Deep Purple , Darker Than Blue magazine logo
AN EDITOR REMEMBERS...   Issue 52  December 1999

Darker Than Blue, the Deep Purple Appreciation Society magazineLo and behold, in the second bumper issue of 1999 we were able to feature a great cover with images (courtesy of fans who had been able to sneak cameras in) from the 30th Anniversary of The Concerto do at the Albert Hall, surely one of the most exciting events of the band's long career. Plus we'd got our act together sufficiently to tie in our second DPAS convention in London on the same weekend (the famous convention quiz was reprinted, alongside the answers for anyone who wanted to have another go). And we mislaid our tickets for the show in all the turmoil, and only just managed to get replacements printed out in time for us to get to our seats as the lights dimmed. It was a great time to be a Deep Purple fan, and the Albert Hall shows will remain fondly remembered by just about everyone who attended I'm sure. The magazine perhaps understandably went over the top to report the weekend in minute detail, from the first reports that it would be happening, through pictures of the souvenir plectrums Glover was chucking out, to two pages of reprinted reviews from the first show back in 1969. Astonishingly, the fan-club had to agonise over sending out news of the show with issue 51. Nobody from the management would confirm it, even though the hall had been booked, and it was made clear we'd not be popular if we jumped the gun. On the other hand if we didn't let our subscribers know... well I'd have been pretty pissed off not to have been warned. So we did a flyer which gave as much away as we dare, and from then on a circle of fans just kept up the pressure on the box office in shifts, so we could all be sure of good seats. In the end they put the tickets on sale on a Sunday afternoon!

Away from these fun and games, there was lots more to cover - Paicey working with Paul McCartney, Glover's new solo LP, and loads beside. Away from the magazine itself I had some thirty CD packages to start work on over the next twelve months, both from the Deep Purple family and other artists. Talking of work, we also had the builders in to start on our new place, ripping out thirty year old rotting fake georgian windows amongst other things. Never one to take the easy option, we'd gone for floor to ceiling bespoke wooden windows, so in effect the entire front of the house was open to the elements for a time, with me relegated to a draughty back-room for the duration. Amazingly, as I type this, the same crew are back on site nearly a decade later knocking the other side of the house apart and putting us into debt for the next ten years! Purple Records was also getting under way, with several new titles, and plans to remix the December 75 Japan tapes properly, which was previewed in detail. Overall the page count was down slightly, but then that's the flip side of issuing more magazines. I'm not sure it was wise to trail the second Blackmores Night CD with the heading "grab your broomsticks" on the cover of the magazine either, but it still makes me smile! And after all the stick I'd got over our less than frothing review of Stranger In Us All, the man in black had just admitted that it was one of the most boring things he'd ever done. You can't win can you?!



RECORD REVIEW : Total Abandon - Live In Australia


VIDEO REVIEW : A Band Down Under


NEWS : 1999 Tour News


LIVE REVIEW : Gelsenkirchen


NEWS : Concerto For Group & Orchestra 1999


LIVE REVIEW : Royal Albert Hall, London


NEWS : Solo Album


NEWS : Dixie Dregs & Steve Morse Band


NEWS : 1999 German Tour Report


NEWS : Paul McCartney Album


NEWS : Touring & Recording


VIDEO REVIEW : 97-98 German Castle Tour


RECORD REVIEW : Under A Violet Moon


Total Abandon - Album Review

DEEP PURPLE TOTAL ABANDON - LIVE IN AUSTRALIA '99 UK pressed Mail order edition : DPTA 20 4 99 : July 1999 2CD Australian pressed 2nd edition : 9 327066 000029 : Aug 1999 2CD

Deep Purple, Total Abandon CoverPreviewed last issue. I have to say that although like everyone else we were cheesed off by the running order, when you actually get to hear the sound, this release really does have more going for it than one might imagine. The sheer power of the band is captured more fully here than it has been since, well at least "Come Hell Or High Water. I stuck it on expecting just to play a couple of tracks, and got well and truly dragged into it. As we feared though, the unexciting set-list kind of took the edge off this for a lot of hardcore fans.

