Rainbow Newcastle City Hall 19th February 1980

Rainbow Newcastle City Hall 19th February 1980
rainbowtix80It was now 1980, and Rainbow’s line-up had changed yet again. Blackmore had his eye on the commercial rock market, and wanted to move Rainbow’s music in the direction of more commercial straight ahead rock, away from their traditional “swords and sorcery” thematic. Ronnie James Dio was having none of this, so he was off, soon to join Black Sabbath. So the band morphed yet again. In came singer Graham Bonnet, last seen fronting The Marbles who hit the UK charts in the late ’60s with a Bee Gees penned pop classic “Only One Woman”. Bonnet has a great solid rock voice, with an amazing vocal range; although at the time I found it difficult to imagine anyone other than Dio singing Rainbow classics like “Man on the Silver Mountain”. But sing them Graham did, and he made a pretty good fist of it too. The line-up of Rainbow Mk V was Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Cozy Powell (drums), returning old Purple mate Roger Glover (bass), Don Airey (keyboards) and Graham Bonnet (vocals). rainbowprog80
The changing nature of the band didn’t seem to impact upon their popularity. If anything Rainbow were more popular, and once again sold out two nights at the City Hall. I attended the first night’s concert. Support came from NWOBHM band Samson featuring Bruce Dickinson (or Bruce Bruce as he was then). This concert displayed more shades of classic rock than the mystical dark elements on show during the Dio-era. It was a different type of gig, but no less enjoyable, and Blackmore was as on-fire as ever. The new formula had already paid dividends in the form of a massive hit single “Since You Been Gone”, which was followed by the almost as successful “All Night Long”.
Setlist: Eyes of the World; Love’s No Friend; Man on the Silver Mountain; Catch the Rainbow; Lost in Hollywood; Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll / Kill the King; All Night Long

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on March 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I was at the 1976, 1977 and 1980 Rainbow concerts at Newcastle City Hall.
    The support band at the 1980 show was Samson (with Bruce Dickinson on vocals).

    Blackmore was great to watch – I recall him throwing his guitar onto the floor and dancing up and down the fret board during the encore. I also remember when he smashed his guitar off the balcony front wall which you mentioned in your 1976 blog – amazing !

    Another Blackmore tale was from the 1980 Newcastle show when he started playing the riff to Smoke On The Water which totally threw the rest of the band as they were expecting to hear Man On The Silver Mountain. After a few seconds Blackmore stopped and then went into MOTSM chuckling away to himself to the right of the stage. Whether he meant to do this or simply got the two songs mixed up – who knows ?


    • Posted by vintagerock on March 19, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks Mitch yep Blackmore was just amazing at the time
      Thanks for the memory jog about Samson supporting, which I had totally forgotten. I’ll change my blog entry pronto. Cheers Peter


  2. Posted by dawn on March 30, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Superb powerful band ive seen a few times great music


  3. Posted by ray on May 16, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    I was at the 19/2/80 concert,The band didn’t play since you been gone that night


    • Posted by vintagerock on May 17, 2014 at 7:47 am

      Thanks. I would have been disappointed at that. I’ll revise my setlist. Cheers Peter


  4. Posted by seafret on July 31, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    I was upstairs on very back row with a group of mates. Always a massive Purple fan, not really commited to Rainbow. Remember thinking gig was ok but if memory serves me right, Blackmore was in a strange mood. He poured beer on crowd and set was short. Ugly scenes as denim leathery types were angry….


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