HRH V opens TOMORROW with Tequila Mockingbyrd, Dante Fox, Bonafide and The Quireboys kicking things off in fine style. But to get you in the mood here’s a look back at Graham Bonnet’s brilliant 2014 set.
Former Deep Purple and Alcatrazz frontman Graham Bonnet went into HRH AOR2 under serious pressure to prove he still has the chops to perform at this level. And if his own frequent admissions that he may not be up to the job – most notably prior to a barnstorming version of Stargazer – hardly filled the audience with confidence, one of rock’s most defining voices screamed otherwise.
Vocally Bonnet was a revelation. Plundering Purple’s Down To Earth – the record Richie Blackmore wrote specifically for a singer capable of adding a commercial sheen to his hard rock riffs – the flamboyant frontman squeezed every last note from his veteran pipes.
Rolling out Since You Been Gone early doors was a gamble and it almost failed. The mini exodus after Bonnet-era Rainbow’s biggest hit must have caused the odd nerve to jangle on stage but those who did leave missed stunning versions of Bad Girl and Makin’ Love.
A rousing Catch The Rainbow owed much to some sensational axe work but the singalong hit of the night was undoubtedly Lost In Hollywood. All Night Long provided the fitting finale – on this evidence Hard Rock Hell masses could have lapped up Bonnet for the rest of the evening…and beyond.
HRH II, Camp HRH, March 2014