Ritchie Blackmore heralds return to electric guitar with shows celebrating Rainbow and Deep Purple

It's been a long time since we've seen Ritchie Blackmore wringing fiery riffage from his iconic Strat, but the announcement of three European dates - including one UK arena show - signals a return to rock for the legendary Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist.

Blackmore, who has spent the past 20 years focusing on renaissance folk project Blackmore's Night with wife Candice Night, will play the Birmingham Genting Arena as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow on 25 June 2016, as well as two other European dates, celebrating the music of his former bands.

On the shows, Blackmore says: "I just felt like playing some rock 'n' roll for a few days, of just playing the old rock stuff, Purple stuff and Rainbow.

"I'm doing it for the fans, for nostalgia, and the singer I found is very exciting; he's a cross between Ronnie James Dio meets Freddie Mercury. So this will mean exposing a new singer to the masses, and I'm sure he'll become pretty famous because of his voice."

The full band line-up will be announced on 4 November; tickets for Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow at the Birmingham Genting Arena go on sale at 10am on 6 November.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.