Minsk, Belarus, Sports Palace
February 14th, 2009

What would you expect from the show which looked doomed to be very much like a travelling jukebox? The fans were quite afraid of what was to happen. What will the band play? Will they manage to do it – not only Blackmore the sun, but all of them?

Well, the set was a RAINBOW fan’s sweetest dream. Nobody’s had a luxury of hearing such a strong set before, even in the ’90s?
RJ Dio’s era: “Tarot Woman”, the opener, “Kill The King”, “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Man On The Silver Mountain”, “Stargazer” (oh my God!). “Eyes Of The World”, “Since You Been Gone” and “All Night Long” from RAINBOW’s only album with Graham Bonnet. A medley of latter-day’s “Ariel” and “Wolf To The Moon”. Plus, of course, Joe Lynn Turner‘s own “Street Of Dreams”, “I Surrender”, one of the encores, “Jealous Lover” (did they ever play it live? don’t think so…), “Power”, “Death Alley Driver” and “Can”t Happen Here”. Did I forget anything?

Although some songs were evidently a bit under-rehearsed – okay, that was OTR’s first gig – and, save for a terrible flaw on Tony Carey’s part in “Stargazer” solo, the band played well. JLT, who’s often treated as the least diverse singer in RAINBOW, went through the whole set with a take-no-prisoners attitude, failing only occasionally (leave “Stargazer” to Ronnie, man), while Greg Smith did fine on the backing vocals.

And Blackmore Jr… Looking and dressed up very much like his father back in the day and moving across the stage very much like Ritchie, he conjured up some deja-vu feeling. But hang on! One must respect anybody facing the hard task of filling the ultimate guitar legend’s shoes, even if it’s his fathers’ sneakers. Right, Tommy Bolin and Steve Morse did it before, but the price was the change of the band’s facade, while J.R. had to follow the original lick by lick. Did the band rely on his ability to do so? There was too much keyboards, and Tony was stealing the show from J.R. every time he could, sometimes taking up the guitar solo. Yet J.R. stood his ground, even if with slightly simplified takes on original riffs. Didn’t matter, though, as even Blackmore Sr. didn’t try too hard on stage with RAINBOW. Should anyone complain, then?

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable show. A travelling jukebox? We definitely got more.

Personal thanks to Tony Carey and Bobby Rodinelli for treating the fans so friendly at the hotel.

Dmitri Shulga, Minsk

Photo © D. Shulga 2009

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