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Watch Ritchie Blackmore Rock at First Rainbow Gig in 19 Years

Ritchie Blackmore and his newly assembled version of Rainbow performed at Monsters of Rock in Loreley, Germany, this past Friday and Saturday, marking the pioneering heavy metal guitarist’s first rock shows in nearly 20 years.

The group’s 13-song set was divided between classic cuts by Deep Purple, including “Highway Star” and “Smoke on the Water,” and Rainbow, such as “Stargazer,” “Man on the Silver Mountain” and “Since You Been Gone.”

  • Blackmore’s new Rainbow lineup features keyboardist Jens Johansson, singer Ronnie Romero and drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau, both of whom perform in Blackmore’s Night, the guitarist’s Renaissance folk outfit.
  • Blackmore quit performing rock shows in 1997 when he launched his Renaissance folk outfit, Blackmore’s Night. He announced last September that he wanted to make a brief return to performing rock, a decision spurred on by his own health and by the deaths of former Rainbow bandmate Ronnie James Dio, who died in 2010, and Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord, who passed away in 2012.

Rainbow will perform again on June 25 at Genting Arena in Birmingham, England. Blackmore previously said he has not ruled out scheduling more Rainbow appearances if the audiences are receptive.

“If we enjoy ourselves and the audience gives us a positive vibe back, then I won’t rule out the possibility of continuing,” Blackmore said. “However, the second round of dates will probably take place in 2017. But the crucial factor will be the chemistry between the musicians and the audience reaction.”

Here are fan clips from the Monsters of Rock shows.

"Stargazer"

"Mistreated"

"Sixteenth Century Greensleeves"

"Highway Star"

"Smoke on the Water"

"Since You've Been Gone"/"Man on the Silver Mountain"

"Long Live Rock and Roll"

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Christopher Scapelliti
Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.