Ritchie Blackmore has admitted that the Rainbow reunion shows of 2016 could have been better. He said the new lineup should had rehearsed more before the performances.

The former Deep Purple guitarist staged a “return to rock” after focusing on his medieval-themed Blackmore’s Night group for the past two decades. He recruited a new singer, Ronnie Romero, but the performances received mixed reviews, including a negative vote from Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton.

“I think that Ronnie is a very good performer and he gives the rest of us the freedom to concentrate on what we're doing,” Blackmore told Eclipsed Rock Magazine (via Rainbow Fan Clan). “For some time I thought that it's very important to be very fast on the guitar, and some of the songs need that kind of fast playing. But at some point in my career I knew I don't want to come from A to B with as many notes as possible. Today I think less is more. Looking back on our first shows, I think that we should have rehearsed a bit more, and the shows would have been a lot better. I also think that I didn't really perform every song of the set quite well.”

However, Blackmore was full of praise for his current bandmates. “It's really a lot of fun to play with this band," he said. "The other guys are getting more and more confident. And Ronnie Romero is a fantastic singer. On the other side, I'm happy to play for all the fans that grew up with my old music. The shows in the very big halls or arenas are almost to completely sold out.”

Asked to compare the 21st-century Rainbow lineup to those form the past, Blackmore said, “I will say something now that is probably gonna upset a lot of Cozy Powell and [Ronnie James] Dio fans, but that's really how I think: This lineup is the best lineup Rainbow ever had. On the other side, I'm always in the now onstage and offstage, which means that I had always loved the current lineup of any band I was in the most.”

Glenn Hughes said before the shows that he’d been invited to take part, but had declined. “Rainbow was always my vision," Blackmore said. "So it's natural that you're surrounding yourself with new people. I feel that playing with unknown musicians is much more inspiring. Deep Purple was Jon Lord and myself. … When we're playing ‘Child in Time,’ I always think of him. ‘Soldier of Fortune.’ which was written by David Coverdale and myself, is another one of those songs. Jon loved that song.”

Rainbow will release a CD and DVD package from those 2016 shows, titled Memories In Rock II, on April 6.

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