Minstrel Hall Music has another archived concert on the way this spring from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Memories in Rock II is currently scheduled to be released Friday, April 6 on separate 2CD/DVD combo pack, vinyl and digital platforms. The 18-song set (technically 21 songs) pulls performances from the band’s 2017 UK performances. As an added bonus, it also includes the band’s first studio recording since 1996. That extensive collection of songs forms a solid foundation for the recording. it will be discussed shortly. Just as important to the recording’s presentation as the extensive set list is the bonus DVD that is included with the audio recording. It will be discussed a little later, as it strengthens that foundation formed by the set list even more. The recording’s companion booklet rounds out the most important of its elements. Each element is important in its own way, as will be pointed out here. All things considered, they make Memories in Rock II a live recording that will have no problem sticking in listeners’ memories.
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow’s new live recording Memories in Rock II, the follow-up to 2016’s Memories in Rock, which documented a trio of European Rainbow shows from 2016, is a nice follow-up to that recording. That is despite it missing one item in its presentation. That item is part of what also makes the recording enjoyable, its set list. The recording’s 18 (technically 21) song set list will appeal to fans of Blackmore’s work with Rainbow and Deep Purple. Over the course of its 136-minute (2-hour, 16-minute) run time, the set list features 11 classic Rainbow songs on which Blackmore took part recording as well as eight Deep Purple songs and one more recent work from Blackmore’s Night — ‘Carry On Jon.’ The whole thing opens with the band’s own take on the classic Wizard of Oz tune ‘Over The Rainbow,’ originally composed by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. What’s interesting about the Rainbow song selection is that it is pulled from five of Rainbow’s eight total albums. Blackmore took part on each of those albums. Of course, since he wanted to reach fans of his work with Deep Purple, there was no way to feature work from those other three Rainbow records. Keeping that in mind, being that the set list features only three more Rainbow songs than Deep Purple songs, it is clear a lot of thought was put into reaching as many fans as possible. The same can be said about the set list’s sequence. Throughout the course of the concert, Blackmore and company keep things interesting, switching back and forth between Rainbow and Deep Purple throughout rather than staying on one or the other too long. this insures listeners’ engagement even more. The one downside to the whole thing is that the concert here is limited entirely to CD. Memories in Rock, its predecessor, which chronicled Rainbow’s 2016 European shows, was presented on separate CD and CD/DVD/BD platform. Of course Live in Birmingham, a partner recording to Memories in Rock was presented only on CD. To that end, while not having a DVD or BD presentation here takes away at least a little from the presentation, it can’t be criticized too badly. It just would have been nice to have that option. Keeping that in mind, one might ask what is on the DVD that is included in this presentation. What is included on the DVD is a series of interviews with Blackmore, his band mates and even some of those behind the scenes. It’s another of the recording’s strong points.
Blackmore’s interview is the longest of the interviews included in the bonus DVD, clocking in at a little more than half an hour. Ronnie Romero gets his own roughly 10-minute interview while Blackmore’s wife Candice Night and fellow back-up singer Lady Lynn get their own moment in the limelight. The topics covered throughout the collective interviews is just as diverse as the recording’s set list. Blackmore talks about the difference between playing Deep Purple and Rainbow songs and those from Blackmore’s Night. His mention of having to keep his fingernails trimmed for the latter and of course his mentality on stage is interesting to say the least. His very frank response to whether or not he wants to play with his former Deep Purple band mates is just as interesting. Rather than ramble on aimlessly, he raises the issue of management and money being obstacles, but that he would like to play at least once so that fans would know the past is the past. It is its own interesting discussion. His light-hearted discussion on his wife’s role in Ronnie Romero’s inclusion in the band will put a smile on anyone’s face. Speaking of Romero, audiences will enjoy his discussions, too. He shares, through his discussions, a brief look at his professional resume while also discussing his love for Deep Purple and Rainbow. Drummer David Keith’s interview, while not overly long, offers its own interest for his fellow drummers. He openly admits that coming into Rainbow, his knowledge was more to that of Neil Peart (Rush) and others. Obviously he settled in nicely to his position with Rainbow. Between these discussions, the talks by Rainbow’s tour manager (yes, even the tour manager), and everyone else involved, audiences get plenty of extra insight and entertainment through the featured interviews. When that insight and entertainment is set against the recording’s set list, the two elements together show even more clearly why this recording is another enjoyable offering from Rainbow. It still is not the last of the elements to prove this, either. The recording’s companion booklet rounds out the most important of the recording’s elements.
The companion booklet that comes with Memories in Rock II is its own integral addition to this recording because of the back story that it offers on the band’s 2017 concerts. That history is presented by Stathis N. Panagiotopoulos, a member of the Deep Purple Appreciation Society, Greece. Panagiotopoulos directly mentions the band’s 2016 European shows in his liner notes while also noting that the lineup presented in this recording is the longest-running Rainbow lineup since the release of the band’s debut album way back in 1975. He even touches on the set list featured here, noting that this set list came about most likely due to discontent from audiences that the band’s 2016 shows were weighed down by Deep Purple songs. This is an interesting nugget of information considering that this set list features eight Deep Purple Songs to 11 Rainbow classics. Basically put, there is still a solid Deep Purple presence here, but there is even more Rainbow presence, and the two are ultimately well-balanced from start to finish. These notes and others included in the booklet’s liner notes do plenty to add to the recording’s enjoyment. When they are collectively set alongside the recording’s set list and the bonus interviews, the whole will keep audiences engaged and entertained for hours both literally and figuratively speaking. That being the case, it proves in whole to be a work that will stay in audiences’ minds for a long time.
Memories in Rock II, the follow-up to Rainbow’s 2017 recording Memories in Rock, is another nice addition to Rainbow’s overall body of work and another enjoyable live recording from the veteran rock band. It is a work that is certain to stay in audiences’ minds for a long time. As noted here, that is due in part to the recording’s well-balanced, extensive set list. The recording’s bonus DVD, loaded with almost two hours of insightful and entertaining interview footage adds to its enjoyment. The information provided in the liner notes of the companion booklet put the finishing touch to the recording. Each element is important in its own right. All things considered, they make Memories in Rock II potentially one of this year’s top new live recordings overall. It will be available Friday, April 6 via Minstrel Hall Music. More information on Memories in Rock II is available online now along with all of Ritchie Blackmore’s latest news and more at:
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