DVD Review: RAINBOW – Black Masquerade

Eagle Rock Entertainment – Out Now

Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan’s long and well documented feud, the very one that brought Deep Purple to breaking point on numerous occasions throughout their long and illustrious career, came to an end in 1993 when the ‘man in black’ decided to leave the group and revive his commercially successful brainchild Rainbow.

Two years after having put together a brand new line up fronted by Scottish singer Doogie White, Blackmore released his eighth Rainbow studio album, entitled “Stranger In Us All” – an album that was followed by a lengthy world tour.

During a stop off in the German city of Dusseldorf, the band recorded their show for the prestigious Rockpalast TV series and it is this very footage that Eagle Rock has unearthed and is now making available to us in a DVD format with the title “Black Masquerade”.

Prior to his involvement with Rainbow, White’s recording career was quite moderate, so it is surprising to see how at home this high spirited Scot comes across when sharing the stage with the famously temperamental Blackmore.

Following a humorous intro, containing snippets of the award-winning 1939 ballad “Over The Rainbow” (The Wizard Of Oz), the band kicks off with “Spotlight Kid” a song that enables White to employ his wide-range vocal skills quite early on. Though the medley “Long Live Rock’N’Roll/Black Night” is performed admirably, White’s interpretations of Dio-fronted classic, such as “Man On The Silver Mountain” and “Temple Of The King” are, unsurprisingly, below par.

As for Blackmore? He always has a way of making even the most intricate of solos, like the ones performed during “Too Late For Tears” and “Difficult To Cure” look effortless, adding insult to injury by shutting his eyes completely and resting his head on his left shoulder while attacking his Stratocaster with the passion and energy of men half his age.

Both Paul Morris (keys) and Chuck Burgi (drums) justified their selection by indulging in impressive solo performances and the equally skilled bassist Greg Smith goes as far as singing leads in the second verse of the Deep Purple classic “Burn”, much to the enjoyment of the German crowd.

Highlights of the show are the dark-themed “Hunting Humans”, as well as a killer live version of “Ariel”, which finds Candice Night (Blackmore’s Night) taking her place behind the mic for an emotional finale to this electrifying heavy ballad. It is a highly improvised version of “Smoke On The Water” that concludes this show and finds a content Blackmore ceremoniously handing over his plectrum into the hands of a lucky fan, prior to leaving the stage.

Rainbow’s Doogie White front line-up may understandably not be the most celebrated in the band’s career, but what the quality of this professionally filmed live performance clearly suggests is that any serious rock fan who decides to disregard it will regret such a decision.

The decision not to include additional footage and the customary interview, typical for most DVD/Blu-ray releases these days, was hardly what you would describe as a commercially clever move but, then again, I cannot see how this alone would stop Blackmore’s long-standing fans – surely the target audience of this release – from buying this DVD.

John Stefanis

Rating: ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)

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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).

Featured Albums w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 NEWMAN Ignition (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK SWAN Shake The World (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 CORMAC O CAOIMH Swim Crawl Walk Run (indie)

Power Plays w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)

SHAKRA Turn The Light On (AFM Records)
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Transmissions (Nuclear Blast)
RYDERS CREED Lost Soul (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
FRAMING HANLEY Puzzle Pieces (Thermal Entertainment LLC)
ROBERT HART Mysterious (Escape Music)

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