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Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist had played folk music since 1997

Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore has played his first rock gig since turning his back on rock music in 1997.

Blackmore played a 13-song set at Germany’s Monsters Of Rock festival in Loreley on Friday and Bietghiem-Bissingen on Saturday.

Since 1997, Blackmore has played traditional-style baroque folk music with Blackmore’s Night, the duo he formed with his partner Candice Knight. He rejected playing traditional venues to perform in small clubs.

His return to rock music is under the name Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. The new line-up features Lords Of Black singer Ronnie Romero, Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson plus Blackmore’s Night pair David Keith on drums and bassist Bob Nouveau.

Their set at Monsters Of Rock was divided between six Deep Purple songs including ‘Smoke On The Water’ and six by Rainbow, such as ‘Spotlight Kid’ as well as a cover of Journey’s Since You Been Gone.

Blackmore founded Deep Purple in 1968, releasing influential album ‘In Rock’ in 1970, before quitting in 1975 to form Rainbow. They released eight albums before Blackmore formed Blackmore’s Night.

Deep Purple invited Blackmore to rejoin the band in 2015 when they were inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Coverdale and bassist Glenn Hughes said they would play a song in the folk style of Blackmore’s Night, but the guitarist rejected the invitation.