Black Masquerade

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore trots out his 1995 version of Rainbow on the Black Masquerade DVD. This disc captures the band following Blackmore's second and final departure from Deep Purple, supporting the Stranger in Us All album with a live concert in Dusseldorf for the German Rockpalast series.

This lineup sounds like a tight metal outfit - at least in most of the first half of the show - behind Blackmore's riffery on songs like "Spotlight Kid," "Hunting Humans," and "Wolf To The Moon/Difficult To Cure." It's not really until we get to "Man On the Silver Mountain" that singer Doogie White comes into his own (though he certainly is no Ronnie James Dio or Joe Lynn Turner).

Things get into a good groove with the spectacular double-punch of "Black Masquerade" and the epic "Ariel." Blackmore and keyboardist Paul Morris are especially in sync here), we even get a vocal spot from Candice Night, the future Mrs. Blackmore at this point. Bassist Greg Smith also provides some fantastic backing vocals most of the show.

"Since You're Been Gone," gives way (after one verse and a chorus) to an adequate cover of Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers." There's a waste of "Greensleeves," while "Hall Of The Mountain King" increases in speed to show off the chops of drummer Chuck Burgi as well as Blackmore's amazing fret flights. The night ends with "Burn" that segues into a slightly inverted "Smoke On The Water."

As you'd expect the playing here is top notch, if not so inspired and that Rockpalast crowd is, as always, pretty damn enthusiastic. Black Masquerade is shot from excellent onstage vantage points that get right up close to the musicians. And the sound isn't too bad either. This is likely the last version of Rainbow with Ritchie Blackmore you'll ever see, so the historical significance alone makes it worth a look.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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