Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow at Genting Arena Birmingham 25/6/16
Well well well, twenty or so years since Ritchie Blackmore played an indoors rock gig, he's in the somehow vast but at the same time, small Genting Arena at Birmingham (A curtained off NEC to you and me).
When this gig was announced my mates and I had a discussion about it, and we decided it was either going to be amazing or a complete car crash of a gig. Why call yourself Rainbow and play Deep Purple songs? Where's the original vocalists - at least as guests? Well as you may have guessed from the fact I'm reviewing the gig - I was firmly in the 'Amazing' corner. Probably. Hopefully. Our Ritchie is a bit of an enigma to say the least - who knew what it was going to be like.
First off just a few words about Mostly Autumn, the support act. They knew the crowd was there to see one guy but they played a good set, that the crowd appreciated more and more as they progressed, ending with a standing ovation. I went through a phase of buying each new Mostly Autumn album when it came out but, for whatever reason I lost interest - I think I'll have to go back to the CD stash and at least play Evergreen again - an awesome track.
So.. onto the main event. First off let's mention the crowd. there were plenty of gentlemen 'of a certain age' who had dusted down their rock patch festooned denim jackets, mixing with bearded hipsters, women in leather mini skirts, big hair, short hair, no hair, Brummies, Geordies, southerners, Germans, Belgians, Greeks, Italians.. no sign of a Brexit here.
Now I did take some photo's because as we were once told "you gotta have photo's in a review son' but I was singing along so much that frankly they look like a 2 year old took them with a lego camera whilst riding a bucking bronco. In the rain. Which is why you have you tube links down there. Just for the record, they're not mine - I found them.
Was The Man In Black any good? Damn right he was.. I have waited almost 30 years to see Ritchie Blackmore perform again and he didn't let me down. No there wasn't any posing or throwing the guitar around as he is 71 now for Christ's sake! It was just composed, effortless guitar playing. When he came on stage the crowd just went completely insane! Everyone ... EVERYONE.. stood up from second we heard Over The Rainbow to the final notes of THAT song ringing in our ears.
On stage was keyboardist Jens Johansson, drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau, all of whom were perfectly accomplished musicians (although the guy next to me in the loo afterwards claimed that half of Keith's drumkit must have been impounded by customs or he was playing a kids one as a joke).. but Chilean vocalist Ronnie Romero was a revelation! Note perfect and superb All Night Long (no pun intended) whether he was singing songs originally sung by Gillan, Coverdale, Turner, Bonnet or especially Dio he nailed it, time after time. A true star in the making.
What did they play ? well courtesy of Youtube you can see for yourself....
Land of Hope and Glory
Over the Rainbow
Since You Been Gone
Man on the Silver Mountain
Soldier of Fortune
Difficult to Cure
Catch the Rainbow
Long Live Rock n Roll
Child In Time
Smoke On The Water
Long Live Rock n Roll indeed .. never any doubt.