Rainbow Newcastle City Hall 14th September 1976

Rainbow Newcastle City Hall 14th September 1976
rainbowprog76 In 1975 Ritchie Blackmore was becoming disillusioned with Deep Purple, wanting to move their music in a different direction, drawing from his interest in classical music. He decided to try a few songs out with rock band Elf, fronted by Ronnie Jame Dio; Elf having supported Purple on the 1974 Burn tour. The liaison with Dio worked well and so Blackmore decided to leave Purple to form his new band Rainbow, although he was less than happy with the rest of Elf, and soon changed the rest of the line-up. By the time the band started to tour, and reached the UK; the line-up of Rainbow Mk2 consisted of Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Ronnie James Dio (vocals), Jimmy Bain (bass), Tony Carey (keyboards) and Cozy Powell (Drums). Their first tour called at Newcastle City Hall on 14th September 1976.
Support came from Stretch, a band that was fronted by Elmer Gantry (of Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera and “Flames” fame). Stretch developed from a band put together in 1974 with (according to them) help from Mick Fleetwood, to perform as Fleetwood Mac on a US tour. In the end Fleetwood dropped out (and denied any involvement) and they toured without him, but punters soon realised that the band contained no members of Fleetwood Mac and the tour collapsed. They subsequently had a hit single in 1975 with “Why Did You Do It?”,which was a direct attack on Fleetwood. Stretch were a pretty good rock band, who I saw a couple of times in the mid-70s. rainbowtix76
Rainbow concerts were tremendous events. The stage was surrounded by a massive rainbow which consisted of 3,000 coloured lights. And Blackmore was at the height of his powers in both guitar prowess and showmanship excess. He would climb on top of the stacks up and onto the balcony. I remember one show (I think it may have been this one) where he stood on top of a massive stack bashing his Strat against the side of the balcony, until it (the guitar that is) was totally demolished (I think it also left a few dents in the side of the balcony which had to be repaired afterwards). Of course we all cheered him on. Great stuff. Dio had an unbelievable vocal range, and added lyrics, and an atmosphere, of demons, goblins and mysticism to the proceedings. Their songs were excellent too: “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves”, “Man On The Silver Mountain” and “Stargazer” are classics from the time. Blackmore retained “Mistreated” from his days with Purple. In the early days of Rainbow their concerts consisted of a relatively small number of songs, each one becoming an opportunity for epic jamming, particularly by Blackmore. The guy was amazing and his performance simply breathtaking in those days.
Setlist: Kill The King; Mistreated; Sixteenth Century Greensleeves; Catch The Rainbow; Man On The Silver Mountain; Stargazer; Still I’m Sad; Do You Close Your Eyes.
Note added 20th July 2014. I found the programme below in my collection. I guess it must be an unofficial programme which I bought outside the City Hall show in 1976. rainbowprog

3 responses to this post.

  1. I was at this one, seated in the balcony F54. Ritchie Blackmore was my favourite guitarist at the time, I simply adored Deep Purple. This was a great gig, the band were on fire. I also got the bootleg programme along with the official one.


    • Posted by vintagerock on April 14, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks John. Those unofficial programmes were a feature of shows in the 70s. They are often rarer, more collectable and worth more that the official programmes. Cheers Peter


  2. Posted by Charlotte Milner on January 15, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    hi, we have a copy of the rainbow programme from the original concert – the one shown above in black with the rainbow going across? Do you know if they are worth advertising on ebay and at a collectors site? any feedback would be great


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: