Joe Lynn Turner -
The Iridium, New York City, New York, USA, Saturday, April 22nd 2017.
Set List: Death Alley Driver/I Surrender/Power/Street Of Dreams/Jealous Love/Spotlight Kid/Stone Cold/Spanish Castle Magic/Blood Money/Dreaming (Tell Me)/Perfect Strangers/Long Live Rock And Roll/Rising Force/Highway Star.
Deep Purple, Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen are only some of the bands Joe Lynn Turner has fronted. Mostly known as the voice of Rainbow during the 1980s; his soulful voice is heard on the band’s Straight between the Eyes album. His Italian good looks were seen in endless rotation music videos on MTV.
Turner, mostly, performs solo these days with an assortment of talented musicians. He has proven to still hold his own as a front man and his voice is as strong and crystal clear as ever. Turner recently played The Iridium; a prime venue in New York City. I have watched many performers at the venue and had my first big interview here with Rik Emmet. Tonight it was Joe Lynn Turner performing the first of two nights.
Opening with Turner belting out ‘Death Alley Driver’; the first track on the ‘Straight Between The Eyes album’. Turner then followed closely with Russ Ballard’s ‘I Surrender’ from Rainbow’s Difficult To Cure. The song was one of Rainbow’s top grossing singles. Former Rainbow vocalist Graham Bonnet recorded an early version before being replaced by Turner who was able to sing over the existing track in the designated higher key.
Returning to the album that made Turner famous, he chose several popular songs from Rainbow’s commercially successful ‘’Straight Between The Eyes’, ‘Power’ - a classic pop induced upbeat number which then led into the MTV darling ‘Street of Dreams’, and of course. ‘Stone Cold’. Turner, not waving in his popularity succeeded in pleasing the audience who were obviously ecstatic with the familiar set list.
Turner gave us one more from ‘Difficult To Cure’; he explained the back story of ‘Jealous Lover’ detailing the trials of a failing relationship. His bluesy vocals blasted through the song as he always did when his bluesy vocals accompanied Ritchie Blackmore’s riffs.
Turner proceeded to mesmerize the Iridium crowd with a rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Spanish Castle Magic’ which happens to be my favorite Hendrix tune. Turner nailed it; guitarist Angus Clark’s nimble fingers racing along the fretboard a la Hendrix style with a combination of technique and finesse.
Joe Lynn Turner then entered his Yngwie Malmsteen phase, having been one of the several who fronted the particular Malmsteen’s bands throughout the decades. ‘Rising Force’ and ‘Dreaming’ satisfied the Malmsteen fans in this evening’s crowd. Turner, himself, brought up a few thoughts and memories from those bygone days.
There was another tribute, this evening; this one to a fallen rock veteran, who also graced the Rainbow stages. The vocalist in question was Ronnie James Dio; one cannot be a music fan without acknowledging Dio as a rock music legend. Turner uttered kind words to Dio’s memory before magically handling ‘Long Live Rock And Roll’. His tribute to one of the biggest voices of rock was superb.
After the required break before the encore, the band came back to play one more Deep Purple Masterpiece and they chose a good one – ‘Perfect Strangers’ with bassist Rob Demartino perfectly channelling Roger Glover’s thumping pulse and Turner singing his best Ian Gillan .
I have watched Joe Lynn Turner perform with Rainbow during the 1980s. He was a different style vocalist than what I was used to with this band, but, he added a sultry, sexy blues feel. Nothing has not changed in the ongoing years. He voice still has the melodic power and as a showman, he has not missed a beat.
By Dawn Belotti