Sportspalace, Minsk, Belarus. February 14th 2009
What would you expect from the show which appeared to be very much like a travelling jukebox?
We were all a bit afraid of what would happen. What will they play, how will they handle it? And not only J.R. Blackmore, but ALL of them.
The set list proved to be a Rainbow fan's dream. No one has had the luxury of hearing such a strong set before, not even in the 1990s. From the Ronnie James Dio era we got 'Tarot Woman' (set opener), 'Kill The King' (!), 'Long Live Rock'n'Roll', 'Man On The Silver Mountain', 'Stargazer' (oh my God!), from Graham Bonnet's only album with Rainbow we had 'Eyes Of The World', 'Since You Been Gone' and 'All Night Long' , from the Dougie White years a medley of 'Ariel' and 'Wolf To The Moon', and yes, Joe Lynn Turner's own 'Street Of Dreams', 'I Surrender' (one of the encores), 'Jealous Lover'(did they ever pay it live in the 80s? don't think so…), 'Power', 'Death Alley Driver' and 'Can't Happen Here'.
Although some songs were evidently a bit unrehearsed (the first show, remember?), and except for a terrible glitch in Tony Carey's 'Stargazer' solo, the band played OK. Joe Lynn Turner, although often treated the least diverse singer Rainbow ever had, went through the whole set with a 'take no prisoners' approach, failing only occasionally (just leave 'Stargazer' to Dio, man), while Greg Smith contributed fine backing vocals.
Oh yes, Blackmore-the-junior! Looking (and dressed!) very much like his father and also moving across the stage very much like Ritchie used to do, he created a déjà-vu appearance. But wait a minute! We must have respect for anybody facing the unfair task of filling THE ultimate guitar legend's shoes, even his father's. Okay, Tommy Bolin and Steve Morse did it before, but both with a price of changing bands' faces, while J.R. had to follow the original lick by lick. Did the band trust in him? I don't know. There were too much keyboards, and Tony was stealing the show from J.R. every time he could, sometimes soloing for guitar. Did J.R. make it? I would dare to say he did, even if with slightly simplified copies of the original riffs. However, Blackmore-senior himself seldom tried really hard on stage with the original Rainbow, soloing mostly with a slider than with his fingers. Should one complain after that?
All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable show. If you didn't mind 25$ t-shirts, or course. A travelling jukebox? We definitely got more.
P.S.: my personal thanks for Tony Carey and Bobby Rodinelli for welcoming us and being so fiendly at the hotel.
review and photos: Dmitri Shulga
The full set list: Tarot Woman /
Kill the King /
Man on the Silver Mountain /
Death Alley Driver /
Eyes of the World /
Can't Happen Here /
Jealous Lover /
Long Live Rock 'n' Roll. Encores: Since You Been Gone /
I Surrender /
All Night Long.