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ConcertsRitchie Blackmore's Rainbow @ Genting Arena, Birmingham 06/25/2016

Posted on Wednesday, June 29 2016 @ 04:29:52 CDT by Dean Pedley
Heavy Metal With just three shows to mark his return to Rock after an absence of some two decades, the legendary Ritchie Blackmore was always going to be leaving his audience wanting more. Fans travelled from across Europe and beyond for the sole arena show in Birmingham to witness Blackmore and his new band serve up a real treat with a near two hour set that encompassed the very best of his Deep Purple and Rainbow songbook. Sea of Tranquility's Dean Pedley was on hand at the Genting Arena to see a show many thought would never happen.

Some may have expected the band leader to look backwards when putting together this twenty first century version of Rainbow but that was not the case with the introduction of four new faces. Descriptions of Ronnie Romero as a cross between "Freddie Mercury and Ronnie James Dio" proved to be spot on as the powerhouse vocalist stamped his authority from the off with a playful sing-a-long intro to 'Highway Star'. The first five songs saw Romero tackle Gillan, Turner, Coverdale, Bonnet and Dio and he totally nailed every one. Had Blackmore chosen to have gone with Bonnet or Turner then it is inconceivable they could have sung 'Mistreated' with anywhere near the same passion or conviction as Romero evidenced. So far, so good and elsewhere on stage Jens Johansson sparkled on the keyboards (especially on 'Perfect Strangers') and the rhythm section of Bob Nouveau and David Keith did all that was required of them even if Keith's kit was visually lacking that gargantuan hard rock set-up we might have expected.

Of course most eyes (and ears) were fixed on Blackmore and he was superb throughout, offering up a masterclass for any aspiring guitarist. Genuinely appearing to be enjoying himself he fell to his knees and interacted with the front few rows several times and offered numerous nods of appreciation in the direction of the incredible Romero. The whole show was one continuous high but 'Child in Time' and 'Stargazer' were stand out moments that really took the performance to another level. With a set list skewed in favour of Purple there was no time for the much missed 'Kill the King' or 'Eyes of the World' but this was always about Blackmore revisiting his classic rock heritage as opposed to relaunching Rainbow. At the age of 71 the show was never likely to extend past a couple of hours even if the crowd would have loved the band to have played on but inevitably it all came to a celebratory conclusion with (what else?) 'Smoke on the Water'.

And what of the future? A live DVD release seems inevitable and rumours are already spreading about more shows in 2017 and beyond. But whatever does transpire this was a magical night that will be remembered for years to come and further cemented the reputation of the one and only Mr. Ritchie Blackmore.

Over the Rainbow
Highway Star
Spotlight Kid
Mistreated
Since You Been Gone
Man on the Silver Mountain
Soldier of Fortune
Difficult to Cure
Catch the Rainbow
Perfect Strangers
Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
Child in Time
Stargazer
Black Night
Encore:
Burn
Smoke on the Water


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