RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW
Originally filmed and recorded in 1995 for a German TV series called 'Rockpalast', according to press blurb, this Rainbow concert, 'Black Masquerade', has been previously unavailable and is being released for the first time now. I can only speculate why this might be although, simultaneously, hazard a fairly good guess for the reason. This is, by no means, the classic era of Rainbow. The name Rainbow is, has been, and will remain, for many, synonymous with the late, great Ronnie James Dio (and associated personnel from his time in the band). This concert is from an incarnation of the band under the moniker 'Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow' following the legendary guitarist's exit, once again, from Deep Purple in 1993. The show itself was filmed in 1995 during a lengthy tour in support of the new studio album they'd recorded, 'Stranger In Us All'. And I understand that said album, and Rainbow's new lineup during this reformation, have been overlooked in the annals of rock history at the expense of the aforementioned golden era with Dio. Well, now, fans old and new have a fresh opportunity to re/evaluate this lot's worth.
In short, this is by no means classic Rainbow, or has the feeling of such. But, what it does offer is a visual/audio document of a talented bunch of folk performing their arses off in a musically flawless, albeit somewhat subdued, manner. Joining Blackmore in this mid-90s venture were some mightily fine musicians - vocalist Doogie White, Greg Smith on bass, drummer Chuck Burgi, one-time Doro collaborator Paul Morris on keys (who demonstrates some virtuoso flourishes throughout the show; this guy's good), and vocalist Candice Night on select tracks. With a wide array of early Deep Purple and Rainbow classics aired during the set, White's work was most definitely cut out in having to vocalise tunes characterised by such strong and distinct frontmen as Dio, Gillan, Bonnet et al, but the Scotsman rose to the challenge, and here's the evidence immortalised on film. Possessing a voice full of autonomous spirit and character in its own right, the man breathes new life into the tracks, stamping them with his own authoritative vocal presence. And, likewise, the ensemble of musical talent garnered by Blackmore perform and interpret the seminal songs with a discernible zest and passion. Blackmore, himself, is in particularly devastating fretboard form, and this serves as a reminder as to just why he's been, and remains, such an influential player within the rock/metal fraternity.
In terms of visual and sound quality, it's not too bad but not great. Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Surround Sound are the audios available and while each option offers up a slightly different mix, the overall sound is certainly not mindblowing in any small way. The picture quality is more than acceptable when considered within context - that is, it's as good as one would expect, if not a tad better, from what was effectively a show filmed for a TV show nearly two decades ago. What is a shame, though, and what might ultimately deter some people from parting with their cash for this DVD is the complete lack of special features. It's basically the show slapped on a disc with some pretty basic menus and that's it. It's a DVD that's crying out for a little extra love and care in gathering at least a few contemporary interviews or features to fully contextualise this oft-overlooked era of the band but, as such, the concert is all there is. As it is, though, this show acts as a fitting epitaph to the legend that was, and will live on in people's hearts, as Rainbow.
Review by Mark Holmes
26th August 2013
1) Introduction; 2) Spotlight Kid; 3) Too Late for Tears; 4) Long Live Rock 'n' Roll/Black Night; 5) Hunting Humans; 6) Wolf to the Moon/Difficult to Cure; 7) Keyboard Solo; 8) Still I'm Sad; 9) Man on the Silver Mountain; 10) Temple of the King; 11) Black Masquerade; 12) Ariel; 13) Since You've Been Gone; 14) Perfect Strangers; 15) Greensleeves; 16) Hall of the Mountain King; 17) Burn; 18) Smoke on the Water
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...a fitting epitaph to the legend that was...Rainbow."