DPAS man Drew Thompson was the guy who got it all together, gaining permission to record the show and get it released. It was more or less tough luck that for whatever perverse reason, the band decided to cut the set back (even more bizarre given that on one or two of the end of tour pub gigs they did in Australia, some of the missing songs were back in!). With a large investment in the recording costs, they were more or less left in the lap of the gods. At the end of the day, "Total Abandon" succeeds through sheer power and enthusiasm, and it's a nice souvenir of the Australian tour, but will still leave a lot of fans hunting out earlier tour bootlegs to get the missing tracks, which kind of defeats the object, as Martin Ashberry pointed out. "It sounds pretty damn good to these cloth ears; yep Gillan struggles towards the end, and the tracklisting is about half as good as it has been elsewhere on the tour, but in terms of audio and actual energy level, ifs damn good. It's just that compared to say Berlin Velodrome (June 22nd 1998) where they performed SEVEN "Abandon" tracks, it all seems a bit too 'greatest hits' for my liking.." The first CD edition was rushed through to get copies ready for the last few weeks of the tour. Due to a mix up (ahem), "Smoke" ended up opening side two. The second edition was done soon after, and corrected this mistake. In addition, the two discs had the cover image on in colour. There is no catalogue number as such, just a barcode on the back. The 12 page colour booklet has shots mainly from the Australian shows, taken by Mick Gregory, who used to do most of the Gillan band photography (and was flown out specially to cover the shows), plus a couple from the Polish fanclub and "other sources".

A Band Down Under - Video Review

The (VHS only) video was finished in July as a follow-up to the Total Abandon Australia 99 show, aimed at fans and collectors. The plan was to make copies available from merchandise stalls during tours, and exclusively via the cyberstore within the official website. Drew kindly sent us a review copy, and we sat through and enjoyed the entire tape. They've employed a scrapbook approach, throwing in loads of off-stage clips and Australian TV slots, plus some filmed interview material which it would take you forever to obtain through trading clips with other fans, and in fairly pristine quality too.

We get a full version of "Seventh Heaven" from a 1998 House Of Blues show filmed and shown on MTV. The camera work is basic, the sound is OK - though weedy at the percussion end - and it's an enjoyable sequence, benifiting from the more intimate atmosphere of the venue. Next, the Australian TV ad for the 99 tour, nice bit of scene setting, followed by two more House Of Blues songs - "Into The Fire" and "When A Blind Man Cries". The video ends hack at the Hey Hey It's Saturday TV show. There are clips of the band rehearsing, with Bruce Payne on hand, and even a sublime easy listening version of the "Smoke" riff from Jon. This leads into the actual show, which has to be one of the more off the wall broadcasts - the producers linked up studios full of amateur and semi-pro guitar players all over Australia, who proceed to play along with Purple on "Smoke" - the sound being faded in and out from the different locations (mercifully not that often!). The broadcast also featured the band playing 'Black Night' live in the studio but that's not here. Strange to hear them rehearsing 'Evil Louie' on the vid. A neat little backstage clip of the band losing Bruce Payne ends the video, which runs for something like and hour and a quarter.

Touring in 1999 - News
Deep Purple 1999

"If you're in the right city, are we in the right city?'' (Ian Gillan to the crowd in Neumarkt, June 1998!) Yes, it's been a long long tour, possibly the longest they've ever done. Apart from the regular Australian tour dates, Purple did what is euphemistically described as a "pub gig" in Melbourne at the Palace on April 27th, which turns out to be bigger than most UK town halls! They also did an extra Sydney show at Selina's. another large pub venue, on April 25th. The Malaysian show in Kuala Lumpur at the Shah Alam Stadium on May 1st was only around half full according to DPAS man Tommy Lee Tee Sun -who reckons they would've been better playing Denang as it's a much more industrial area, and most of the fans would find it hard to get time off work to travel the 600 km to Kuala Lumur and back... Promoters creamed off some extra cash by placing seats in front of the stage and charging extra for them. The set though was again rejigged, with "Bloodsucker" dropped and the middle order changed about.

