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Posts Tagged ‘Rainbow’


In the mid-90’s I hadn’t discovered the breadth of the internet. I didn’t have cable and was sort of in a bubble. I had purchased The Battle Rages On and enjoyed it tremendously but didn’t know Ritchie would soon leave Deep Purple and come up with another incarnation of Rainbow which would only produce one album. Thankfully, one of the concerts of the tour was recorded by Rockpalast and now has been released.

The album they were supporting, The Stranger in Us All, was a bit of a throwback thematically to the days of Dio. It was considerably darker than the Joe Lynn Turner era. The concert reflects that theme pulling largely from the album, the Dio era and some Deep Purple classics.

The concert opens with Spotlight Kid, a song that is probably about Ian Gillan and an appropriate way to begin since he was the reason Blackmore left Purple one last time. This was the most acrimonious and bridges have not been rebuilt as in the past (they were still on friendly terms in the late 70’s with Blackmore even asking him to front Rainbow after Dio left). This song shows that Blackmore is in top form and Doogie White is more than capable as a singer. The mix is a bit off, and you can not hear the keyboards very well. Of course we are here for Blackmore, not Paul Morris.

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It has been 30 years since Deep Purple reunited. I was a freshman in college and made the trek from Boston to Worcester to see them live. In all those years there have been no official albums from that tour. Now there is. In late 2013 the audio and video of one of their Australian shows was released. They had a stripped down show in terms of effects. The lasers would come later in the tour. Here the focus was on the music. And the music was great.

I bought the “box set” that had the 2 discs of the audio as well as the concert DVD along with a booklet. “Box set” is a bit of an overstatement. It is a normal CD case in which I have a hard time removing the CDs but the DVD seems to slide around a bit too free and easy. I’m hoping it doesn’t end up getting scratched.

While the packaging was disappointing, the concert itself did not disappoint. The mix seemed to favor Blackmore’s guitar and Ian’s singing over the other instruments. Blackmore seemed reinvigorated with the reunion. His sound on this concert is fatter due to the effects than I am used to it being. He was aggressive much of the night. I wouldn’t say these were his best solos, but he’s leaving nothing back. Ian Gillan had an uneven night as his voice seemed to have some rough spots.. This is part of what drove Ritchie crazy, Ian didn’t seem to take care of his money maker. At times he seemed to forget some the lyrics as well. He discovered effects too, and there are songs with lots of echo on his voice.

There are some differences between the 70’s edition of Deep Purple Mach II and this edition in addition to the technology. They seemed to up the tempo on many of the old songs. The solos were not as long either. As a result, they played far more songs than you’d find on any of their concert albums from the 70’s. They had 5 songs from the new album, Perfect Strangers, as well as some old standards taken mostly from In Rock and Machine Head. So there is something for everyone, and no one should be disappointed. This was a great concert.

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We had a really great vacation with family over the holidays. They went up on the 17th and I followed behind on Christmas Day. There was plenty of time with family as 4 of CavWife’s 5 siblings were there for New Year’s and the annual White Elephant Gift exchange which gets more interesting as the kids get older and start participating. For the 2nd year in a row I got the Taylor ham- a NJ breakfast meat that I have grown to love.

One sibling built a pond this summer and this winter it was a skating pond. So our daughters learned how to skate. The boys were not so inclined, though the youngest enjoyed playing on the ice and with a hockey stick by the time we left. There was a guys night out as the 4 of us went out to Bar Vino for a few beers and appetizers. I like for us to get away and talk: sometimes serious and sometimes not.

There were a few snow storms, including Hercules who dumped over a foot of powder on us. As a result there was some sledding. On the downside, I didn’t have a good window of snow-less driving to visit my parents. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease this fall. Since I haven’t driven in snow much in the last 20 years I really didn’t want to get stuck in the mountains of VT in a snow storm. Another factor was the older CavGirl’s birthday and our 12th anniversary. Not really the days I want to be away from family to visit my parents.

Since we had an early flight home, my in-laws used some of their points to get us a hotel room for the night before we left. Sunday night, after one last get together and skate party the snow turned to rain as the temperatures soared. Monday was the great meltdown before the temperatures plummeted as a result of the arctic blast that crippled the country. It was slippery near the house but after we got off the hill the roads were much better. The only problem was our rear tire. While loading the Envoy I realized the tire was nearly flat. Usually my father-in-law is all over these things. This winter I was the one to catch 3 really low tires. The other 2 were on our lunch trip to Glens Falls. Up there in the mountains, there are no gas stations right around the corner. I thought I could get to Warrensburg and inflate the tire. The last 100 yards or so I could hear the thump-thump-thump because it had moved past low to officially flat. I filled it and off we were to meet our in-laws in Albany for dinner and they would drive both vehicles back to their home.

