The Graham Bonnet Band – The Limelight 2, Belfast – 19-11-2016

Chrome Molly “Since you’ve been gone, since you’ve been gone; I’m outta my head…” Who? What? Where? Sorry! Got a little distracted there for a minute. What can I say? When you’ve grown up listening to the iconic British rock band Rainbow then you were probably excited when the news of the band’s former lead singer Graham Bonnet and his band were going on a U.K. and Ireland tour.

What was a three band bill was then cut down to a two band bill as V0id, who had been playing with Graham throughout the tour were unable to perform the Irish leg of the tour. However, the other half of the tour’s support bill Chrome Molly didn’t turn down the opportunity to make their big return to Belfast. Personally, it would have been better off if they hadn’t performed at all; while there was plenty of banter between the band and the (lack of) audience in the Limelight 2. The band’s all round general performance however was, how do I put this? “Cringey?” Yeah, that’s the word I was looking! This was all down to a mixture of a horrible sound mix, frequent out of time drums from drummer Greg Ellis and a woeful vocal performance from Steve Hawkins. Best not giving up your day job guys.

Setlist – Pillars Of Creation / Shooting Me Down / Some Kind Of Hoodoo Voodoo / Short Sharp Shock / Now That Those Days Have Gone / Supercharged / Save Me / Thanks For The Angst / Corporation Fear

As the venue begun to cram with a sea of Rainbow, The Michael Schenker Group and Alcatrazz fans it was time for the man of the hour to hit the stage; Mr. Graham Bonnet and his band. I have to say, for a man in his late 60s, the iconic singer hadn’t lost any of his charm or his powerful vocal abilities. When it came to the set list Graham and his team didn’t beat around the bush on it’s construction, even though Graham had just released his first album 16 years it wasn’t forced down the audience’s throats simply because everyone was there to hear the tracks of old; including tracks like “All Night Long” and “God Blessed Video.”

GrahamBonnetWhile the focus was on Mr. Bonnet, lead guitarist Conrado Pesinato had the job of being Richie Blackmore, Michael Schenker and Yngwie J. Malmsteen in one performance, a job which he did it with such ease; pity I can’t play like that. Stand in drummer Marcelo Moreira was even given the upmost respect from the Northern Irish crowd as Graham made them aware that Marcelo was filling in for Mark Zonder, the band’s full time drummer, who had undergone shoulder surgery a couple of weeks before hand. Going back to the set, while it was great hearing other classics such as “Jet To Jet” and “Since You’ve Been Gone” there was two things that made the overall performance disappointing; one was the flat sound mix and the other was the boring “light show.”

Going back to what I said at the start of this review about watching someone you grew up with, while things like sound and lights let this show down it was sensational to finally get to hear the songs this reviewer grew up with performed live by a singer who still had what it takes to be considered one of the greatest rock singers of all time.

Set List – Eyes Of The World / All Night Long / S.O.S. / God Blessed Video / Will You Be Home Tonight / Night Games / Loves No Friend / Into The Night / Dancer / Jet To Jet / Desert Song / Rider / Since You’ve Been Gone / Encore – Assault Attack / Lost In Hollywood.

About Marc Leach

I am a Northern Irish freelance photography who specialises in music, promotional and event photography.