The June 1999 German shows were revamped a little (whether because of grumbles about the Australia shows or just to keep themselves fresh I don't know), and as well as the locals, quite a few UK fans took the chance to catch the band again - seeing as they weren't doing a couple of shows back home! People I was in touch with during this leg of the tour said they felt that while the set wasn't quite so adventurous as last year, musically it all come together on these final shows. The basic track list was as follows: Pictures Of Home, Ted The Mechanic, Strange Kind Of Woman, Bloodsucker, 69, Woman From To-kyo, Sometimes I feel Like Screaming, Watching The Sky, Space Truckin', Guitar solo, Lazy. Smoke On The Water, Keyboard solo, Perfect Strangers, Speed King, The encores: Seventh Heaven, Highway Star... though there were of course variations from time to time. The band introduced "69" into the set as a new one, mainly to provide a vehicle for improvising around in true 1969 fashion. They opened many of the shows with a couple of verses of "The Boys Are Back In Town" before blasting into "Pictures Of Home", which they've opened up a lot, just keeping the start and finish as we know and love it from the album. In the middle section, well they just go for it! The German visit was initially to take in several outdoor events. To make the tour more viable, in between days were booked up around these bigger gigs.

Morse's juke-box selection, which had begun in a small way early in the tour, began to dominate the mid-dle of the show, with lengthy versions of "Communication Breakdown", "Voodoo Chile". "Iron Man", Start Me Up" and "You Really Got Me" threatening to make Purple sound like a covers band! The others were able to have a word and this feature has now been cut back. The tour finally closed with a one-off show in South Korea at the Triport Rock Festival on July 31st. The band did the gig (which went down well) and managed to get out just a few hours before the monsoons struck - otherwise they'd probably still be there! It's as well they managed to finish the tour, as it allowed Jon time to get his head into gear for the Concerto weekend which was getting ever closer. While he did this, Steve Morse booked some Dixie Dregs shows in August - talk of a bus-man's holiday!

Gelsenkirchen, 16th June 1999 - Live Review

"Tonight everyone is really letting rip, Gillan spying a guy urinating off the back of the amphitheatre wall and pointing at him with one hand, playing congas with the other and still managing to sing along to "Bloodsucker" whilst the rest of us merely giggle, the oblivious weak-bladdered individual finally realising and running off, clearly shaken by the humiliation! Jon spends much of the set jumping from his keyboard riser to wave at the barges floating by on the canal, whilst Steve shreds away, his tone noticeably less harsh than the previous leg of the tour. '69 is much tighter tonight, fluid and laden with dynamics. When they kick back in after the middle section, the whole place erupts, the energy spilling out big-time and the crowd are going crazy. Before we know it, they are into the crushingly heavy "Watching The Sky", the addition of a chorus effect to Gillan's voice punching through the now honed backing and really sounding every inch a Purple classic. Regardless of peoples' opinions on the album (and it took me quite a few listens before it clicked) this track hits the spot. "Space Truckin" again sees the whole venue shaking as the riff reverberates around the place, played true to the original again and sounding all the better for being at the right speed, rather than the perfunctory feel in 1993.

The tail end of the set has come and gone before my winking eye, and they're back almost immediately to almost deafening applause, thundering into Black Night and the hotrod introduced Highway Star." Martin Ashberry

Concerto For Group & Orchestra 1999 - News

Around 15 hours of rehearsal time with the Orchestra were booked, and the idea originally was to record all this as the basis for a good studio recording of the event, but then they decided to tape and film the show. Initially the band went through their paces in one place, the orchestra elsewhere (the Scottish Orchestra originally booked had been forced to pull out hence the LSO). Only on the Friday morning did they come together for the first full rehearsal. This way, neither side held the other up. Even so the orchestrations for the extra parts of the set were very late in getting finished, and those for "Smoke" didn't arrive until Thursday. Conductor Paul Mann worked late into the night (as he did throughout the week) sorting these out and correcting them (with scissors and a Pritt stick!), and the orchestra had to sight read the results on Friday morning.

