The night kicked off with the support band – Revellion, or rather a pair of musicians from the band. They introduced themselves as wynndebagge (Bagpipes and more) & skynntite (drums and more). They played various medieval instruments, but were as much of a stand-up comedy routine as they were musicians, with their banter between tunes keeping the crowd entertained.
After an interval the main act came on – Blackmore’s night, the band fronted by former Rainbow/Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his wife Candice Night.
They took to the stage to the sound of “Do You Hear the People Sing?”, from Les Miserables, before starting off with ‘Locked within the Crystal ball’.
If you’ve never heard anything by Blackmore’s Night before then it’s an interesting mix of medieval folk music and rock. Vocals and various woodwind instruments are by Candice Night who has a beautiful voice, while Ritche plays electric guitar and pretty much every medieval stringed instrument you can think of, including the Hurdy Gurdy. They are backed by a talented band who play drums, keyboards, bass, guitar, more stringed instruments, violin and various pipes or flutes. It’s an impressive selection of instruments and this helps give the music a really rich feel.
It’s not long into the set before Candice reminds the audience that Ritchie used to be in other bands before Blackmore’s Night, and they play a Deep Purple song – Soldier of Fortune. As the show goes on, we get stories from Candice between songs, usually prompted by Ritchie’s instructions which led to Candice commenting it felt like a ventriloquism show. At one point Ritchie told Candice to ask for audience requests as to what song they wanted to hear next, and after a few suggestions she added that the way it works is we suggest what we want to hear then Ritchie plays what he wanted to play anyway.
It’s a very friendly atmosphere at their shows, and the first few rows of the theatre are reserved for fans who have come in medieval costume. There’s plenty of laughing and joking from the band too.
I really enjoyed the show. I only know their latest album (Dancer and the moon), so didn’t know much of their material, but after tonight I’ll certainly be getting a few more of their albums. I was surprised that they didn’t play ‘Temple of the king’, the Rainbow classic that they covered on the new album, adn disappointed that they didn’t play their tribute to Jon Lord – ‘Carry on… Jon’ but apart from that it really was a great setlist. When the show finally ended I was quite surprised to see the time – they’d played for almost two and a half hours. It certainly didn’t feel that long which pretty much proves that time flies when you’re having fun.
Locked Within the Crystal Ball
Play Minstrel Play
Under a Violet Moon
Soldier of Fortune
World of Stone
Durch den Wald zum Bach Haus (inc Violin Solo)
(Nordman cover) (Including Ritchie Strat Solo)
Diamonds & Rust (Joan Baez cover)
All the Fun of the Fayre
Toast to Tomorrow
Home Again (with Drinking Song break)
The Clock Ticks On
Fires at Midnight
Mid Winter’s Night