RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW - Memories In Rock: Live In Germany

November 22, 2016, a year ago

(Eagle Rock)

Mark Gromen

Rating: 8.0

review hard rock rainbow

RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW - Memories In Rock: Live In Germany

Two CD compilation (and accompanying DVD) from last summer's pair of German dates, where The Man In Black debuted a new line-up and ran through a career retrospective, not just Rainbow material. Sort of strange to hear new twists on some songs you've been listening to for a lifetime. Seriously, the original Rainbow album was released 42 years ago and the sampling of Deep Purple (“Highway Star”, “Black Night”, “Smoke On The Water”, “Child In Time”, “Woman From Tokyo”) is older than that, although “Perfect Strangers”, from the '84 reunion, would be the “newest.” With an odd keyboard flourish, “Spotlight Kid”, off Difficult To Cure, Joe Lynn Turner's debut with the band, is as far back in the Rainbow lineage as it goes, thankfully no Americanized hits, like “Stone Cold” nor “Street Of Dreams”. 

Sort of amazing that nearly half of the initial live Rainbow testimonial, 1977's On Stage, are still in the set! Ronnie Romero has a thankless (and some would say “no win”) situation, “replacing” some of the most iconic singers in hard rock/metal history: Gillan, Dio, Coverdale, Bonnet. At times he attempts to recreate the original sound, others he attempts to make his own. Truth be told, it's easier to digest these renditions of Turner/Bonnet classics than the Dio era material. Nice shout out (to wild fan reaction) for Ronnie James Dio during “Man On The Silver Mountain”, one of the late singer's signature tune. Romero lets the crowd (audibly) sing along to slower portions of the set (“Catch The Rainbow”, “Child In Time”, “Black Night” & “Long Live Rock N Roll”). The audience actually sings the chord progressions that begin “Black Night”, Blackmore toying with them. A medley affords drummer, bassist and keyboard player solo spots, in a classical context. Closer to its original incarnation, a deliberate “Catch The Rainbow” is delivered slower than typical of most ‘70s live recordings. Overall, the guitar is (believe it or not) understated, frequently supplanted by an overactive (too loud in the mix) keyboard, although “16th Century Greensleeves” and “Stargazer” truly afford Blackmore his time in the limelight.

While there are 18 songs offered, that includes four repeated tracks, which conclude the second disc: “Spotlight Kid”, “Man On The Silver Mountain” and “Stargazer”). He procrastinated long enough that Dio can no longer be involved, but even with Blackmore's reputation as temperamental and difficult to work with, perhaps one day he'll see the light and fans will get something akin to what Michael Schenker has recently undertaken, touring with all the vocalists who made him great (Barden, Bonnet, McAuley). One can dream.

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