Paul kept in touch before and after the shows. In fact we'd spoken several years ago, when (then living in Manchester) he first contacted us looking for the "Concerto" score. Paul remembered hearing the album when he was very small, and as he moved into orchestral work, his love of the piece crystallised into a desire to see it performed again. The other key player in all this was DPAS member Marco de Goeij, himself a composer, who got in touch two years back to say he'd been working on the idea of creating a new score by listening to the album and writing it all out by hand. We passed this news on to Jon (I don't know if he ever got it!), and Marco was able to make his way backstage at a Purple show to discuss the idea with Jon in more detail. When he'd finished the work, it at least gave Jon the basis for restaging the work, and with the anniversary looming up plans were set in motion to do just that. Paul Mann, by now a full time conductor, was the obvious person to oversee the event, something of a dream come true for him.

Marco and Jon met up to plough through the transcribed score, and to iron out sections which had caused problems - mostly those moments when the recording obscured what was happening, or the passages when the orchestra got it so wrong Marco couldn't decide exactly what should be happening! (In passing, I was a little surprised not to see Marco at least introduced on the night...). From there Jon decided to revise a few sections to help it flow better, although he didn't want to detract from the original work too much. Paul for his part wanted to ensure that the London Symphony Orchestra did the "Concerto" justice, fully aware of the often prejudiced attitude of classical musicians thirty years ago. An awful lot has changed since then, and the LSO has taken part in a number of projects involving pop and rock musicians in recent years (that things would be different was obvious as the orchestra began tuning up on Saturday and one of them sneaked in the "Smoke" riff to the amusement nearby players. After the full Friday rehearsal, further rehearsals took place during Saturday to make sure everything was working properly prior to the first performance that evening. we drove down on the Saturday.

Royal Albert Hall, 25/26th September 1999 - Live Review

To give ourselves a bit of variety we bought seats in the horseshoe of stalls for the first night, and the central arena next night. This enabled us to have an excellent view right across the stage, to watch all the proceeding. Sadly it also meant we also had to watch a few idots (left overs from a Hawkwind show in 1970 by the looks of them!) who proceeded to trapse up and down the access steps all evening, seemingly oblivious to the fact that there was anything happening on stage. I was really annoyed that the security - who were all too ready to pounce on people taking pictures - didn't do anything to stop them. This general lack of interest in some sections of the hall manifested itself later on when a party of drunken prats in one of the boxes began to make themselves heard during quiet sections, calling for a certain guitarist or "Highway Star", and refused to shut up. Poor old Jon, who was already a nervous wreck, managed to come to the microphone and ask for some hush, but it did mar the event to some extent. Charlie Lewis, one of the band crew, hunted them down, gave them their ticket money back and told them to "leave."

Deep Purple. Albert Hall 1999Nevertheless the show itself was a marvel of organisation. The proceedings began promptly with a short piece by Malcolm Arnold, done as a tribute to the original conductor. Sadly Arnold isn't a well man these days, and was unable to accept an invitation to attend in person, so it was a nice gesture. This led on to the guest section, solo pieces by all five members of the band. Early ideas to have Morse play a piece alongside Vai and Satriani had to be dropped, and even the strongly tipped George Harrison and Dave Gilmour failed to make it on stage. (Harrison did see the show on Saturday, but the idea of having him guest during "Love Is All" had to be ditched when they ran out of rehearsal time). Jon Lord kicked it all off with two songs from his recent "Pictured Within" album. With backing from the LSO, Miller Anderson stepped out to sing the title track, after which Sam Brown stepped down from her role with the backing singers stage right to sing "Wait A While", which left many people spell bound (and others quite choked up).

