On February 15th 2020 and after 14 / 15 years of service Barry Sharples performed his last gig at what has become a spiritual home of the band at The Diamond in Sutton-in-Ashfield. Barry had decided to call it a day a couple of years ago but the band and friends managed to talk him around however aches and pains of not getting any younger, work commitments and more importantly the quality of life with his wife Angela and family concluded in his decision at the end of 2019. This time nobody tried to talk him around, respected his decision and after a short pause for thought decided to continue and complete the almost impossible task of sourcing a replacement.
Many people have asked why i do what i do and the answer is simple. Try and put a price tag next to listening to a band that transport you back in time to relive some of your happiest memories. That is what happened the first time i saw Rainbow Rising and Barry Sharples at The Witchwood in 2005. It is without doubt that Baz is the nearest thing to Ritchie Blackmore you're going to find and in my opinion I can't tell the difference. It's not his craftsmanship, faithfulness or drive that allows him to recreate the unmistakable Blackmore sound - you only get that when you feel the sound and that is what separates Barry from the rest.
This article would not be complete if i didn't mention his life's soulmate and wife since the dawn of time Angie. Angela has been with him every step of the way. She's shared the good times and the bad, pitches in when needed and can always be found at the front gently rocking out and if your in luck she'll be donning her Daisy Dukes. Barry is a true friend to all but doesn't suffer fools. He's passionately loyal to those he cares about and although a bit scary in dark places is a gentle giant on the sly. He puts his all into everything he does and if he says he's going to do it he does it. We will see Baz and Angie at some point on our travels and with luck he will join the guys on stage for a bit of a jam but in the meantime on behalf of everyone involved with Rainbow Rising both past and present we hope you enjoy sailing away on your ship of wonder.