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Rainbow – Memories In Rock

Label: Eagle Vision
Format: DVD/CD
Released: 2016
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8.5/ 10

When guitarist Ritchie Blackmore decided to return to playing hard rock for a few festival appearances, he made it clear this was done out of pure nostalgia for himself and the fans. For this lineup of Rainbow, Ritchie, unfortunately, decided not to include any of the previous (living) singers like Joe Lynn Turner (on three albums 1981-84) or Doogie White (“Stranger in Us All”) for these shows. But, he did give the spotlight to new talent - singer Ronnie Romero (Lords Of Black), Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson, Blackmore's Night drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau. This concert comes from the two German shows, at Loreley and Bietigheim, make up the Memories in Rock set which includes both Rainbow and Deep Purple songs.


Now while it is great to hear Ritchie dusting off these classics, and played to perfection by every member, they are slightly more passive versions than the originals. Blackmore is 71, and the bassist appears older as well. The original records of these Rainbow and Purple classics always had the keyboard and bass up in the mix more thus creating the hard rock sound, with Ritchie’s leads, and the riffs acting as a compliment, sometimes. So a song like ‘Spotlight Kid’ while has a more upbeat tempo, still Ritchie’s guitar doesn’t have much of a hard rock crunch. His leads are what really cut through the mix – see ‘Mistreated’ and ‘Catch The Rainbow’. Where do the riffs sound like riffs? – ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ has a little more edge for the radio hit, a great shout out to Ronnie James Dio precedes ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’, the epic ‘Stargazer’, anthem ‘Long Live Rock n Roll’, and of course ‘Smoke On The Water’ – the song almost everyone who plays guitars learns from how to play a riff. Ritchie’s stage presence is often pretty removed from the band and crowd, in his own world focused on the music. But, at times he does come out from the smoke and shadows to the front of the stage and shows a little showmanship playing to the crowd. What are Ronnie’s interpretation like? – I got no complaints. He is smooth and graceful like Turner and Bonnet, soulful and a screamer (see ‘Child In Time’) like Gillan.

Its unfortunate Blackmore has no more interest in playing and making new hard rock, and would rather compose for his band Blackmore’s Night, but, at least we have this DVD/CD to enjoy some great memories in rock.

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