Another one from nearly 30 years ago - I recently found a recording of this show and it set the memory whirring backwards in time.
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow
Newcastle City Hall
November 1. 1977
Over the Rainbow
Kill the King
16th Century Greensleeves
Catch the Rainbow
Long Live Rock'n'Roll
Man on the Silver Mountain
Still I'm Sad
Over the Rainbow
Rainbow played two nights at Newcastle City Hall and we decided to go on the second night. I don’t remember why we made this decision except that we figured that if they were playing two nights they would have any problems sorted out by the second night. How right we were!!! The bands management had forgotten to put a fork lift truck on their rider and the whole rig was held up while one was found.
The cause of the problem was Cozy Powell’s hydraulic drum riser which was too heavy to manhandle onto the stage. As it was one of the first things to go on then it held up the entire rig. Apparently it was very late by the time the gig kicked off and many people had to leave before Rainbow finished in order to catch trains or buses home again.
The first thing you saw when you entered the hall was a giant rainbow that stretched the entire width of the stage. It was made up of coloured lights and a huge logo was hanging underneath it. We were at the very front – second row I think, right in front of Blackmore.
The support band that night were Kingfish but I don’t remember much about them – shame really as the band used to have the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir as a member (although he had left by the time they toured the UK). I’m sure we watched them as it was unusual for us to miss anyone in those days when we were just finding our way.
Then the lights went out and over the PA system came the voice of Judy Garland. “You know Toto I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, we must be over the Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow, Rainbow….Blam! the band burst onto the stage and opened the show with Kill the King. Blackmore was right in front of us dressed in black and playing a white Stratocaster. Dio was centre stage, Cozy Powell behind him and the bassist and keyboard player on the far side.
There were two things that stand out from the show. The first was Cozy Powell’s drum solo which was based on the 1812 overture which played in the background. During the drum solo the whole drum riser lifter up and moved to the front of the stage so that he was high above the audience. On the very last beat of the solo two very bright magnesium flashes went off. We were so close to the front and were virtually blinded for the next few minutes so we didn’t see the drum kit go back or the rest of the band return.
Towards the end of the show Blackmore disappeared behind the rainbow and when he returned he was playing a cheap copy of the cream Stratocaster that he was playing earlier. A few minutes later he proceeded to smash the guitar. I recall that he had difficulty getting the neck to separate from the rest of the guitar because the strings held it in place. He threw the bits into the audience but sadly they all went over our heads but judging by the scramble for them it was just as well.
So that was it – the only time I saw them. I only really liked the first album and part of Rainbow Rising and they were never the same after Dio left. That Graham Bonnet Pop-rock stuff didn’t do it for me. I was disappointed that they didn’t play Temple of the King but as far as I can ascertain they never played it live.
NB This isn't my ticket which is still in a packing box somewhere in the garage. Thanks to someone who delights in the name of Soreballs for that! Also the picture wasn't at City Hall but was from the same tour.