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Richie At His Best
on 1 September 2013
Amongst die hard Rainbow fans there can be a little prejudice against the last line up. Most see the first manifestations with Dio as the pinnacle and give grudging acknowledgement to the Bonnet and Turner years, but Doogie White?
I myself did not even bother to buy the `Stranger in us All' CD, having read a few negative reviews. But when, a few years ago, I came across a clip of the song `Black Masquerade' live at Rockplast on YouTube I realised what I had missed. Since then I have been waiting for a DVD of the full concert to be released.
Let me first say that this is not the best sound or visual recording, but once you get past the opening song (where the keyboard sound is not clear) this ceases to be an issue as you get into the concert. Richie, who at the time of this concert must have been aged around 50, has given up his stage antics (all that overblown posing, whilst doing nothing musical on his guitar, that could at times be annoying). This is replaced by good solid and inventive playing which he maintains song after song. His melodies and runs twist and turn according to the moods of the songs and you are left wondering what he will do next. Blackmore always keeps everything fresh and interesting.
As for the rest of the band, they too are solid. Particular mention must be made of Paul Morris on Keyboards whose solo spot is a joy to listen to.
But what of Doogie White? As most of the songs in the concert are from earlier manifestations of Rainbow and Deep Purple he will inevitably get compared with those who originally sung them. As those original singers are Gillan, Coverdale, Bonnet, Dio and Turner, there are a lot of comparisons to make. This sets Doogie at a disadvantage but he copes remarkably well. Where he comes into his own of course is on the songs from the `Strangers in Us All' album which he no doubt helped to write and stamped his own personality on from the start.
There is no song in this concert of the epic proportions of `Catch the Rainbow' (which was the highlight for me from the early years), but there are no bad ones either. Early Blackmore could be a bit patchy in his live playing and he used to naff around a lot but in this concert he displays his brilliance from start to finish. I wished I had been to see this line-up live but this DVD is a good second best and has the advantage of being able to play time and time again to pick up nuances missed the first time. Truly Blackmore at his best.