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November 4th 2003. Buxton Opera House.    new, nov 6th

"I must confess I fall into the category of a Ritchie Deep Purple/Rainbow fan rather than a follower of Rennaisance music. However, this was the perfect oppurtunity to see Blackmore up close at a small venue. Buxton Opera house was the perfect venue and the atmosphere was tremendous. Blackmore put in a belter of a performance and the audience responded accordingly. There were enough Purple/Rainbow snippets to satisfy the most diehard of fans. Blackmore threw in a few great 'shapes' and for me the highlight being a few licks from Burn, the first time I'd heard the man in black play it live. Rumours abound of a Mark III reunion, if only!" Graham Mason

"The audience for Blackmore's Night really are a mixed bag. I saw pensioners and youngsters alike. There were still plenty of Purple and Rainbow shirts around, but I think significantly less than when they first toured the UK. It does appear as if the last couple of years' promotional activity has begun to pay off, and the band appear to be producing its own fan base, rather than the guaranteed lunatic ex-purple following which will no doubt be appearing at every gig...." John Blackburn

"The only downside was that the band only played in the rear half of the stage. I also have to say there was a great deal of humour taking place on stage a version of Percy Sledge's Stand by Me caused great confusion as to who would make an effort to sing it the rather camp bassist cracked everyone up by insisting the key was completely inappropriate for his voice!!...." Mark Connolly

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November 7th 2003. Queen's Hall , Edinburgh.   Cancelled Due To Illness

"Blackmore's Night cancelled their November 7th show in Edinburgh, apparently at three to four hours' notice. The reason given for the cancellation was Candice Night being ill, which may also have lead to the previous night's show (in Workington) finishing earlier than expected."
Thanks to John Blackburn and the Rainbow Fan Clan

November 10th 2003. Reading Concert Hall.

"Two years ago Blackmore's Night, well mainly Blackmore, produced an inspired performance in Reading, which presumably accounted for the return visit now and the raptuous reception of the crowd that seemed genuinely to touch the band. This show was more standard however, competent but not flying to the heights of previously. No evidence of the trees requested for the Workington show, just a backdop of an unconvincing medieval village, and a few barrels disguising the keyboards.

Highlight of the night was undoubtedly All For One, where Ritchie donned a Strat, and support act Die Geyers added bagpipes to a big band take. But best of all was Candice on this song, really putting some ferocity and passion into her singing. This even overshadowed Sixteeenth Century Greensleeves, which was an untidy version with verses apparently dropped in at random, and a quick blast of Difficult To Cure that ran into Self Portrait, so mangled as to be virtually meaningless. The Tull cover of Rainbow Blues worked better than on the album, though the chorus is over-repeated, while a final run through of Black Night wasn't the embarrassment I had feared, but nor was it a revelatory choice." Matthew Kean

November 13th 2003. Cheltenham Town Hall.    new, nov 14th

"A lot of good humour was in evidence tonight, as well as spontaneous musical close-sailing. And those add up to a great show. Two songs in, Candice asked: "Are you ready to rock?" To the cry of "Yeah!" she smiled, and said: "Er, well we're not..."

Even the token heckler (who had a thing about Chester!) was given a humorous response from the main people. But why did several people hiss (yes, in true pantomime style) when Coverdale got a credit? You can't please some people... Anyway, Minstrel Hall was simply beautiful, and Candice shone most brightly on Play Minstrel Play and the new numbers. Even the programme was only 5 - no complaints here, squire!"

review: Peter Frost

November 14th 2003. Exeter Great Hall.     Last Show Of The UK Tour   new, nov 17th  

"Blackmore played a gig in Exeter for the first time since March 1970, and for once this meant less than an hours drive for me. Luxury! About 800 (?) people turned up, quite a few 'appropriately' dressed.

The show's format hasn't changed since I last saw them (Marlborough 2000). If you go to these show to expect Purple/Rainbow type rock then you'll go home disappointed. However if you appreciate the music on its own terms then a nice evening can be had. The informal atmosphere and nice 4th row seats meant there was plenty of opportunity to enjoy the show & see the Master up close at work at his craft.

Blackmore may have changed the type of music he's playing; he hasn't changed his style though. In fact, there are bits in his current playing that go back to his 1970s improvisations in songs like "Wring that Neck' or his early Rainbow days improvisations. It's that kind of stuff that made me a fan of his in the first place so I personally enjoyed the evening. Apparently Blackmore suffered from a bit of a cold. His playing ranged from functional to brilliant (stunning improvisation in 'Fires at Midnight').

For the 3 encores we (I went with my wife Deb) just walked to the front of the stage with a few others and weren't asked to leave. Hardly any electric work tonight and only one Purple song (Soldier of Fortune) but I personally didn't mind. I'm happy for him to be happy and continue what he's doing. If I have one wish then it wouldn't be for him to go back to a Purple/Rainbow set-up but instead come up with a killer instrumental (both acoustic and electric) CD. Just in case you're reading this Ritchie........"

review: Tonny Steenhagen, Cornwall

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2003 DPAS/Darker Than Blue.
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