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October 25th 2005. Queens Hall, Edinburgh  

Blackmore's Night's 2005 UK Tour got under way on October 25th with a show at Queens Hall, Edinburgh. The set list was: Intro / Morning Star / Queen for a Day / Under a Violet Moon / Soldier of Fortune / Past Times with Good Company / Child in Time~Mond Tanz / Streets of London / Home Again / Fires at Midnight / Wind in the Willows / Mr.Peagrams's Morris and Sword / Ghost of a Rose / Renaissance Faire / Clock Ticks On / Ariel / All for One / Midwinter's Night~Dandelion Wine.
(set list supplied by Kev Dixon & MIke Garrett)

"The show started a little slowly, but picked up after 'Queen For A Day'. 'Under a Violet Moon' was wonderful, one of the best versions I have ever heard. 'Child in Time' was well received and played really well. 'Home Again' was played with a lot of humour, really getting the crowd going. 'Fires at Midnight', superb solo from Ritchie, done on acoustic. 'Mr. Peagrams..',not sure what was going on, but again lot of humour. 'Ghost of a Rose': Candice really put everything into it. 'Clock Ticks On' had Des Geyers guesting at the end. Encores, 'Ariel', words fail me. The solo was that good. Straight into 'All for One', which again had a solo or three or more. Again joined by Des Geyers at the end. Second encore and a nice acoustic quiet ending. Ritchie and Candice shaking hands with everone at the end. Very good show, a few dips but generally good quality. I have heard that the sound was poor at the back of the hall during portions of the show. However at the front it was OK". review: Kevin Dixon

October 28th 2005. Buxton Opera House.    updated, nov 3rd   Who was that mystery visitor?  

A number of people have emailed asking who the very special guest is who was mentioned by Candice during the Buxton Blackmore's Night performance. Backstage the gentleman (dressed in doublet and leather boots) was introduced by Ritchie Blackmore as someone to whom he owed his success. It turned out to be none other than the original Deep Purple manager Tony Edwards.

"Buxton was a sell-out, our seats were at the rear of the stalls, much further back than last year, so perhaps the DVD has boosted their popularity over here. Set list the same as Edinburgh, although only one encore, which consisted of a keyboard solo followed by 'Ariel', done on the strat, with a wonderful 2-4 minute solo! Perhaps they were concerned about the sound, as the sound engineer spent half the evening moving up and down the centre aisle of the stalls checking it was ok! he needn't have worried as from where we were sitting it was perfect. The Opera House now have security which wasn't there last year, and they're pretty keen on stopping photography; more than one person had a good talking to.

Other highlights: - 'Home Again', always lots of humour in this performance, and it gets the crowd going. A fair bit of improvisation going on, with the keyboard player singing a couple of traditional songs that you know instantly but can't put a name to ! - 'Ghost of a Rose', brilliant performance from the whole band, this song really suits Candice. Why wasn't this a hit single? Radio 2 would have been falling over themselves to play it if it had had the right promotion.

Lowlights: - 'Child in Time', this just doesn't work for me. If you haven't heard the song before (which is unlikely if you are at the gig!) it probably sounds alright, but there are too many miles better versions available, plus it stops when it's meant to get going! I can't see the point, and their own material suits them so much more...

Overall, a really good show. We went last year expecting the worst and were blown away with their humour, enthusiasm and yes, the songs. This year was just as good, and it's so nice to go to the Opera House, one of my favourite venues (Candice said it was their favourite in the UK). Regards, Mark Woodhead (fully paid up DPAS member since 1977!) !"

"Superb venue, as always, alluded to by Candice. Backdrops basic, but more interesting this time, with good use of colour, ie. "purple" during 'Soldier of Fortune'. Band in good humour, particularly Ritchie and Candice, who looked and sang superbly throughout. Overall a very good concert, with 'Ariel' a real plus, but personally I was a little disappointed that again most of the concert consisted of Shadow Of The Moon and Under A Velvet Moon tracks. I feel the band are in danger of becoming too reliant upon these. To me, Fires at Midnight and Ghost Of A Rose should get more of an airing, and more than one new track would have been nice. Blackers on form throughout, with some brilliant runs, yet I believe he played well within himself on this night. I left happy, but know I have witnessed even better nights in the past. Hope the new CD brings added spark."   review: Peter O'Connor

