Rainbow: 7/23/1982

Here is my ticket stub from when I went to see Rainbow on the “Straight Between the Eyes” tour. I don’t remember much from this show, which was post Ronnie James Dio. What I do remember is that Ritchie Blackmore was as fast as ever on the Strat. I also recall them playing “Long Live Rock n’ Roll” and finishing up with “Smoke on the Water.” I could not find the setlist from this particular show online, but I did locate a setlist from Madison Square Garden on the same tour, which is probably similar to the show I saw.

Here’s the MSG setlist:

  • Spotlight Kid
  • Miss Mistreated
  • I Surrender
  • Can’t Happen Here
  • Tearin’ Out My Heart
  • All Night Long
  • Stone Cold
  • Power
  • Difficult to Cure
  • Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Smoke on the Water

Deep Purple: 3/16/1985

DeepPurple_3-16-85

Growing up, Deep Purple was one of my favorite bands. They were the epitome of hard rock and I had heard stories of how they were in the Guinness Book of World Records for the loudest concert, something I found most impressive. When I saw Deep Purple, it was a big reunion thing featuring the classic lineup: Ian Gillan (vocals), Jon Lord (organ), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums), and Ritchie Blackmore (guitar). The band had been split up for years and Ritchie Blackmore had his solo band, Rainbow. But then the band got back together and released the album “Perfect Strangers,” which did quite well. So when they booked a show at the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium, I grabbed some tickets.

I went to this concert with my brother Mike. On the drive out to Pembroke Pines, we discussed what song they might open with (a typical discussion of ours before a show). Mike felt certain they would open with “Highway Star,” a pick that I discounted saying it was too popular and would be closer to the end. Well, my brother was right… “Highway Star” was the opening song!

The concert was impressive and everything I expected from Deep Purple. It was loud, energetic, and visually thrilling. The band had a great laser show that totally added to the overall experience. Some of the high points of the concert for me were “Lazy,” “Child in Time,” “Strange Kind of Woman,” and “Speed King.” And of course, the last song of the encore to close the show: “Smoke on the Water.”

Since then, there have been other incarnations of Deep Purple, but none with the classic lineup of members, so I could never bring myself to see them again. This show was perfect and I could not imagine a reconfigured version being anywhere close. So I will maintain the integrity of this concert memory.

Rock and Roll!!

REO Speedwagon, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, and The Godz: 6/10/1978

ReoRainbow_6-10-78

This is one of my earliest ticket stubs, possibly my oldest. I was very young when I went to this show and it was pretty crazy.

My mom drove my friends and me to the Suffolk Forum in Commack, Long Island, NY. We got there early and waited in line since it was general admission. I was with two of my friends: Tommy and Schnook. We went in and found seats in the stands for the first act, The Godz.

The Godz may be the archetype for bad 70’s hard rock. Years later, when I saw the film “This is Spinal Tap,” the mock metal band featured in the film reminded me of The Godz. They were so bad and so cheesy that they were actually good, if that makes any sense. I still have a vinyl copy of The Godz’s album, if you can believe that.

Next up was Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. This was actually the band I was interested in seeing and the reason I went to this concert. At a young age, I was a big Deep Purple fan, so seeing the legendary guitarist’s new band was huge for me. At this time, Ronnie James Dio was the lead singer for Rainbow. Dio later went on to sing with Black Sabbath and after that he had a successful solo career.

My friends and I decided to go down onto the floor for Rainbow. It was insane, but we managed to get fairly close to the stage. Toward the middle of the set, Ritchie Blackmore took hold of the body of his Stratocaster and started smashing the neck of the guitar against the edge of the amplifier stacks. Soon pieces of guitar neck were sailing out into the crowd. Then, a piece flew toward us. I watched as the piece of guitar travelled through the air in slow motion and landed right in Schnook’s outstretched hand. He looked at me with a huge smile on his face, which lasted just a moment. Immediately, a fist came out of nowhere and punched Schnook in the face, and his rock and roll prize was snatched from his hand. We went back to the stands and Tommy and I watched as Schnook’s eye blackened and swelled shut. He told me that he actually saw stars when the guy punched him. I felt bad for him.

REO Speedwagon played next. I can’t tell you much about them other than they were OK. But I kept wondering why Ritchie Blackmore was opening for this band, which I had never heard of before. Of course, a few years later, REO would become super popular.

I learned an important lesson that day—concert’s were dangerous and if something sails into the audience from the stage, best to move out of the way.

Rock on!