White Noise

Sands Centre, Carlisle

30 October 2004

Iain Jannings opened the proceedings with the synth intro to Tarot Woman. The tone was perfect -- so much so that the song was recognisable after a single note -- then he doodled around with a bit of Bach while the rest of the band took to the stage and joined in for the song itself. And that really set the pattern of the whole evening: these guys were playing the songs, but not note-perfect; they're good enough to improvise their own solos instead of blindly following Ritchie's.

Tarot Woman is the first Rainbow song I ever heard. It's probably the first Ritchie Blackmore song I ever heard, more than 20 years ago. And I was resigned to never hearing a live version. So while the rational half of my brain was saying "this isn't Rainbow", the emotional half seemed to be screaming "Tarot Womaaaaaaaaaaan!"

Doogie White is a great front man, a complete poser (in a good way!) and works really hard to keep the crowd entertained and involved. And of course he's a contender for greatest voice in rock today.

Bryan Josh semms to be playing in a more flashy style that usual, though from my position at the other end of the stage I couldn't see him clearly and his sound was a bit lost in the mix. But there's a brief moment in Ariel, when the rest of the band band shuts up, that he is Ritchie Blackmore. I wish he'd had a longer spot to develop that solo.

I'm not convinced the songs needed a second guitar player, but Liam Davison played the slide part, acoustic on Ariel, and took a few of the solos too. He left the stage for two or three songs, but when he was on stage he did more than enough to justify his presence.

The set was only an hour (should have been twice as long) and was something like this:

Tarot Woman
Too Late for Tears
Wolf to the Moon
Black Masquerade
Never the Rainbow (A Mostly Autumn song. Yes, it was obvious that if they were going to play one it would be this one. Rehearsed for the first time that afternoon, Doogie said, and you could tell. Reading off a lyric sheet, his timing and phrasing was distinctly off. I know he could do it justice, he just needs a bit more practice.)
Ask the God (A new song from the forthcoming White Noise album! You read it here first folks... A fairly generic metal song, I didn't hate it but it didn't immediately grab me.)
Hall of the Mountain King
One Way to Heaven (One of Doogie's old Midnight Blue songs, a great melodic hook and singalong chorus, I really liked it.)

So, what do you get when you take an ex-Rainbow singer, add a more-than-competent backing band, and play a set of Rainbow songs? A cover band? A tribute band? A cheap cash-in on Rainbow's good name? Does it matter a damn what you call it? Of course it wasn't Rainbow, but all the musicians worked hard, they all seemed to be having a good time playing the songs, and they played a very entertaining set. Honestly, what more can you ask for in a concert?