Roger Glover took over for two "Butterfly Ball" tracks. Ronnie Dio received a huge and genuinely warm welcome from the crowd. He sang really well, and sounded and looked very like he did in those classic Rainbow days. The pace was kept up by Ian Gillan who strode on to kick into the excellent "Accidentally On Purpose" highlight "Via Miami". A five piece brass section gave the Memphis slant it needed, and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. He followed up with "That's Why God Is Singing The Blues" from the "Dreamcatcher" CD. Ian told me beforehand it was deliberately chosen to mellow things down a little. Steve Morse stepped up next, with The Steve Morse Band, to do two instrumentals. I have to confess "Night Meets Light" went about a foot above my head for the most part. The second show, it came down about ten inches, and I began to understand what he was doing. One for the hard core musos I feel. "Take It Off The Top", the theme song to the Friday Rock Show for years, turned things around and was well received. We'd been promised a jazz version of "Wring That Neck" from Ian Paice but this had to be heard to be believed. The five piece brass section returned, and Paicey swung into it with barely restrained power. It was great to see the percussionists from the LSO craning to see him in action!

Break-time was followed by the biggie, namely the reworked "Concerto". This was an amazing piece to witness, and at times you could begin to get a feel for what it must have been like to have been in the audience thirty years ago. The whole piece was 100 times more polished, and as a result the music itself came across properly. The sheer professionalism of all concerned was very impressive, and the band sections struck home with just the requisite amount of power. The applause at the end was deafening, I really thought the roof was going to come off, and I've never seen a reception quite like it at a show before. Everyone on stage seemed genuinely chuffed by the audience's response.

This alone would have made for a hugely impressive evening, but there was also a Deep Purple band section to close off the show. Over five songs the band stamped their own seal on the proceedings in no uncertain manner. "Ted The Mechanic", "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" and "Watching The Sky" - oozed class, as the group, free from the worries of the "Concerto", loosened up and did what they do best. The backing from the orchestra was both sympathetic and supportive, adding a power new dimension to the material. They closed off the evening with an amazing finale, a full orchestral version of "Smoke" with the entire cast all taking part along with most of the audience. It proved a joyous way to bow out, with the sheer power of so many musicians hooked up to the grid blowing the crowd away. And few will ever forget twin vocalists Gillan and Dio swopping verses - I never thought we'd see the day.

The second show followed a similar pattern. Comparing the two, it was slightly more polished, a tad less nervy I thought, and every bit as good. Everyone dressed just a little bit smarter (Ian Gillan ditched the gold suit!), mindful of the camera and it went off largely without a hitch. The morons who had tried to disrupt the first night were mostly absent, and little adjustments were made to avoid disruption, Ian for examle came on for all the second movement - on the first night his arrival midway prompted cheering. The general view was that it was the better of the two shows and I'd not argue.


Solo Album - News

Roger has, as mentioned a couple of issues ago, been working on his next solo album, the first since "The Mask" way back in 1984! He's laid down sev-eral tracks - known titles are "What You Don't Say", "Thinking 'Bout Nothing Else", "Burn Me Up Slowly", "It Could've Been Me" and "My Turn" - and if all goes well hopes to get it finished by the end of 1999 for an early 2000 release. Helping him on the recording have been Eran Tabib (guitar), Randall Bramlett (on vocals, sax and keyboards) and Joe Bonadio (drums, percussion).


Steve Morse Band & Dixie Dregs - News

Steve Morse both warmed up and wound down from the Concerto extravaganza by playing some Dixie Dregs shows in late August (of which the three nights from Aug 26 - 28th, 1999 at the Roxy Theatre, Hollywood, CA were recorded live, to be released on Zebra Records on Jan 11th. He then did eight or so shows in mid October with The Steve Morse Band! Lane Miller caught one of these in Salem, North Carolina on the 15th. "Ziggy's is a nice small tavern, with several hundred people in attendance. Steve told us that this was where he first met Roger Glover and as a result got the invitation to join Deep Purple. There were a lot of guitarists there to see the god of the guitar perform miracles. Steve just cranked for two hours straight. Being a hacker on the guitar, I can't fathom how in the world the man does what he does. After the gig Steve came out to chat, and spoke enthusiastically about the Concerto. I handed him my RAH ticket to be autographed. He looked at me in shock asking if I had really been there!"


