Rainbow - 'Black Masquerade'

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Rainbow - 'Black Masquerade'

A great testament to a very underrated era of a legendary band.

When people talk about Rainbow, the name Dio always crops up. Often Graham Bonnet's name crops up. Joe Lynn Turner's name crops up. Yet, after leaving Deep Purple after 'The Battle Rages On', Ritchie Blackmore chose to put together a brand new line up of Rainbow and picked the little known vocalist Doogie White to be Rainbow's fourth singer.

I loved the album 'Stranger In Us All', a record that, as things stand, was Rainbow's last before Ritchie decided to embark on his journey with Blackmore's Night. A strong album was followed by a strong tour, where Doogie had the unenviable task of singing not only his era's material, but songs from each of his three predecessor's time in the band, plus some Deep Purple classics for good measure. As evidenced here, he did a terrific job.

The line up of Rainbow playing here at Rockpalast is almost completely revamped. Other than the ubiquitous Mr Blackmore, only drummer Chuck Burgi can be found in a previous version of the group, with keyboards handled by Paul Morris and singing bass player Greg Smith adding an extra vocal dimension to the quintet. Despite the lack of 'big names' in the band, they are very tight and Blackmore himself is on blistering form. 'Spotlight Kid' is good despite a few technical issues, which see Morris' keyboards almost inaudible and the intro tape still playing (most noticeable just after the guitar solo). Unperturbed, new material like 'Too Late For Tears', 'Hunting Humans', 'Wolf To The Moon' and 'Black Masquerade' sit nicely next to 'Long Live Rock And Roll', 'Man On The Silver Mountain' and a breakneck version of 'Since You've Been Gone'.

Deep Purple are represented by 'Perfect Strangers', 'Burn' and 'Smoke On The Water' and there's still time for 'Difficult To Cure' and a rather unnecessary keyboard solo. Candice Night gives a glimpse of things to come by appearing on backing vocals for 'Ariel' which is for me the show's highlight – Doogie does an astonishing job vocally and proves that every Rainbow singer has a song which is theirs and theirs alone.

Apart from a couple of mis-steps (White fluffs his lines in 'Still I'm Sad' and his singalong attempt with the German audience in 'Greensleeves' falls embarrassingly flat) Doogie proves he was an inspired choice for the band. He may not have the presence of Dio, the power of Bonnet or the polish of Turner, but Doogie was a great frontman for Rainbow, looked the part and delivered vocally. Despite no bonus content, this DVD is a great testament to a very underrated era of a legendary band.

Hugely enjoyable!

James Gaden

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