Stevens and her golden goose idea.

  21. 21
    George Martin says:

    As far as I’m concerned for me it all comes down to the set list. If the set list is hard and heavy with one great rocker after another the show will kick ass. If he decides to bore everyone with a 20 minute version of Catch the Rainbow and a 15 minute version of Mistreated well then for me it’s a waste of time. I also don’t need to see a 10 minute drum solo and a10 minute keyboard solo. If these are the last rock shows Ritchie ever does I say go out with a bang!

  22. 22
    John M. says:

    Ritchie would not be doing these shows unless he knows he can pull it off musically – he is his own harshest critic. The guy is no one’s fool musically or financially. With regard to the money side, Deep Purple Overseas’ figures took a sharp dip last year – I suspect Ritchie is doing his part to give the back catalogue a boost (and why not?). He also sued for royalty underpayments recently. In terms of further royalties, I’d hazard a guess that he still gets a taste when the current Purple perform songs he had a hand in writing.

  23. 23
    Jeogger Matthews says:

    Don’t waist your precious time Ritchie, come back to Purple.

  24. 24
    Al Greene says:

    Ritchie just can’t win here.
    He’s in it for the money.
    He’s playing with a covers band
    He’s too old etc.
    I think he’s doing it partly for nostalgia and sure he will make money
    But we’re not talking millions of pounds here. I think the new singer
    Will sound great I just wish he’d gone for the best of the best band wise.
    For example, A drummer like Vinnie Colaiuta would have done
    Paicey and Cozy Powell proud.
    As for that rag Classic Rock, they’ll be too busy plastering their pages with
    Jimmy Page (whose 71 will he be too old CR?)and his imaginary tour and album
    to give Ritchie any credit. I wouldn’t wipe my arse with that tabloid rag.
    I think the gigs will be great and I wish him the best.
    By the way I’m a fan of both Ritchie and Steve Morse
    Best of both worlds (:

  25. 25
    Scott W. says:

    @4 I Agree..well said.
    @7 Bet she will. I already posted that I am sure Ritchie will at least have Candy doing BV on ‘Ariel’ as she did on the Doogie fronted tours. She will be on tour to keep an eye on Ritchie I’m sure!
    @16 Yep, some awesome strat solos on YT from current BN shows worth checking out…stunning!
    He is going to show us how it’s done. I am not 100% on the band until I see/hear them, even though I have seen Jen’s with Yngwie back in ’85…but I think they will do just fine. There is bound to be comparisons to past Rainbow members after the gigs of course. “Romero is good but he’s no RJD” etc. Hell, after only 3 shows the band will not have even found any semblace of a groove yet!

  26. 26
    kraatzy says:

    I am astonishing about the early beginning of the rehearals…

    Now we are in Dezember … and the 3 gigs are in June …
    The “old material” is very well known … not only for us … and always for this (not) new musician too …
    But why the hell … so early ?? 😉
    And this… for about 10 or 11 days to rehearsing now … and so early ??

    For me, maybe they come together to rehearse and to develop something new … ??

    For me … as a very long time (over 40 years) Blackmore fan … my hope will never lost … to get some new hot rock stuff … or the old stuff in an other way … Remembering the two different pieces of Still I´m Sad for example …

    So long time ago without Ritchie in Rock …

    I am very very agog to see him @ The Loreley gig …



  27. 27
    Svante Axbacke says:

    I find it very unlikely that the band will rehearse from now until June. Maybe this was a good time to get together, a point in time where everyone had some time off from other projects? Jens is full time with Stratovarius and I am sure that band as well as BN have stuff planned before the Rainbow gigs next summer. Then they will probably meet up again a couple of times before summer. Or not. 🙂 Professional musicians are usually not as fond of banging away in a basement as happy amateurs are. 🙂

  28. 28
    MacGregor says:

    Nice to see so many positive comments here, excepting the few in regards to cash money etc! Is that the best those ‘fans’ can come up with? It is an old, tiresome & clichéd saying indeed!
    Matt @ 7- I hope that isn’t true, but I do fear that also! Hope to see & hear rock music cranked with the 5 band members only!
    A comment over at ‘Classic Rock’ (second comment), stated that this journalist doesn’t have it right in regards to the ‘sitting in the studio’ comment. Apparently SBTE was recorded in Canada, not Copenhagen like the other two JLT Rainbow albums! One would hope that with a hyped up piece of tabloid sensationalism, the journo would remember his whereabouts at a certain moment in time! Yes, we all forget things in life at times, but to print it & not notice it, makes us wonder!
    kraatzy @ 26- yes it would be nice if they stumbled upon some new ideas & it goes further, I cannot see why it couldn’t! I think the early rehearsals are a good thing, get in the spirit of things, check out the vibe etc!