1999 German Tour - News

Jon Lord 1999Jon Lord 's short May tour opened in Luxembourg. Tentative plans fo couple of shows in the UK never came to fruition, he preferred to concentrate on the Concerto instead. The basic set list Jon's solo gigs ran as follows: "Sunrise", "Pictured Within", "From The Windmill", "Evening Song", "Sarabande", "Crystal Spa", "Breathe In Life" (A Sam Brown song), "Before I Forget", then a piece by the string quartet, "Where Are You" (from Before I Forget), "Music For Miriam ", "Wait A While", "Gigue" (also from Sarabande), "Stop" (title track of a Sam Brown CD) and "Bouree, the closer, from Sarabande.

The show was largely based on the new album, hardly a surprise, and was divided into two halves with an intermission. The first half of the show was designed to reflect the introspecive nature of the current CD, while the second half was a little more uptempo. Jon acted as Mein Host, a job he's not really done since PAL days (or when he used to introduce the new boys back in I974!). The cancellation of the first set of dates at short notice left problems, as Pete York had already rescheduled his own work to enable him to do the Lord shot, and was thus unable to take part when things were moved around at short notice. At one show the promoter organised a couple of belly dancers to come on during "Bouree", so if the music kind of falls apart on tapes of that particular show you'll know why!


Paul McCartney 'Run Devil Run' - News

Ian Paice drums on the new Paul McCartney album "Run Devil Run", a collection of old rock and roll stuff with a couple of new songs on it. The musi-cians just linked up for about a week back in March. Paicey is on the majority of the tracks, 13 out of 15, the other two feature Dave Mattacks (late of Fairport Convention).

Ian Paice readily agreed to the session, though curiously he and Macca have never met before. The project as a whole reminded me of Ian Gillan's Javelins project of a few years ago - except they did it as amateur players with Ian singing. There is something a little overblown about the way Paul's CD has been pushed, indeed the whole package is a little self important. Paicey has been all over helping Paul McCartney promote the CD. A charity bash in Hollywood in aid of animal protection (Sept. 18th at Paramount Studios), with David Gilmour also playing (broadcast on VH1 in America in October). Ian and Dave then joined Paul for a spot on Jools Holland's show "Later" on BBC2, Sat. 6th November. Trust me, I taped the previous week to catch Jeff Beck but missed Paicey! I make no excuses for missing his other UK slot, on the National Lottery show. Surely Macca can't need the dosh that bad? There was also a pre-recorded Parkinson Show special on which the band guested.

"Ian Paice was invited to join Paul McCartney at Studio 2, Abbey Road. London. to cut some old fifties rockers in March 1999, released later in the year as "Run Devil Run". The core line-up was made up of David Gilmour [Pink Floyd] and Mick Green [The Pirates] on guitars with Paul McCartney and Ian Paice. Other musicians included Pete Wingfield, Geraint Watkins and Chris Hall on keyboards and Dave Mattacks on drums and percussion. The outcome is a sequel to his 'Russian' album ["Choba B CCCP' I. Paul's selection of songs that he remembered with great affection, a real back-to-his-youth job. Worked out on the spot, with Paul just turning up with handwritten lyrics, the idea was to capture the performances fresh in one or two takes. Mick Green was also on the 'Russian' album and seems to take the lion's share of the guitar solos here over Gilmour. Paul is also credited with guitar as well as bass on some tracks. Overall, "Run Devil Run" is very much McCartney's album. The effect though is of a solid, professional band. Given the scarcity of Paice sessions though, this is probably a must-have for Paice fans." Nigel Young


Touring & Recording - News

The new Blackmore's Night CD came out in Japan via Pony Canyon on April 21st 1999, Germany and the rest of European on May 27th, the UK (and South America!) June 17th, with US (Platinum Entertainment) slated for a month later. The German sales were really hot too, shipping out something like 60,000 copies.

