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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Memories In Rock II

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After playing a worldwide total of just seven shows in 2016 and 2017, the new line-up of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow are now releasing their third live album culled from those performances. The first, Memories In Rock, came from the two "debut" shows in Germany, and that was quickly followed by the complete show from Birmingham, the only UK date in 2016. The new album comes from the four UK shows in 2017, and includes a DVD of new interviews with every band member. For the 2016 shows, it was abundantly clear to all that the band had not rehearsed enough, and the live albums illuminated that fact even more acutely, even with their appalling recording quality. The 2017 shows were a lot better, so although the setlist has been mostly identical the whole time (and still is at their 2018 European shows), with a few variations, a new recording from the improved performances should redress the balance over the previous two releases. Throw in the prospect of the first brand new Rainbow studio song for over 20 years as a bonus, and Memories In Rock II should be the only document required from those first two tentative years. Thankfully then, it is in fact by far the best sounding of the three albums, and the most comprehensive. It combines nearly all of the different songs played over the four dates (somehow Burn is missing, despite being played all four times), including Blackmore's instrumental tribute to departed Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, Carry On... Jon, into a longer set of songs than any one show saw in reality. The mix is a little quiet in places, especially for Ritchie's guitar, which is sometimes overshadowed by the keyboards, and there's very little bass, so the band do sound thin at times, but it is a pretty accurate representation of how they sounded in the flesh, and new singer Ronnie Romero is nicely up front. The big talking point though is the new song, Waiting For A Sign, which is a vintage, grooving, Rainbow slow-burner, with a touch of blues. It's by far the highlight of the whole package. Hopefully it's a sign that the band will produce a new album of similar quality, because there really is no more need for live albums.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2018, Hard/Heavy Rock, Live Albums, Quickplay Reviews, , , ,

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