DVD Review: Rainbow / Black Masquerade
Reviewed by: Roger Scales
When Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple for what would be the final time in 1993, he decided to resurrect Rainbow for a three year period from 1994-1997. The band recorded one album Stranger In Us All (1995) and toured off and on pretty much right up until 1997 when Blackmore together with his partner Candice Night formed the Renaissance influenced Blackmore’s Night and have had success with that project right up to today.
I think that because this period was so brief most people when they think of Rainbow conjure images of Ronnie James Dio, Cozy Powell, Joe Lynn Turner, Graham Bonnet. But this lineup of Blackmore – singer Doogie White, Candace Night on backing vocals and some lead vocals, Paul Morris on keyboards, Greg Smith on bass and drummer Chuck Burgi – really deserves their rightful place in the lengthy history of great musicians that have made up Rainbow since 1975. It’s by far the least acknowledged of the various configurations of the band but I think this new DVD will give a fresh look at what was and what might have been had Rainbow continued on past that one record.
The show was recorded on October 9, 1995 in Dusseldorf, Germany for the German TV Show Rockpalast to a huge crowd of rock fans who were fortunate enough to see a band firing on all cylinders. You get the signature Judy Garland intro about not being in Kansas anymore and that they are “Somewhere over the Rainbow” which leads nicely into “Spotlight Kid” maybe my favorite Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow song. Of the total 18 songs on this DVD you get songs form the entire Rainbow catalog including “Long Live Rock N Roll”, “Man on the Silver Mountain”, “Since you’ve been Gone” and “Temple of The King”. You even get a few Purple tunes with “Perfect Strangers” and “Burn”. Also songs from their then current album “Stranger In Us All” such as “Too Late for Tears”, “Hunting Humans” and “Black Masquerade”. “Still I’m Sad” is also in the set and is old Yardbirds track that actually was included on the “Stranger in Us All” album with vocals and yet was previously recorded back on the first Rainbow record as an instrumental only. It had been performed live during the Dio era with vocals and Doogie White does a great job here not trying to replicate Ronnie had created but add his own unique tones and delivery to the track making it my favorite in the set.
All in this entire DVD showcases an era in a band’s rich history that for the most part has been ignored up to now. Eagle Rock Entertainment did a great job cleaning up this show to near perfect quality as it has been available within the collector’s community since it first aired on German TV 18 years ago. If you’re a fan of Blackmore’s Night this really was the pilot project sort of speak, as their first record Shadow of the Moon (1997) was already gearing up ready for release. It’s nice to see this lineup get it’s just due. Interestingly for me personally this was the only time I was able to see Rainbow in person live so this tour has very special memories for me. I’m sure I’m not alone as it may have been the end of an era and a band but maybe for some it will always be the start of greatness with Blackmore’s Night and the continuing saga of a musical genius at age 68 still on his quest for musical immortality. Who knows Ritchie you might just make it…