“I’m gonna hate this … I hate France … I hate being here … just don’t wanna play!”Ritchie Blackmore recalling his thoughts on the Colmar gig. Quoted in Black Knight: Ritchie Blackmore by Jerry Bloom.
Rainbow performed on this day in 1981 at the Theatre de Plein Air du Parc Expo in Colmar, France.
At this time the band was on their Difficult to Cure Tour. It was the third leg of the group’s tour to support the album of the same name.
According to recollections by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, the stadium had only about 800 people when it normally would be able to seat 3,000. Furthermore, it was raining, and the stadium had no roof, making for a miserable experience.
The concert occurred on keyboardist Don Airey’s birthday, the only birthday gig he had with Rainbow. The concert was seriously impeded by events which occurred early on in the set, however, and the band thus didn’t seem to do much to celebrate. Revised recalled that a crate of tomatoes or oranges were thrown onstage, causing guitarist Ritchie Blackmore to abandon the set. From the vague recollections from reviews, all but singer Joe Lynn Turner left the stage with him.
The true story is a little bit murkier—or perhaps a bit more humorous. According to Jerry Bloom’s biography on Ritchie Blackmore, the guitarist was no longer onstage at the time of the fruit-throwing. Rather, he had left the stage to watch Turner, taking the band with him. When they reached the orchestra pit, they found the vegetables and threw them at Turner themselves! Drummer Bobby Rondinelli later admitted that they shouldn’t have done such a thing, even though he had fun at the time.
This concert and prank marked the first known time the band would strand a member of the band onstage during a set on this tour. However, it wouldn’t be the last.
There is no known recording of this particular concert.
- Bloom, Jerry. Black Knight: Ritchie Blackmore
- Edit on 2020-09-07: Added information from Black Knight.