Ritchie Blackmore 1999Thomas Max writes to tell us he was one of the lucky 100 people who saw Blackmore's Night playing a special show in Schloss Eggersberg last year. "The sound was good, the guitar playing great, the singing - well it was there (more or less). The man had some fantastic moments when he played a little flamenco style guitar and the atmosphere of the castle seemed to fit very well. A lot of people turned up in medieval clothes - or what they thought were such. He had a dancer with them who did a Kate Bush-like elf dance. When I saw them before in Stuttgart they played "Man On A Silver Mountain", "Black Night" and "Street Of Dreams" and it was kind of awful, as this is by no means a rock and roll band (and sure no rock and roll singer!). Here they stuck to material off the two CDs and it made an interesting evening. Before the show there was a buffet, and after we had the chance to meet the man in his dressing room (he stayed there the night, the castle is run as a hotel), and get autographs"

In October the band did a series of low key American shows, their first proper gigs there (Oct 21nd Cleveland Odeon Theatre, Oct 22nd Columbus Newport Music Hall, Oct 23rd Chicago Vic Theatre, Oct 25th Pittsburgh Rosebud, Oct 27th Buffalo Sideshow Music Hall, Oct 29th Plainview, Long Island, NY). Audiences varied from the low hundred to up to 1,000 at the Long Island show, which was filmed and recorded (with the audience again asked to turn up in suitable costumes). The Buffalo show had a fair few people calling out for the Purple classics (although quite how Candice was supposed to cope with a request for A200 I'm not sure!), and after one shout too many for "Smoke" Ritchie sang the title into the mike in a none too serious manner and then said "We must move on."! This tour was followed by a handful of Italian shows in mid-November.

97-98 German Castle Tour - Video Review

A merchandise release, this video was put together around footage of the German 97-98 Shadow of the Moon concerts. Instead of presenting a full concert plus extras, they've gone for a mixed bag which lasts a little over an hour. "Live concert footage, behind the scenes interviews in a beautiful German castle, the backstage dressing room interviews, live acoustic footage" gushes the official Blackers website. In fact there's comparatively little in concert stuff, and the bulk of it is interviews, olde worlde Errol Flynn type jousting and such. When they do include some tracks, they've been put together from different shows.

"This is the follow up to last year's documentary release, `Behind The Music', with a very similar format, right down to the near identical sleeve. It is a mixture of live in concert electric performances, interviews with Blackmore and Night, and some acoustic off stage stuff. No dates or venues are given, but it is obvious from costumes and views of the audience that more than one show was used. The live material works well, and shows Ritchie as the talented performer he is. Candice Night's vocals suit the material, and she is well backed up by Jessie Haynes who also provides additional guitar. At times the band are joined on stage by dancers and other musicians playing traditional instruments, and it does add to the ambience of the performance. Most of the Shadow On The Moon material is performed as is "Still I'm Sad", and the intro to "Black Night", although we don't get to hear what Candice does to the vocals as the sound is faded out as she comes to the mic! Ritchie and Candice get to talk a lot about what makes the project work, and Blackmore does come across as very sincere about the whole thing. The video is expensive (about 18 quid) and although it is enjoyable two things pissed me off about it. Firstly, it is interspersed with images of mock battles and jousting. They just don't work at all, they look what they are, mock. Secondly, some of the songs start in the off stage acoustic state, and sound great stripped down, then jump to on stage versions, and back again. This just spoils the atmosphere that had been created. On the whole though, a pleasant package, and it did make me jealous that we in the UK were not given any live dates." Paul Thomas

Under A Violet Moon - Album Review

BLACKMORE'S NIGHT UNDER A VIOLET MOON Cold Harbour Recording Co PCCY 01377 : UK : June 1999

Few people seemed prepared to venture out on this one, but one of our members who listens to recordings of a lot of early tudor music decided to try and elaborate on the music for us.

