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Ritchie Blackmore Posts First Photo of New Band

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Ritchie Blackmore has given fans their first look at the band he’ll be playing with during his highly touted “return to rock” concerts next year.

The first photo of Blackmore’s new lineup comes courtesy of Facebook, where it was posted with the caption “And so the rehearsals begin.” As pictured, Blackmore will be performing with Blackmore will be joined by Lords of Black singer Ronnie Romero, Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson, and Blackmore’s Night vets drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau.

As previously reported, Blackmore’s itinerary includes appearances at next year’s Monsters of Rock festival on June 17 and 18, and although there’s still some confusion as to the exact number of dates he’ll be playing with this band, they’re confirmed for June 25 in Birmingham, U.K., which will mark Blackmore’s first rock show in the country in more than two decades.

Blackmore has focused on a more traditional strain of folk rock since disbanding Rainbow in 1997, but as he recently told Billboard, he was inspired to revisit his roots because, at 70, he “just felt like playing some rock ‘n’ roll for a few days.”

For this brief run, Blackmore has promised a set list heavy on fan favorites and classic cuts from his days with Rainbow and Deep Purple, and although some fans have already expressed disappointment regarding the absence of Blackmore’s former collaborators in those bands, he’s clearly feeling good about the musicians he enlisted — when speaking with Billboard, he compared Romero to Ronnie James Dio and Freddie Mercury.

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