While driving we learned that our friend who was going to pick us up had his own flight home canceled and was re-booked to arrive home Wednesday. He’d be stranded in Dallas. So we left a message with another friend to see if they could pick us up.

I made a big mistake though. There was no sun on the way to Warrensburg so I kept my sun glasses in my briefcase. By the time we got to Glens Falls the sun was relentlessly beating into my right eye as we drove south to Albany. As we drew closer a migraine began to set in. I felt pretty lousy. It was also much colder in Albany as we unloaded the Envoy at the hotel.

We heard from our friend that she was willing to pick us up, but the other friend had gotten a flight from Dallas to Phoenix so he would be home in time to pick us up. He would have to go to the airport anyway since his bags were going to Tucson.

CavWife had inadvertently started the movie for the kids that we rented from iTunes. It was now going to expire the next morning before we got on the flight. So the kids started to watch Despicable Me 2 while I napped. Around 4:30 we left to meet with my in-laws for dinner at Moe’s. We didn’t want to eat too late since we didn’t want the roads to freeze on their way home. We love Moe’s and wish there was one in Tucson. CavWife got her usual John Coctostan, while I got the Home Wrecker which I re-dubbed the Hotel Wrecker. Then it was time for good byes in the cold.

The kids were going to shower before they finished the movie. Still feeling the effects of the migraine, I sat in front of the TV. That was when two things happened.

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Sorry to keep you waiting, but we weren’t done waiting. Both of us were waiting to get married. Future Cavwife had had precisely 2 boyfriends before we met. She was 33 at the time. One of them broke her heart. The other guy was someone I knew from seminary. She realized that he wasn’t a good match for her. She struggled with this hope too. Surrender comes hard. God’s timing can be hard to handle.

 

Before I left NH, I’d had 4 serious relationships. After moving to Florida, I wasn’t in a dating relationship for nearly a decade. I tell Cavwife she was really waiting on me, not just for me. I had issues that God was still sorting out in my life. Marriage to me would have been disastrous. So I waited while God kept knocking off those rough edges. About a year after starting my first pastorate, I had a short-lived relationship.  I was disappointment. But that was okay because she wanted something I was not.

 

I was 35 when I met Cavwife. The young couple that introduced her to my friend from seminary began to attend the church I served. We met in February at a Valentine’s Party and were engaged in July. She still lived in NJ and I was still in FL. We came down for Spring Break. I went up for vacation. She spent the summer in FL while we figured it out. We didn’t want to waste years of our lives on a long distance relationship. Our wait was over.

 

But not waiting. During our engagement we learned she had Graves’ disease. It is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. They tried to manage it with drugs, but it wasn’t cooperating. They decided to burn it out with radioactive iodine. The funny thing about radioactive substances is that they take awhile to leave the body. We would have to wait a year before even trying to get pregnant. But a messed up thyroid makes it difficult to conceive and maintain a pregnancy. The waiting had begun, again. It had not yet dawned on me that God’s people spent most of their lives waiting for God to act (note Genesis 12-50 and the infertility of Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel).

 

Finally, in the Fall of 2002 we could start trying to get pregnant. Each month brought disappointment. After awhile I think I started to take it harder than she did. Sometimes tears would come to my eyes when she told me THAT time of the month had come, again.

 

At times it was humorous (that is how I tend to deal with these things). I would pray while lying next to her as she was in some awkward position to gain every advantage we apparently needed. I would speak to her abdomen, telling those little guys to swim relentlessly until they had reached their intended goal.

 

It is amazing how the time flows by imperceptibly. While there was the monthly disappointment, I didn’t realize how long that went on. And then one day in early 2004 she showed me the stick- we were pregnant!

 

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In the 1980’s I owned a vinyl version of this release, an edited version of this release.  I used to hear Deep Purple’s Made In Japan thundering from my older brother’s room.  I thought nothing of it.  Then came MTV and I saw videos by Blackmore’s band Rainbow.  Soon I was listening to all the Deep Purple I could lay my hands on, especially the Mach II recordings.

This album is two concerts recorded live for the BBC.  The version I have includes the host introducing the band and the songs.  I like hearing some of the banter, though that may change after I listen a few more times.  On the second show there is some nut with a squeaky toy or something that you can hear between songs.  The concerts represent what was best and sometimes worst about early 70’s hard rock.  The music is raw, and the solos are long.  Some might say too long.  We’ll get there later.

