The biggest rock and metal festival of Finland, Rockfest, decided to have a 3 day event instead of the 4 days of last year’s edition. But they apparently still felt like having 4 days in a row of rock music, so they decided to put a rock show up on the Thursday evening before the official Rockfest madness kicked off. We went down to the festival grounds to catch the rather legendary Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, with support from Kingston Wall and Peer Günt. This is how things went down…
Peer Günt (***)
First up on this warm-up night, was the old school hard rock outfit Peer Günt. This Finnish band has been around since the seventies with some albums being quite the success in the eighties. And what you get from that is simple, straightforward (hard) rock ‘n’ roll. Some would brand it as “dad rock”, quite easy-going music, but still a lot of fun. Also the members themselves were clearly having a bit of fun standing on that big stage opening the Rainbow night. Good, simple fun in the sun… a good way to start the evening!
Kingston Wall (****1/2)
Next was a cult band of the Finnish rock scene. The psychedelic/progressive rock outfit Kingston Wall existed through the end of the eighties/beginning nineties until main force behind the band, Petri Walli, passed away. Last year the original bassist J. Jylli and drummer Kuoppis decided to do a onetime show to celebrate Petri‘s life with the help of the Von Hertzen Brothers. That was so successful that they decided to do more of this and here they were.
Eastern influenced psychedelic/acid rock that just had to make you happy blasted through the speakers and made you wonder what the hell the musicians might have smoked or swallowed to be this elevated. Give me some of that, please! It really was a pleasure to see these guys on stage, mesmerized by their own music. It’s the kind of music that takes you on a magical ride to what I presume the sixties and seventies were like during the height of flower power.
Another Piece of Cake
We Cannot Move
Could It Be So?
With My Mind
Konevitsan Kirkonkellot / Kuusamo / I Feel Love / The Real Thing
Shine on Me
Two of a Kind / Waste of Time
And I Hear You Call / Mushrooms
Fire (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (***1/2)
Headliner of this “pre-festival show” was obvious Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. For those who have no clue about who we’re speaking about (under what rock are you living though?), Ritchie Blackmore is the one of the founding members of a little band called Deep Purple. Rainbow is the solo band founded by this guitar legend. A rock supergroup with a revolving line-up with in the very beginning one of metal’s best vocalists ever, Ronnie James Dio. Ritchie is the lord and master of what happens with the band and the only consistent member of Rainbow.
After that very brief lesson in music history, you may wonder how the show actually was like now. Of course it was a solid rock show with plenty of guitar licks and solos and classic songs from both Rainbow and Deep Purple. Ritchie was more often than not completely absorbed by his guitar and the rest of the band followed suit in quality and effort. He was however also the only one on stage who didn’t seem to enjoy being on the stage that much. Everyone seemed excited to be playing, especially vocalist Ronnie Romero put quite some action into the whole performance. And the 2 lovely backing vocal ladies had the party of their lives somewhere more in the back of the stage.
Besides Ritchie seemingly being cranky the whole time, there was only one remark I have to bring up. Even though Romero does a damn good job in the vocal department, every time they did a song originally sung by Dio, I couldn’t help but imagining the soaring vocals and felt that it was lacking something with their present vocalist however close he got to the original sound. But hey, it’s Dio we’re talking about here… he’s simply irreplaceable. So keep doing what you’re doing and rock on!
Land of Hope and Glory
Over the Rainbow (Harold Arlen song)
I Surrender (Russ Ballard cover)
Mistreated (Deep Purple cover)
Since You Been Gone (Russ Ballard cover)
Man on the Silver Mountain
Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple cover)
Black Night (Deep Purple cover)
Difficult to Cure
All Night Long
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
Burn (Deep Purple cover)
Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple cover)
For more pictures, go see our photo coverage here:
Stay tuned for more Rockfest articles soon!