Monsters Of Rock: Live At Donington 1980 By Rainbow

September 19, 2016

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Ritchie Blackmore has had three distinct periods to his career. First he was the lead guitarist for Deep Purple, which made him a member of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Since 1997, he has found peace and happiness as part of the renaissance rock outfit Blackmore’s Night with partner Candace Night. In between he was the lead guitarist extraordinaire and front man for his own band Rainbow, with one pit stop when he reunited with Deep Purple for a short time.

During its existence Rainbow went through a number of personnel changes. When they performed at Donington, August 16, 1980, Blackmore was joined by vocalist Graham Bonnet, keyboardist Don Airey, bassist Roger Glover, and drummer Cozy Powell.

Vocalist Bonnet was only with the band for a short time and was in the unenviable position of replacing Ronnie James Dio. The rest of the band, in retrospect, is more like a hard rock all-star band.

The music from their Donington performance has been around in bits and pieces for a number of years. Now all the available music and footage from the concert has been issued as a CD + DVD set under the title Monsters Of Rock: Live At Donington 1980. This is the first time the concert has been released as a full length CD. The DVD is shorter, which probably means there is video footage that is lost.

Blackmore steals the show as he has rarely played better, which is quite a statement. The solos contained in “Catch The Rainbow” and “Stargazer” are rediscovered classics.

The concert is a combination of the band’s songs of the day, two covers including their hit “Since You Been Gone” and a surprisingly creative “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” plus a couple of Rainbow staples, including a crunching “Ling Live Rock ‘N’ Roll.”

Live At Donington: 1980 fills a hole in the Rainbow legacy with a document of a short-lived line-up. A nice addition for fans of the band, Blackmore, and Deep Purple.

 


Dancer And The Moon by Blackmore’s Night

August 28, 2013

Who knew that when Ritchie Blackmore was the lead guitarist for hard rock bands Deep Purple and Rainbow, someday he would find contentment and love as a part of the rock/renaissance band Blackmore’s Night? But here he is 16 years and a dozen or so albums down the road.

The band’s albums tend to have a flow to them. They have fused a modern rock sound with elements of renaissance music into a unique and many times brilliant mix. The band has not veered from that approach, so If you like one album; you will probably like them all. Their latest release, Dancer and the Moon,is except for two tracks mostly more of the same, which should please their ever-growing fan base.

Blackmore’s Night has covered a number of songs by outside writers with varying results. Songs such as “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (Elvis), “First of May” (Bee Gees), “Diamonds and Rust” (Joan Baez), “The Times They Are A-Changin’” (Bob Dylan), and “Celluloid Heroes” (Kinks) have, for better or worse, graced their albums. This time they have recorded the best cover song of their career, Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today.” It is the album’s first track and one where the band veers from their usual approach. It is more of a pop song, since the group changes the song’s tempo, plus Candice Night’s vocals bring a polish to the track. Blackmore’s guitar play is sedated, which provides a subtle foundation for the performance.

The second track, “Troika,” finds the band back in familiar territory. It is English renaissance music meeting the sounds of the Russian Volga boat men. The music then settles in to their well-known groove. It is not their most energetic release, but after several listens the music sneaks up on you to create a pleasant flow. “The Last Leaf,” “Dancer and the Moon,” “The Spinner’s Tale,” and “The Moon Is Shining (Somewhere Over the Sea)” all fit in with their previous work. There is also a beautiful take on the traditional Welsh folk tune, “The Ash Grove.”

The second song that is outside the norm is the album’s last track, “Carry On…Jon.” It is one of the more poignant ones of Blackmore’s career, as it is an instrumental tribute to his old Deep Purple bandmate Jon Lord, who passed away last year. It is an extended guitar solo with a melancholy feel that is a fitting farewell to a person with whom he spent a lot of years.

I tend to like Blackmore’s Night’s music and Dancer and the Moon is a satisfying release. They may or may not have some creative twists and turns in their future but for now, this album will do just fine.$(KGrHqF,!hcE+5h1rW+1BQPZJ4zzog~~60_1