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| September 30th 2011. York Opera House
"My partner and I visited this beautiful city and watched the fabulous Blackmore’s Night perform their array of medieval and renaissance music. I agree with all the reviews so far on this site, and at York Ritchie and his talented band put on a show which can only be described as amazing! It started a little on the late side, around 840 and I thought Ritchie had issues with the camera people on stage ( it was filmed for a DVD release ) but I guess this wasn’t the case. Anyway, the band played for 2 and a half hours and had to be pulled off the stage at the end.
I was particularly impressed with the inclusion of Journeyman and The Circle which included two long guitar solos from Ritchie on his Strat which I can only describe as otherworldly. The drum solo was a welcome surprise and I haven’t witnessed a drum solo live in ages…Malcolm played excellent and I should mention that Candice sang superbly and her voice and projection have improved a hell of a lot. Also, to see Ritchie enjoy himself so much was a sight to behold, in fact the whole band looked fresh and they played their hearts out to an enthusiastic sold out York audience. This band ( to my ears and eyes ) are going from strength to strength…we don’t particularly need old Rainbow or Deep Purple songs ( though we got Soldier Of Fortune )…Blackmore’s Night are what they are; a disciplined talented band playing fantastic renaissance folk rock music with the greatest rock guitarist ever ( and yes he still is! ) I can’t with for the DVD and the next album and tour."
review: Anthony Quinn
"It was for the second time in 5 years we went to see Blackmore's Night performing in the lovely town of York. The show was filmed for a dvd. There for it seemed to me that the band was little bit nervous. Even Ritchie – who is used to being filmed in front of 250.000 people (Cal Jam) – made a little mistake during his Fires at Midnight solo. We could all see that he was not very satisfied with this solo. Don’t get me wrong here; the concert was good. Ritchie is an amazing guitarist with such charisma and humor. The story goes that the theatre is haunted and Ritchie’s answer to the question of the so called ghost in the audience was really funny; ‘No, dad go home’.
The greatest star of the evening was however the little Autumn. Half way the concert she appeared on stage. A little angel getting her first standing ovation. It crossed my mind that it was done for the dvd, but it looked sincere enough to believe that it happened spontaneously.
And now we are waiting for the new dvd. Sitting 2nd row in the middle, it’s very possible that we were filmed too."
review: Johan Antonides
| October 1st 2011. Buxton Opera House
"I love Blackmore, I love all the Blackmore's Night albums, and every previous concert I've been to has been excellent. The show last night however left me feeling nothing except bewildered. The band played fine, Candice sang fine, but the whole sound was missing something.....the guitar, it was turned way down and even if it had been turned up all Blackmore was doing was doodling around the frets and not playing anything to enhance any of the songs. He may as well have not turned up.
Having said that the in between song banter was excellent and really entertaining, Blackmore in full mischievous mode. However when they started to play a song I found I lost interest. The only exceptions were Diamonds and Rust, which Candice sings really well, and Toast to Tomorrow which had the energy and sound of Blackmore that the rest of the performance lacked. All in all an OK, relaxed performance which needed more Blackmore - or dare I say it a rhythm guitarist to allow Blackmore to just doodle on the guitar without losing the feel of the songs."
review: Scott Price
"Hi to you all at the DPAS.
Just read Mr.Price's review of Ritchie at the Opera House on Saturday. Dont know where he was situated in the theatre but we were sitting centre in the dress circle and the sound was perfect. If i remember rightly his solos with the strat just kept going and flowing, and not half bad acoustic wise too. My wife says the best shes ever seen him play !.
A great performance for us, and i think the show ran for maybe two and a half hours.
The only downer for me was that i left my "Long Live" album sleeve with the theatre management but Ritchie decided not to sign it. "
review: David Stoddard
I have followed Ritchie Blackmore for forty years in all his guises and have seen him live many times.
I saw the band the day before at York,a concert that was filmed for a future dvd,and he and the band played their hearts out for over 2.5 hours and were even denied an encore because of the curfew.Musical dexterity,song variation,and audience participation was as impressive as i have ever seen with Blackmore's Night,and Ritchie was really on form and enjoying himself.He practically had to be dragged off stage.
At Buxton,with no camera's,the Band relaxed a touch more and Ritchie's playing was mellower and considered,allowing Candice to shine,albeit he jammed and improvised arguably to a greater extent.He nailed each and every solo and his rhythm work was remarkable.Humour was to the fore,and again the band played for as long as the previous night.To me,the concerts were as lively as the band's early millenium period,around the Fires at Midnight CD ,and dispelled any myths that Ritchie was past it.
I came away from the concerts mightily impressed with the energy and spirit shown by all the band,particularly Blackers ,whom i personally felt had reassured his fans that he was still a guitar maestro/showman.
If its Deep Purple era music that fans come to see,you may leave disappointed,if its renaissance/medieval flavoured rock/folk played with gusto and edge - then i profess you will be well satisfied.After all,that is what Blackmore's Night are all about."