  29. 29
    Innerspace says:

    Whatever next years gigs will be like, it won’t detract from the quality of the mans 70s output. If people want to know what Blackmore/Purple/Rainbow was all about, there are some seminal records they could put on for reference…

    Deep Purple In Rock
    Machine Head
    Made in Japan
    Long Live Rock’n’Roll

    pluss a few more live releases of both bands…

    Ritchie Blackmore is still the best! He was still ripping when Page was plumeting into heroin addiction, wasn’t he… And now Page doesn’t even get out of bed, but Blackmore actually does…

  30. 30
    Troy Wickman says:

    ALL versions of Rainbow and Deep Purple were “cover bands” when they first debuted.

    This situation is no different.

  31. 31
    Sal says:

    I bet that he changes one or more of the band members between now and June.

  32. 32
    scottbuster2000 says:

    Carole Stevens’s golden goose is Blackmore Night. She is not a rock agent. If Blackers decides to do an album and tour after dipping his feet in with these 3 shows then she has to relearn her position as agent cause the Rock world ain’t no ministerial show…ask Sharon Osbourne.

  33. 33
    scottbuster2000 says:

    Blackmore using BN vets David Keith [Drummer] and Bob Nouveau [Bassist] is a no brainer. Anyone whose fiddled about in a band knows that if your rhythm section is good then you are already more than half way there. The situation is not a cover band. Think of when Roger, Graham & Don came on in 1979, Blackers hadn’t played with Rog in 6 years and he never played with the other 2…on top of that he replaced Dio! You think coming out of retirement at a time when he doesn’t get voted into many top 50 Best guitarist list, Deep Purple now the forgotten 3rd of the Godfather Trinity of Hard Rock/Metal, Ritchie feels the pressure? In 79 he was in the top 20 easily and the idea of a Mark II Reunion was top 3 at the time. Remember the 85′ PS Reunion was second to only Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. his absolute commercial peak. The Purple 85′ tour made more money than the Kiss tour where the original lineup returned with make up and all in the late 90’s [That’s Dollar for Dollar no use of inflation to amp DP’s numbers]. If you go year by year from 1970 to 79 and do a top 10 Bands for each year Purple tops at least 1 and are in at least 3 others 77 to 79 as we all know don’t count. No one exults them the way they do their peers especially here in North America. Black Sabbath is below them on the California Jam Bill? What!? ABC tapes only Purple? What!? Purple did this with the new Mark III? What!? Imagine a certain ‘Band’ do that with replacements for Plant and Jonesy…and succeed. That Band would be finished…Not Blackers and Co…Passed with flying colours. Anyways that my friend is pressure, 2016 is a walk in the park.

  34. 34
    Chris Mallinson says:

    I was puzzled by the early start to rehearsals too,perhaps its schudling or perhaps something else is going on.
    On the recently released documentray,when RB is being questioned about Rising,he complains about the lack of bass on Stargazer and he says, and i quote-
    “Im thinking of redoing a lot of tracks,and Rainbow Rising…..Stargazer… will be one of them”

    He could be referring to the up coming gigs,but, the phrasing he is using suggests that he may be re recording them perhaps?

    After all, 2016 is the 40th anniversary of Rising,but then again, we know his sense of humour dont we.

  35. 35
    Scott W. says:

    “If he decides to bore everyone with a 20 minute version of Catch the Rainbow and a 15 minute version of Mistreated well then for me it’s a waste of time”?!
    I hope he bores us all to death as this is why Ritchie has so many fans…his extemporaneous solos and improvisational live playing is the hallmark of his style…the very essence of the man! Get rid of that and we have more of a player in the style of Iommi etc..just great riffs and predictable solos (love Tony by the way, not knocking him). I for one look forward to being bored by the man taking us on a trip like only he can! That said, sure, Kill The King would be a great straight ahead rocker to start with. Agree on at least keeping key and drum solos very short or left out altogether.

  36. 36
    nupsi59 says:

    @21+34 I agree and disagree…

    As a Blackmore fan I have to like these long soloing in particular songs.
    As a fan of good rock music I have no say: NO!

    Watch the DVD from the Rainbow concert in Munich. The concert
    startet late and the opener was “Kill the King” and everything was fine…

    But then the first ‘stopper’: “Mistreated”, one of the finest songs he did,
    but much too long…

    “Catch the Rainbow”: nice intro, great playing, but also too long.

    Remember what Ritchie said in the “making-of Machine Head” DVD:

    “That is, how an album should be made: straight and to the point”

    I hope, he remembers this in his next year’s rock concerts.

    Surprise us and have a nice Day!

  37. 37
    George Martin says:

    If Ritchie was going to tour for a year and play all over the world with his new version of Rainbow then I would have no problem with Catch the Rainbow and Mistreated. But as of right now there are only 3 shows. I want the very best rock to be played. I mean really are you going to put either one of those songs above Stargazer, A Light In the Black, Gates of Babylon, Burn, Highway Star and the list goes on and on. Again it’s my opinion you don’t have to agree with it. Good to see you agree on the drum and keyboard solos though.

  38. 38
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    There is no RISE. There is no PLUMET.