The first concert is from about the time of the release of In Rock, the first album with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover.  The band was moving from progressive rock into hard rock.  The musical struggle between Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord had been won by Ritchie.  This concert is the transition period for the band- and it shows.  There are only 4 songs.  Two are from the new album- Speed King and Child in Time.  The other 2 are from their albums with Rod Evans and Nick Simper on vocals and bass- Wring that Neck and Mandrake Root.

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It is all MTV’s fault when you get down to it.

MTV began to air my sophomore year in high school.  Back then it was really about music, not all those pseudo-reality shows.  The local radio stations didn’t play Rainbow very much (Rainbow was more popular in Europe and Japan), so I saw them first there.  It was All Night Long (sadly, I think it was the sleezy girl that kept me watching at first), and Can’t Happen Here.  Soon I had just about everything Ritchie Blackmore played on (including Green Bullfrog with other great guitarists playing blues-rock).  Soon I discovered that my older brother had most of the albums.  No wonder the songs sounded vaguely familiar.

I didn’t go digital with most of my Blackmore collection.  Didn’t matter, my CD collection was stolen in a break-in.  After that I remember owning a best of collection.  Somehow it was misplaced during our recent cross country trip.  My new iPod needed some Rainbow, so I decided to go with Anthology with its focus on the the early years of the band.

The band began as Blackmore’s frustration with Deep Purple was reaching the breaking point.  A band named Elf opened for them on the Stormbringer tour.  Ritchie was impressed enough to use the band, fronted by Ronnie James Dio, for his solo album which morphed into a band .  Over the years, the line up changed with every album but Blackmore was the reason the band existed.

the late Ronnie James Dio

Anthology kicks off with 16th Century Greensleeves.  It builds off of the old song Greeensleeves.  Blackmore’s love for classical music would often show itself in songs and solos.  The song is representative of the Dio-years.  His obsession with mythology and mysticism would outlast his years with Rainbow.  It was not about occultism so much as the struggle between good and evil.  Of course, apart from Christ the outcome is altogether uncertain.  Together, Blackmore and Dio would lay the ground work for heavy metal.  Blackmore would inspire a legion of guitarists, and Dio another legion of lyricists.

“Someone screaming my name, come and make me holy again.”  Man on the Silver Mountain

The theme continues on The Temple of the King and Man on the Silver Mountain.  Thankfully they did not use any of the live versions of the latter, with Dio screaming “we’re all the man”.  But the latter is a classic Blackmore song that persisted in concert until the end.  The last cut from Blackmore’s Rainbow is an old Yardbird’s song Still I’m Sad.  It is done as an aggressive instrumental as Ritchie lets loose.   This is a great song, and I really enjoyed the live versions.

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This morning at the gym I was listening to Yes’ 90125 album.  I enjoyed much of the older stuff by Yes, and I was very excited to hear that a reformulated Yes was releasing an album.  This was during my Senior year in high school.  This was the year that I started going to rock concerts.  It all started with Rainbow (Aldo Nova was the opening act) on what would be their final world tour (Blackmore’s reformulated Rainbow in the late 90’s is blocked out from my memory).  John Graves, a.k.a. Jolly since he was English, called to see if I wanted to go.  I begged my father to go.  That year I would see Van Halen (with Autograph), the Scorpions (with Bon Jovi) and Yes.  The summer after graduation I would see the Moody Blues, the Pretenders (with the Simple Minds), the Cars (the night before my physical exam for college- being on the 4th row, I couldn’t hear anything the next day) and Yes again.  Listening to It Can Happen reminded the long, strange story of how I got to go to that concert (sorry about the really bad fashion, it was the 80’s).

 

He had the same haircut for 30 years.

Before I get to that, today I learned one of my other best friends in High School passed away unexpectedly this week.  Brian Borromeo was in most of my classes, and I somehow managed to be a few people ahead of him in the upper quarter.  We spent a lot of time together while at school.  He was the first of my Philippino friends.   I didn’t see him much after college.  One weekend I was home from school and I had a small party.  He came over.  It was good to head to pick up pizza and talk about life and the “new” U2 EP that had come out.  The last time we got together was just after he’d transferred to Northeastern University in Boston.  He apparently decided dentistry was not for him.  He was angry that I was no longer Roman Catholic.  I never saw him again.  I kept trying to find him on Facebook, but never did.  Now I never will.

 

Yes’ 90125 came out and we were blown away.  Trever Rabin’s guitar (he’s gone on to work on a number of movie soundtracks) was a welcome addition for me.  His style was very different than Steve Howe’s, so the album had a different feel to it than their great albums from the past.  So we were all ready to go see the band when they came to town.

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