Ritchie Blackmore - a name synonymous with rock guitar since the late 60′s has played with some of the biggest bands and co-written some of the most well known rock tracks of all time.
Since 1997 he has being writing and touring with his wife Candice Night under the name ‘Blackmore’s Night’, with a musical style based around the old English folk/medieval renaissance period and with a band of troubadours that really embraces the style and period.
Indeed the setting for tonight’s event is the extremely fitting Grand Theatre, with the stage setup and decoration you could easily believe you were in a medieval forest clearing. This linked to the fact that the front 2 or so rows of the audience were dressed in various styles of medieval dress meant we were in for an extremely entertaining night.
The current tour ‘Dancer and the Moon’ is following the release of the same titled album and kicked off in the Ukraine and ends in Germany with tonight being the 2nd date of the 5 date UK section of the tour.
The evening’s entertainment began with Revellion, a collaboration of minstrels Paul Saunders (wynndebagge) and Chris Neen. With tales of old and courtly dance tunes played on a variety of period instruments including Hurdy Gurdy, English pipes, Mandola and crumhorn and plenty of audience interaction a lighthearted and jovial atmosphere was set which would continue for the entire evening.
On with the main event of the evening’s entertainment which was kicked off with a rousing version of the 14thcentury song ‘Locked in a Crystal Ball’, which featured Ritchie on Mandolin and semi-acoustic guitar and the wonderful vocals of Candice which really gave the song a timeless feel.
By the time we got to ‘Under a Violet Moon’ it was audience participation time which was dutifully taken up and to be honest we were all in fine form as well. The onstage banter between not only Ritchie and Candice but also the other members of the band continued the jovial feel in such a way that drew the audience into the entertainment rather than just feeling like you were being played to.
It was only a matter of time before a request came for a Deep Purple track and then out came the familiar Ivory coloured strat and we were treated to a brilliant version of ‘Soldier of Fortune’. The set consisted of self penned and reworked renditions of medieval songs and featured solo’s from all the musicians showing the depth of musical ability they had assembled in the current band.
There were also covers of more modern songs in the form of ‘Diamonds and Rust’ by Joan Baez. As mentioned the atmosphere of the night was lighthearted and fun, we had jokes (albeit not the best jokes), drinking songs and dancing by the audience that had taken the effort to come in medieval attire.
The overall event was extremely enjoyable, musically and visually excellent although the lights and backlights did not go as planned for the first song which I know was to Ritchie’s displeasure as he always likes to give the best show possible. Albeit slightly different from my usual musical taste I had a great time along with the rest of the audience.
Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley
Locked in a Crystal Ball ,Play Minstrel Play, Under a Violet Moon , Soldier of Fortune (Deep Purple cover), World of Stone, Durch Den Wald Zum Bachhaus inc Violin Solo, Keyboard Solo, Drum Solo, Journeyman (Nordman cover) (Including Ritchie Strat Solo) , Diamonds & Rust (Joan Baez cover), Peasant’s Promise , Renaissance Faire, All the Fun of the Fayre , Barbara Allen, Toast to Tomorrow, Home Again (with Drinking Song break), The Clock Ticks On ,Fires at Midnight , Mid Winter’s Night, Dandelion Wine
Ritchie Blackmore – Guitar, Hurdy Gurdy, Mandolin – Candice Night vocals, chanter, cornamuse, shawm, rauschpfeife, tambourine – Bard David of Larchmont (David Baranowski) keyboards – Earl Grey of Chimay (Mike Clemente) bass, mandolin, rhythm guitar - Troubadour of Aberdeen percussion (David Keith) ??, Lady Kelly De Winter
(Kelly Morris) French horn, harmony vocals – Scarlet Fiddler violin (Claire Smith)
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