This has to be one of the major highlights in Rainbow Risings history. The band had been keenly anticipating the festival for weeks, arrangements were in place to be onsite around 3pm giving plenty of time to settle in and take in the energy the festival was providing. Spending time to have a beer, catching up with with old friends and enjoying a tonne of banter keeping the adrenaline flowing. Today was a massive day for the band, the last time they played the festival Mark 'Raggie' Slack was the front man and sadly as most people know Raggie passed away in 2015 so this was to be a celebration and remembrance of an immense person on what was his home turf. Rainbow Rising were scheduled for an 8.15pm slot on the rightly named 'Raggie Stage', Cocked N Loaded's fine performance was going down a storm setting the stage for Rainbow Rising up nicely, when finished we witness a flurry of activity whilst equipment is swapped out as little time was available before Judy Garland would be announcing the bands entrance. Thanks to the tremendous set up and organisation at the festival the set was quickly readied - a quick rendition of Deep Purple's Burn was used as the soundcheck which really revved the crowd up - and OMG
"what a turnout"
You could feel the electricity - the marquee was pretty much rammed (bloody warm too), Judy Garland was on hand for the intro then to the delight of the crowd the lads ripped into a furious version of Kill The King. A thumping rendition of Man On The Silver Mountain followed and as on the 'On Stage' album the end of the track things mellowed out to a bit of Blues courtesy of Pete, Andy and Baz. I Surrender and Stone Cold followed but the song that people were waiting to hear was of course "Catch The Rainbow".
Wayne took time out to announce the song in remembrance of Raggie, informing people who did not know that they were performing on the stage dedicated to his memory and how much he is missed by all those who had the honour of knowing him. The song with Barry's Stratocaster guitar solo literally singing began perfectly then flowed gently through rising to it's crescendo. Wayne with tremendous style and composure performed the song with grace and power - drawing in the crowd and calling on them to join in a bit of audience participation. Many could be seen openly crying as the emotion of the occasion overwhelmed them - a very fitting tribute to a very special person.
The band went on to a powerful finish with three tacks - 16th Century Greensleeves, the iconic Stargazer and to cap it all the blistering Light In The Black. Time was up, the band were out of time and left the stage quite rightly to screams of appreciation for what had been the performance of a lifetime and many have stated the performance of the Festival. Raggie would have been so proud.
Rock & Bike Fest – South Normanton15/07/2017
** Kill The King **
** Man On The Silver Mountain **
** Blues **
* I Surrender *
* Stone Cold *
** Catch The Rainbow **
* 16th Century Greensleeves *
* Stargazer *
* Light In The Black *
Below a just two of literally hundreds of comments posted on social media.
"The guys from Rainbow Rising at the peak of their deeply emotional tribute to Raggie. You could feel the electricity in the air....A moment in time that is now etched into the hearts of those who witnessed it, and I'm certain will become a legendary episode in Rock & Bike history. It was humbling to witness these lads honouring their friend, a true musician being saluted through music".
Stephen John Evans
"Just back from the Rock N Bike Fest - it was truly humbling and mind blowing playing to a jam packed Raggie Stage and I'm not ashamed to admit I wiped a tear or 2 during Wayne's dedication of Catch The Rainbow to our former frontman Mark "Raggie" Slack who tragically passed away in March 2015. It was great to see so many friends again and on behalf of Rainbow Rising I wish to convey a massive thanks to Rabf Ben, Tina Ruffin and all the RABF team, all the bands and everyone who came to the festival for making it such a special occasion.....can't wait to return soon enough"