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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Black Masquerade Award winner

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Black Masquerade
by YngwieViking at 19 August 2013, 4:15 PM

I’m pretty glad to write a review for this CD/DVD live package called “Black Masquerade” as it seems to me, that this particular incarnation of the Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW, is truly underrated and unconsidered, same for the subsequent album “Stranger In Us All”, which was a real highlight, and even an oasis of excellent music in this back then much troubled era, circa 1994/1995.

The line-up announcement was like a wet dream for me, as I‘m a big fan of RED DAWN, created by also an ex-RAINBOW alumni Mr. David Rosenthal  (another criminally forgotten act with a real unsung jewel of an album in ‘94 “Never Say Surrender”), and basically for the whole tour the rhythm section was the same as RED DAWN, comprising of Chuck Burgi (BÖC / ex- BALANCE / ex-ALDO NOVA) and Greg Smith (TED NUGENT / ex-ALICE COOPER / ex-W.O.W / ex-AMERICADE / ex-JOE LYNN TURNER) respectively on drums and bass / vocals. Keyboardist Paul Morris had been found before in the highly respected Hair Metal band FROM THE FIRE playing in their 1992’s cult album “Thirty Days And Dirty Nights ” (I heard that soon we should be the happy to witness, the follow-up album to their critically-acclaimed debut record). The vocalist Doogie White, was back then a mostly undiscovered Scottish fellow, that was acted in a great act named MIDNIGHT BLUE (I’ll recommend warmly their album "Take The Money And Run" thru the mighty Japanese label ZERO Corporation (R.I.P.) and was republished in early 2012 by YesterRock with a new cover art and 2 additional track), I also noticed his voice in the CHAIN demos (the album "Eros of  Love and Destruction" was later released in 1997), but the mainstream audience never heard of this guy until his big break through with the awesome “Stranger In Us All”. Since then, Mr. White became an honorable member of the PURPLE Family congregation and as Joe Lynn Turner, Glenn Hughes or Don Airey, he found his way by playing the hired gun in a lot of tributes / Solo albums and various projects.

Most are quality stuff but, some are better than others, as the outstanding  Nikolo Kotzev's NOSTRADAMEUS (with Goran Edman / Jorn Lande / Glenn Hughes) or "Once And Future King" by Gary Hughes (TEN). His name was evoked & rumored as lead singer for PINKCREAM 69 / ROYAL HUNT and even IRON MAIDEN. CORNERSTONE was also a long time running project , that he formed with Steen Morgensen (ex-ROYAL HUNT) in more mellow Scandi-AOR way,  while again he contributes to a batch of recording like: PRAYING MANTIS / THE RING / EMPIRE / EDEN'S CURSE / VODOO CIRCLE / SEBASTIEN / RATA BLANCA / CANDELMASS / Iain Ashley Hersey.

The big success break, was once again, when he became Yngwie J. Malmsteen's RISING FORCE new vocalist (albums :"Attack" + "Unleash The Fury"), and even if those albums are far from being the high caliber music that we could expected by the mighty Swedish maestro, it brings to him enough fame & prestige to enlighten his career pursuit. Doogie once more will have breaks in the routine by recording an exceptional album with once legendary NWOBHM act TANK, while nobody's expected nothing at all, the album "War Machine" followed by a sequel “War Nation” one year after, and even a live DVD, those albums installs firmly once again his status as an important & influential vocalist, but also set , the new incarnation of TANK, as a future force to watch: it’s also start a new collaboration with polish label Metal Mind Records and quite logically his first solo album saw the light of day with a great guest-list of musicians involved . His first solo work was succeeded by two album by LA PAZ (an on-hold late school band era 1984 / 88), both project are in the same way traditional British Classic Hard Rock but I think DEMON’S EYE from Germany or KRUK were already better in this genre.

Anyway Doogie White had proved more than once that, Richie Blackmore has a great ear and decidedly an exceptional acumen, and a real talented flair for musician’s discovery. Now back to the main subject of this analysis, you already understand that the band selection was top notch, they deliver an edgy and faultless performance. Now, if you look closely at the setlist it clearly appears like something almost magical, the gold blend, between the old classic tracks such “Spotlight Kid” / “Man On A Silver Mountain” / “Still I’m Sad” with the incoming fresh ones such as the rocking “Too Late For Tears” or the dark and progressive flavored numbers as “Hunting Humans” / ”Wolf To The Moon” / “Black Masquerade” / “Ariel" is perfect and homogenous , in the tradition of the dramatic sophistication,  the clever elegance and the mysterious symphonic finesse that always was the trademark of the mighty RAINBOW.

Doogie White's powerful voice is particularly shinny on this one , succeeding to the most Monstrous vocal legends ever such as Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.) / Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner with an impressive yet solid constancy and a total valid confidence in his set of pipes. The closing of the show is traditionally restricted to the DEEP PURPLE's stuff, and this time again the rule is honored, with some fine renditions of timeless hits like “Smoke On The Water” / “Perfect Strangers” or the unexpected “Burn”. The organic sound restitution of “Black Masquerade” is pretty good, it was recorded in Düsseldorf, Germany on 9.10.1995: A real live recording in the famous 70s mood, the visual side is also excellent as it was filmed by the mythical WDR’s ROCKPALAST TV show’s crew.

This live broadcast is finally released officially and I’m pretty glad, of the fact that we, the Metalhead fans community can enjoy this excellent live testimony forever.

4 Star Rating

1. Introduction
2. Spotlight Kid
3. Too Late For Tears
4. Long Live Rock n Roll / Black Night
5. Hunting Humans
6. Wolf To The Moon / Difficult To Cure
7. Keyboard Solo
8. Still I m Sad
9. Man On The Silver Mountain
10. Temple Of The King
11. Black Masquerade
12. Ariel
13. Since You’ve Been Gone
14. Perfect Strangers
15. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
16. Hall Of The Mountain King
17. Burn
18. Smoke On The Water
Richie Blackmore – Lead Guitar
Doogie White – Lead Vocals
Chuck Burgi - Drums
Greg Smith – Bass/Vocals
Paul Morris - Keyboards
Candice Night – Backing Vocals
Record Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment


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