"The band were excellent. They seem to inject a sense of fun and enjoyment into their music which flows out the audience. The only negative was they only played one encore. The set was similar to the previous gig but Ritchie played 'Minstrel Hall' near the start. Highlights were 'Ghost of a Rose', 'Fires at Midnight', and 'Streets of London' (done perfectly). 'Home Again' really added fun to the night. The encore was worth the price of the ticket by itself! Well done to Mr Blackmore, I think he has found the perfect avenue for his talents, he is in a band that can write new songs, cover old ones and revitalise music over 200 years old: give it the Blackmore's Night treatment and produce great music and a great concert...THANKS! I eagerly await the new album due in the New Year." review: Philip Bradbury

October 30th 2005. Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton   new, oct 31st  

"First of all all my outfit; no more hiring costumes for me - I was straight down the charity shop last week where I purchased a classic Shirley Bassey shiny dazzling little number (size 24). What with my wife's black leggings and hat I was ready to blow them all away. (too much information...) Tonight you see, we were in the front row, but this time right in front of Mr B himself. It didn't take him long to notice my shimmering outfit in the darkness, as he made the first move on me by offering me a beer (the best "come on" I've had for years). Anyway back to the gig. (thank goodness for that...)

The gig was excellent. Mr B's playing throughout was right on the money (no set list from me, but I'll leave that for others to provide). Personally I'm quite happy to hear him play his semi acoustic as well as the Fender, however it was incredible to have him playing the encores with the Strat, and even more so to have him doing this about 5 feet from you - this is what I've been waiting 25 years for. The solo in 'Ariel' was brilliance, sheer brilliance. I'm not so sure about BN playing 'Ariel' in general, as it did sound a bit .....out of place, however Mr B's solo made up for it. The 'guy on keyboards' and 'whoever it is on violin' were given more freedom to express themselves and the touch of "Wolverhampton" Slade in the violin solo was pretty good stuff. Anyway I got 2 beers from Mr B and a firm handshake......what more could a sexily dressed bloke want? Des Geyers in support were good fun too, even though all their German numbers sound like BN tracks." review: Mark Connolly

"The evening got of to a fine start when I got to hear Rapture of the Deep for the first time on the way down to Wolverhampton. Gosh, I like it. I've never heard so much harmonic interest with a collection of Purple songs since... erm.. well never. Gillan's singing and lyrics are top notch this time, as are the organ and guitar playing. All we need to do is persuade the band to do a "Rapture of the Deep" tour, where they play the whole album rather than rely on the old stuff. Or how about a "Morse Era Only" tour? I may hope. Anyway, back to Blackmores Night...

Armed with suitable "garb", as we had booked front row tickets, we joined the rest of the throng inside the small Wulfren Hall (a rather drab civic hall) for the main attraction. DPAS man David Pickles had his wife’s black maternity outfit on again, coupled with a Ronnie Dio type large cross across his chest, and Mark Connolly had gone for a Shirley Bassey sparkly number from Oxfam (yes, we've heard all about it, ta....). This was entertainment enough for me, I would have gone home laughing at least.

Anyway, after the usual renaissance style piped intro music, Ritchie, Candice and the rest took to the stage for what was to be a very long and superb show. For the first hour and three-quarters the band played their way through loads of songs, most of which I recognised from my previous BN gigs over the past few years. One fan sat on the front row was writing down all the song titles, taking pictures and noting exactly in which song the “man dressed as a rabbit” appeared. Yes, there was a man dressed in a rabbit costume, a low point of the gig in some respects. The more serious and melodic songs work better for me than the sing-along clappy songs. My problem with listening to these songs back to back is the expectation that Terry Wogan will walk on stage after a song and say “well that was the entry for Norway, now here’s the entry for Israel”.

During this section of the gig Ritchie played acoustic type instruments only. He appears to adopt a “less is more” strategy, only occasionally bursting forth through the music, controlling things very tightly on stage with his usual subtle queues and expressions to move proceedings on in-between and during songs. So on to the encore. With Ritchie still in the wings we begin to hear Straty type noises, anticipation rises, the PA is turned up a tad, and then “bang” there he is with the glorious strat, the man in black as we all know him, thank heavens. The next half an hour or so was pure joy, with Ritchie playing long extended episodes during songs which included 'Ariel', 'Beethoven' and finishing on a second encore with 'Black Night'. He was really playing well, it was fantastic. Candice, who had been the principle focus for the main set, stood and watched him in awe along with the rest of us. At the end there was a set of very young people at the front all yelling “Ritchie, Ritchie” like he was some X-factor teen idol. Great stuff." review: John Blackburn

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