By Christopher Scapelliti
Ritchie Blackmore and his newly assembled version of Rainbow performed at Monsters of Rock in Loreley, Germany, this past Friday and Saturday, marking the pioneering heavy metal guitarist’s first rock shows in nearly 20 years.
The group’s 13-song set was divided between classic cuts by Deep Purple, including “Highway Star” and “Smoke on the Water,” and Rainbow, such as “Stargazer,” “Man on the Silver Mountain” and “Since You Been Gone.”
Blackmore’s new Rainbow lineup features keyboardist Jens Johansson, singer Ronnie Romero and drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau, both of whom perform in Blackmore’s Night, the guitarist’s Renaissance folk outfit.
Blackmore quit performing rock shows in 1997 when he launched his Renaissance folk outfit, Blackmore’s Night. He announced last September that he wanted to make a brief return to performing rock, a decision spurred on by his own health and by the deaths of former Rainbow bandmate Ronnie James Dio, who died in 2010, and Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord, who passed away in 2012.
Rainbow will perform again on June 25 at Genting Arena in Birmingham, England. Blackmore previously said he has not ruled out scheduling more Rainbow appearances if the audiences are receptive.
“If we enjoy ourselves and the audience gives us a positive vibe back, then I won’t rule out the possibility of continuing,” Blackmore said. “However, the second round of dates will probably take place in 2017. But the crucial factor will be the chemistry between the musicians and the audience reaction.”
Here are fan clips from the Monsters of Rock shows.
"Sixteenth Century Greensleeves"
"Smoke on the Water"
"Since You Been Gone"/"Man on the Silver Mountain"
"Long Live Rock and Roll"