"Following the usual appalled silence when friends find out that I have quite a collection of early Renaissance music, I quickly deploy my standard defence, i.e. I use it when I teach my 'A' Level class about Henry VIII. This usually satisfies them, and hides darker secret - I actually like the stuff. So it was with an interested ear that I sat down to listen to the new Blackmore's Night offering. I thought it was a very brave decision by Blackmore to try and put across a style of music that in it's original form is far different to modern sounds. Renaissance music tends to follow very different pathways tonally and is also quite formal. A lot of the music was originally written to facilitate structured courtly dances, incorporating rhythms and tempo changes which seem very awkward to modern ears. I guess that Blackmore had to choose between two routes, either recreate the sound as well as he could - as his been done by ensembles like Red Byrd, a group of modern musicians who aim to present original early music as it was written - or he could modernise the sound of the music. This approach has been well worn by groups like Clannad, Fairport Convention and even Jethro Tull. Unfortunately Blackmore also chose to go this way, laying himself open to the inherent dangers of both cliche and Blackadder style parody (the title song from the second Blackadder series is actually a clever parody of the lute songs of Thomas Campion, who lived from 1567 - 1620).

In the end much of "Violet Moon" tips its hat toward the Galliards of the Tudor court, albeit far more up tempo, and also to Irish folk music. Some of the songs, particularly "Catherine Howard's Fate", "Fools Gold" and the title track itself would be so much better without any vocals. Not because of any weaknesses in Candice's voice (which I actually like), but because most early music in that style didn't have vocals. For myself these tracks were really going somewhere before the vocals came in. The one really convincing Renaissance song "Beyond The Sunset" is actually a Tudor keyboard piece converted to the guitar. The album is overall very frustrating to listen to for me because of the modernisation of the sound. The title track ends up sounding like Clannad during their "Robin Of Sherwood" phase, while "Castles And Dreams" is pure Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Other songs conjure up entirely inappropriate images. "Gone With The Wind" starts off like "The Final Countdown" by Europe, and "Wind In The Willows" sounds like an entry for the Eurovision song contest. When Blackmore looks elsewhere for inspiration, he sadly ends up in "Riverdances" rather large foot-print. "Morning Star" and "Spanish Nights" suffer most from this, even with the Beethoven steal in the latter. My favourite tracks are those which suffer least from this attempt at modernisation. "Possum Goes To Prague", "Beyond The Sunset" and "Durch...", as well as the very pretty "Now And Then".

I really wish Blackmore had been brave enough to take the music back to something more like its original state, right down to using Tudor vocal inflections, and made the majority of the songs instrumental, taking something like the Red Byrd approach but writing his own material. As it currently stands I'm afraid the album is largely a weak pastiche of early music and other bands working in this area, most noticably Clannad. The lyrics themselves are absolutely banal when sung in modern English, but might have been acceptable using the vocal approach of the Tudor times. For all the faults though, the road Blackmore has chosen is a brave one given that most rock fans are pretty unforgiving of other musical genres." Roy Watson Davies

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Also in the magazine... Concerto For Group & Orchestra live reviews ... 1999 Australian tour reviews .... 1999 European tour reviews ....
Screaming Lord Sutrch Obituary.... How I Got Into Deep Purple .... Books & Magazines ..... Letters ... Morse, Hughes, Coverdale,
Gillan, Bolin and SImper news .... Ritchie Blackmore interview .... 1969 Concerto Press Reviews ... Butterfly Ball CD Feature .... Video News ....
Rod Evans' Believe It Or Not Page .... DPAS Convention Report .... Purple Records Latest Releases .... Deep Purple, This Time Around,
Tokyo 1975 feature ... Questions & Answers ... CD reviews .... Rainbow / Difficult To Cure feature

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