Rainbow live at Rock The Coast Festival, Malaga, Spain.


Rainbow - Live Review

Rock The Coast Festival - Fuengirola near Malaga, Spain June 15th 2019

By Robert Corich

A fabulous set in the blinding sunshine by UFO, graced with Neil Carter on guitar and keyboards, was followed by a somewhat lacklustre performance by Opeth on main stage II. Well, let’s be honest here, it wasn’t just lacklustre, it was plain dreary.

Opeth’s dreary performance made watching the preparations on stage, where Rainbow were to shortly appear, seem rather enticing.

Shuffling and jostling our way to the barrier stage left, the usual position Ritchie frequents, involved stamping on a few toes of local fans silly enough to don flip-flops. Also, a little pushing and shoving of a few lummoxes who seemed to hail from middle England and the North. The bigger they are the harder they fall, right? Nothing was going to stop these two crazy music journo’s from seeing one of their heroes up close and personal tonight.

With the sun slowly fading, roadies and stage hands were finalising preparations on stage. A stage which, interestingly, involved a setlist the size of a large doghouse being laid down right where we thought the ‘Man in Black’ would fire up from.

Stage smoke started drifting while Land of Hope and Glory wafted out of the PA.

Then a massive rainbow appeared at the rear of the stage and the classic band starter ‘Over The Rainbow’ emanated out of the speakers. Shadows turned into figures from out of the plumes of dry ice as the band moved forward onto the stage and suddenly they were off.

Ritchie belted out the riff to the fast paced ‘Spotlight Kid’, while Ronnie Romero projected clear powerful vocals to the huge crowd before them.

It was clear we were in for a treat in a venue with the gentle Middle Sea on one side and the thousand year old Castillo Sohail presiding on the other. I was pretty sure that today, of the four European festival dates the mighty Rainbow played so far this summer season, this would be the one where ‘The Man in Black’ would be most in his element.

I wasn’t wrong!

With the band settling in quickly, the classic rock-pop riff of ‘I Surrender’ got an already thrilled crowd rocking. Romero was clearly enjoying himself immensely. From our close proximity, it even looked like Ritchie was grinning as they slowed everything down. Then the classic tones of ‘Mistreated’ echoed across the stage towards that castle on the hill. Truly amazing stuff.

Three tracks in and it was clear that this was a far better delivery than any of the previous shows we had witnessed in 2016/2017 back in Blackmore’s home country.

Rainbow’s second classic Russ Ballard penned hit ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ was delivered with aplomb and was followed by a ballsy ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’ (which included a smidgeon of Purple’s ‘Woman From Tokyo’). Nothing wrong there, although it might have been more apt to hear ‘Spanish Archer’ being given probably its first ever live airing. Dreams are free after-all.

The thumping riff of ‘Perfect Strangers’ followed and then a well executed ‘Black Night’. Although I can’t say these were not delivered beautifully, I would have preferred another Rainbow number or two instead such as ‘Light in the Black’ and ‘Gates of Babylon’. Or, maybe, even something like ‘King of Dreams’ or ‘Wicked Ways’ off the Deep Rainbow experiment ‘Slaves and Masters’.

As I already said ‘I can but dream’, but wouldn’t it be sensational if Ritchie got that adventurous? Ah well, always the optimist!

These two Deep Purple classics gave way to a four song run of Rainbow classics. ‘Difficult to Cure’ found Ritchie racing off the stage, tripping over cables and his doghouse sized setlist sheet in his haste to either get to the bar or to the loo. Or maybe both?

We were kept entertained by proficient keyboard antics and a more than adequate compliment of bass and drums. This was certainly an improvement on the rather lightweight performances from all three of these musicians a few years back.

Upon the return of our string bender extraordinaire from his nature calls episode, Blackmore completed his guitar antics during ‘Difficult to Cure’. The crowd went wild as the band hammered on into the ever popular ‘All Night Long’.

Ronnie Romero had his (almost) home crowd well behind him. He’s starting to show a real ability to get the fans roused up for his boss.

Lights galore and, of course, that massive rainbow from the ‘Rainbow Rising’ album cover as a backdrop, the audience roared as the band ploughed into the classic riff of ‘Stargazer’.

With the glowing lights of Castle Sohail, stars began to twinkle in the heavens above and, his maidens singing their hearts out behind him, you could see Ritchie was thoroughly enjoying himself. Often sliding down on the deck to do many of his classic stage poses, I doubt there was a person in the crowd that wasn’t in raptures about this barnstorming performance.

As Romero perfectly executed this Rainbow classic, he payed homage to Ronnie James Dio as he adeptly belted out a crowd rousing version of ‘Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll’.

Ritchie was having fun too with his ‘time number’ cards showing how many minutes we had left. A belting version of ‘Burn’ had everyone grinning and if there any doubts that Ritchie still had the magic, those thoughts were well and truly expunged after ‘Stargazer’ and now ‘Burn’.

With his ‘minute cards’ being held up with a 5 and a 20, we all knew what was coming next...

‘Smoke on the Water’ was delivered with a fiery gusto.

Although this will forever be Purple’s main anthem, there’s no doubting Ritchie still has his own special connection in this world wide crowd pleaser.

The crowd absolutely loved this performance and everyone who was there will be talking about it for a very long time to come.

This was a truly entertaining evening. What could top this?

Well, new material in the shape of a proper album rather than the few disparate (but mostly good) download tracks that have been made available to date. Then a tour in support of that album.

Now that would truly be magical!

Brilliant gig but room for improvement

Live rating: 8.5 stars out of 10

Land of Hope and Glory Over the Rainbow
Spotlight Kid
I Surrender
Since You’ve Been Gone
Man On The Silver Mountain
Perfect Strangers
Black Night
Difficult To Cure
All Night Long
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
Smoke On The Water

Robert Corich