    Ritchie Blackmore is and always will be HIM. This venture isn’t about making or breaking TMIB. It is about solidifying the realm that has been and still is. He is promoting his biographical DVD with some nostalgic music from his well noted past which will result in a live concert DVD from this outing to coincide with it for another fee. Simple as that. That being said…..

    A couple of things that come to mind regarding the “Rainbow” reference and what has been touted. All the past Rainbow line-ups were done so with no regard to past line-ups. Singers especially. When DIO left, the next singer wasn’t a DIO clone. Graham Bonnet was his own style. Sound and visually. Then came JLT. Nothing like DIO or Bonnet. Each line-up had it’s own life and place in time. Then 11 years after the JLT ending came Doogie. Definitely a different cat from the prior 3 singers and the rest of the band also. Though Doogie was the best at pulling off all the versions of Rainbow songs and some Purple, he had his own style and wasn’t sold as a DIO sound-alike which brings us to the NOW version. Ritchie is selling his new singer as a DIO/JLT competent coverer and not bringing us anything NEW. He is just taking some good, competent musicians out on a 3 date Tribute Trip. PERIOD. This is all fine and will be great to see and hear. BUT…. IT AIN’T RAINBOW. A new studio album with new material from this line-up would make it Rainbow. Instead it truly is just “Over The Rainbow” MK2. A Tribute to Rainbow and Purple. Ritchie…. you know this is the case. You have plenty of time before the outing…. Go into the studio with these guys and do a record. You spit out BN albums like a redneck spits his chew. So, how is you don’t have the gumption to make this venture a TRUE Rainbow effort by making it unique in the sense of the accompany of an album of new material, verifying this as a True Rainbow moment. Finish this era with a Bang instead of a Fizzle.


  39. 39
    MacGregor says:

    nupsi59@ 35- Not sure why you are comparing a live Rainbow set list to a studio DP album! With live recordings or concerts i should say, especially from the classic 70’s period, there was always heaps of extended playing, from so many artists. That changed with the MTV era, & sadly will never reappear. Blackmore always jammed out live back then, but I doubt that he would do that these days, well not as ‘extended’ possibly! One of the biggest changes in rock music from the 70’s to the 80’s, was no more progressive extended pieces & longer songs from the masters of that genre!
    Everything ‘straightened’ up in a way & was much more shorter in the songwriting department! Did I mention MTV????
    I agree with Scott@34 though, TMIB was a great improviser indeed & a few little pieces here & there would be great to hear again!
    The Machine Head album is a great one indeed, much too short possibly, but that was in order to fit on vinyl no doubt! Or maybe not, depending on who’s opinion one is listening to. Cheers.

  40. 40
    Anthony says:

    Terrible article and the kind of pessimistic assumptions we don’t need. Get things into perspective…its only 3 gigs..geez you would have thought Ritchie was doing a tour around the universe and tagging U2 along for the ride too! We should all be grateful he is giving us the opportunity to see/listen to him play the songs we all love in a rock context/arena. You can really pick out the down beat confused people in here..you moan when he plays medieval folk music then you moan again when he decides to play a few rock gigs..its your opinions of course. No wonder Ritchie has never been ‘popular’ when there are certain people waiting to knock the guy back down when he decides to do something but Ritchie will always have the last word on you and you just know that..he has nothing to prove anymore…guitar legend cemented and a fabulous legacy. Roll on Loreley next June Yay! Long live rock ‘n’ roll

  41. 41
    Brayden Wrathchild MoreBlacke says:

    Yes I agree, I do miss Ritchie in Rock though. Never got to see him live. That would have been special even a tantrum or two don’t mind at all. All part of the Purple mystique, I just love the wack job stories of Ritchie before Purple, and when Purple just started out. He learned from Jim Sullivan, he was Jimmy Page’s right hand man on the studio. Ritchie knew Jimmy as a teenager, wow awesome two colossus’s of Rock. Legend has it that they played together, on a record would be interesting. Ritchie knew Page to be an ace, even back then all those years ago. But of course Blackmore himself was no slouch, what an interesting road these two have travelled. I love Ritchie’s immature sense of humour too, I have similar tastes and peculiarities. I do a good English accent also. Um Eastender working class…Cockney and Windsor upper class. I am also a perfectionist like him, to the point of obsession. By the way love both Jimmy’s and Blackmore’s music to bits. Wish they would take a photo together, I bet alot of rock royalty will be at the concert next year. By the way I believe Gillan should have behaved in the 80s.

  42. 42
    MacGregor says:

    Anthony@ 39- Excellent comments indeed! Cheers.

  43. 43
    kraatzy says:

    @ 39 and @ 40 …

    Ritchie had just said ..
    If the 3 gigs are working well …
    He will give us (the fans) some more … 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Yeah Rock `n` Roll

    LL R’n’R

    LL Ritchie


  44. 44
    Tibor Kovacs says:

    This is getting a little bit tiresome, who are we to tell Blackmore what he can and can’t do, what he can or can’t play. Seems to me there’s a bit of jealousy coming from certain quarters.

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