Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Genting arena, Birmingham – 28th June 2017

Last year Ritchie Blackmore returned to playing rock music playing just three dates with Rainbow including one in the UK.  Now he’s back doing a UK tour including tonight’s show at the Genting arena.
While he’s touring under the Rainbow name, the shows last year included a lot of Deep Purple songs so I was curious to see how the set list had changed as well as looking forward to seeing Blackmore and his band perform again.

In the 70s Blackmore wasn’t a great fan of the press and media, and one cameraman famously incurred his wrath for getting between him and the crowd and getting too close to him once too often and that resulted in Blackmore smashing his guitar over the TV camera breaking both.  These days he seems to have mellowed as the first thing he did after walking on stage was to come to the front of the stage and shake hands with one of the photographers before taking his place and starting the show.

What to play or not play is a tough choice and one that will never please everyone – while some fans wanted more Rainbow, others love hearing the Deep Purple stuff too.  Overall the setlist is largely the same as for last year’s show, but two notable additions were “I surrender” and “All night long”, both hits for Rainbow (although “I surrender” is actually a Russ Ballard song).

“Difficult to cure” is Rainbow’s version of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony, and it’s such a great version, but tonight it’s extended significantly and includes a bass solo and a very long keyboard solo.

A Deep Purple song – Lazy, is another welcome addition to the set, with a nice bluesy intro to it.  After that it was time to “Catch the rainbow” before “Black night”.  Part way through, the song progressed into a drum solo and the rest of the band left the stage, return after the drum solo was over.  With no stop between the main part of the set and the “encore”, this gave them all a break apart from the poor drummer.

While tonight was supposed to be all about Rainbow and Deep Purple, for me the highlight of the night was an instrumental from the last Blackmore’s Night album.  Entitled “Carry on Jon”, it’s an absolutely beautiful tribute to Jon Lord.  I wasn’t expecting it to be played, but when the first photo of Jon Lord appeared on the screen and the opening notes of the song started as the crowds cheers died down, I was over the moon.  I love the song on the album, but with the photos of Jon Lord on the screen as the music played, this live experience was simply incredible.

After that beautiful piece of music, it was time to ramp up the volume and bring the show to a close – especially as the 11pm curfew had already come and gone, so “Burn” and “Smoke on the water” brought the show to an end.

Nearly two and a half hours of fantastic music made this a night to remember.  Ritchie Blackmore is still a superb guitarist, ok there were one or two moments where things weren’t perfect, but that didn’t come close to spoiling things.  His band are all very talented musicians and singer Ronnie Romero does a fantastic job of performing songs written for Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillan and several other singers, all with their own distinctive voices.  He’s also developing into a great frontman too, seeming far more confident than last year


Intro (Land of hope and glory)
Spotlight kid
I surrender
Since you been gone
Man on the silver mountain (including Woman from Tokyo)
Soldier of fortune
Perfect strangers
Difficult to cure
All night long
Child in time
Long live Rock and roll
Catch the Rainbow
Black night
Carry on Jon
Smoke on the water

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.