Reviewer - Peter O'Connor
"I too was at the Buxton gig and as a previous reviewer noted....it was the best gig there since "Fires at Midnight" tour.
To me...Ritchie seemed up for it and played some wonderful solo's while Candice sung beautifully all night...especially on Greensleeves & Diamonds & Rust.
It was good to hear some newer songs live...the opening track "locked within crystal ball" was a great set opener..though I don't think "Journeyman" worked particulary well live.
Highlights were Fires at midnight, Clock ticks on and a wonderfull extended Lorely.
My wife and I were really impressed with the "new" Gypey Rose....she played some wonderful Violin solo's - best addition to Blackmores Night since Chris Devine...and as for Albert....well let's just say "Albert Rocks" - his opening solo act before the main band was mesmerising - especially on the different Bagpipes.
This concert has renued my interest in Blackmores Night live...which was starting to wane after the last few post "Fires" tours....hope to see them again in another year or more probable two."
Mike Flanagan - Blackmore Fan since first hearing Made in Japan as a young teenager - now 49.
| October 3rd 2011. Town Hall, Birmingham
"For those who still can't understand why Ritchie isn't playing the amazing hard rock of his younger days, then an evening at the Town Hall, Birmingham, will not have brought any comfort. Band members dressed as Lady GaGa, a small child (baby Blackmore!) wandering onto the stage and the man in black personally inviting audience members to dance with him at the end all provided a slightly surreal yet hugely entertaining night out.
Personally, I love the fact that since this band was formed, Ritchie has mischievously gone about recreating his own legend. The guitar playing, often acoustic, is still utterly mesmerising, and is also coupled with a freedom and joy that was not always possible in the past.
Don't get me wrong, early Rainbow will for me always be the benchmark about what is great in music. Ritchie was my first hero after all. Yet as I grow a little older, it's fun to watch your heroes change with time and simply do what they want to do. If they can continue to make great music, which he does, then all well and good.
A value for money two and a half hour show, the highlights for me were the reworkings of Soldier of Fortune, a song that could have been written for the voice of Candice Night, and the sublime Diamonds and Rust. The live version of Journeyman was superb as well, with Ritchie bringing out the Strat and turning what is on record a relatively ordinary song into something quite majestic.
Musically, the wonderful Gypsy Rose adds another dimension, and although a Blackmore's Night show is about fun and escapism, perhaps there are odd occassions when the balance of the event tips too heavily into pantomine.
Finally, loved the use of the visuals that acted as a back drop to the songs.
Watching the show with a friend who is not a Blackmore afficionado made for an interesting post gig conversation, and although not a fan of everything he saw, he was sufficiently impressed to know he had been in the prescence of an exceptional talent.
Seeing Ritchie on stage is still one of life's great pleasures. Don't miss out!"
review: Robin Hendy
"Mark, my “Ritchie Gig” partner of over 30 years had just been taken into hospital so I was fedup and on my own, and then…… Ritchie played a blinder and the world was set to rights.
The gig coincided with Ritchie and Candice’s 3rd wedding anniversary, so would that put him in a good mood for the gig. Oh yes it did! Ritchie was on top notch form pulling out all the stops and giving us a fantastic performance. I haven’t seen him enjoy a gig this much since… errm, well, ever. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a “Blackers” gig so much either.
The band have managed to avoid the “which guitar will he pickup next” syndrome by plonking the strat section in the middle of the performance shortly after one of the keyboard solos. Ritchie played the strat on two numbers but oh boy did he play, the solo went on and on and on and was wonderful. As far as I was concerned this was pure heaven. Also the acoustic solos he performed later on during Fires at midnight and errrm, another song (I don’t know the repertoire, sorry) were equal gems – Ritchie has the ability to surprise with his choice of notes and unique phrasing with odd flourishes and those fast arpeggios that he has been playing ever since the Purple days. More more!
There was the usual witty banter between Ritchie and Candice – they certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves and have now built up a good list of songs over the 15 years of the band, along with some new material from the Autumn Sky album, which mean Ritchie can choose tracks mostly on a whim (or so it seemed) and to suit his mood. Autumn herself made a brief appearance before and during the gig with lots of suitable “aaahhhs” from the audience. Time went by and they played right up until the curfew at 11pm stopping very briefly for the encore. A guy came on stage with a big clock showing that time was indeed up, which led to Ritchie and Candice dragging some people up on stage for a jig (Ritchie danced a jig, yes) before disappearing behind stage for the final time.
Could I complain about anything? Well, I guess it was a bit strange having a “metal” style drum solo, however the guy did superb job - it was the most “Rainbow” part of the whole evening, a rock drum solo at a Blackmore’s Night gig, very strange. Also the highly obsessive German fans trying to get backstage passes was a bit annoying.
I think this has been said before but…. Anyone expecting Ritchie to play rock again… forget it. He is so clearly happy with his current project why would he do anything else? For me, after 15 years Blackmores Night has finally come of age, good luck to them and may they continue for many more years to come. "
review: John Blackburn
| October 11th 2011. Wyvern Theatre, Swindon new, 17th October 2011