Ritchie Blackmore has announced he will perform four rock shows next June in Europe, ending months of speculation about whether the former Deep Purple/Rainbow guitarist will ever perform again in a rock setting.
“I am doing four dates in June, which will be all rock,” Blackmore says, speaking to Noisey.
“I have the band basically together and it will be [the best of] Rainbow and Deep Purple. It’s just having fun but it’s only four dates in Europe. I don’t want to do anymore because I take what I’m doing now much more seriously.”
Blackmore quit playing rock in the mid Nineties and since 1997 has been working with his wife, Candice Night, in the medieval folk-rock group Blackmore’s Night. Their latest album, All Our Yesterdays, comes out September 18.
He has not said who will perform with him on the June dates. Joe Lynn Turner, who performed with Blackmore in Rainbow and Deep Purple, suggested this past April that he could be involved. Former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale previously approached Blackmore about working together again.
Blackmore says his decision to return to rock, even briefly, was spurred on by his own health and by the deaths of former bandmates. His Rainbow bandmate Ronnie James Dio died in 2010, and Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord passed on in 2012.
“I turned 70 [on April 14],” Blackmore says. “And arthritis is starting to set in. Jon’s not around. So many others aren’t around. You start to see your friends pass and just feel it’s time to play some of the old songs. Nostalgia is a big reason to do it, but not the only reason.”
And with nostalgia in mind, here is Deep Purple performing “Highway Star” in 1972.