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Ritchie Blackmore Return to Rock

After nearly two decades of playing Renaissance music, Ritchie Blackmore made his long-awaited return to rock with a new lineup of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow last night (June 17). You can watch video above and below.

The concert took place at the Monsters of Rock Festival in St. Goarshausen, Germany. He wasted no time in going back to one of the most celebrated moments in his catalog, opening up with Deep Purple‘s “Highway Star” (embedded above). Even though he said back in February that he was considering 70 percent of the songs to be from Rainbow, according to Setlist.fm, the 13-song set was split almost evenly between Deep Purple (six songs) and Rainbow (seven). Rainbow got the edge thanks to a cover of Russ Ballard’s “Since You Been Gone” that appeared on their 1979 album, Down to Earth. He closed with another Deep Purple classic, “Smoke on the Water.” Setlist also notes that “Soldier of Fortune,” “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves,” “Lazy” and “Burn” were written on the setlist.

Blackmore’s band consists of two veterans of Blackmore’s Night, drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau, and keyboardist Jens Johansson. Handling vocal chores, and thus given the task of replicating parts made famous by three legendary singers — Ian Gillan, David Coverdale and Ronnie James Dio — is Ronnie Romero.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow will perform again tonight, the installment of the Monsters of Rock in Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany. Next Saturday, June 25, they will play a show at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, England. He is not planning on recording or touring beyond these three dates. “I thought I’d just get back to playing the old songs one more time,” he said last month. “My commitment lies with Blackmore’s Night – this is just a few dates for fun.” Blackmore’s Night are touring Europe and the U.S. in July and August.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, St. Goarshausen, Germany Setlist

1. “Highway Star”
2. “Spotlight Kid”
3. “Mistreated”
4. “Since You Been Gone”
5. “Man on the Silver Mountain”
6. “Catch the Rainbow”
7. “Difficult to Cure”
8. “Perfect Strangers”
9. “Child in Time”
10. “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”
11. “Stargazer”
12. “Black Night”
13. “Smoke on the Water”