Blackmore's Night
Hexagon, Reading, June 14th 2007

Well the upgrade of venue sizes on the tour didn't work in Reading. The Hexagon is about twice the size of the Concert Hall, where Blackmore's Night have played before, but in the event was only half full, so no real gain there.

Lights went down, nothing happened, lights came back up. 10 minutes later the band started - not a good start. And we only got 75 minutes and no encore, so what was going on backstage, I don't know.

I'm forced to say, the main description of Ritchie was anonymous. Despite it being his band, and him running the show, the guitar was low in the mix a lot of the time, and while he seemed to play lots, it wasn't particularly special - just part of the band. Some nice acoustic in Diamonds And Rust was about as good as it got. It was still enjoyable as a band event; the keyboard player was the star really, and covered a lot of the parts that violins etc have done in the past.

Luckily the Czech support band Gothien were excellent, offering upbeat takes on Macedonian dance tunes. They were summoned on three times during the headliner's set to beef up the sound, which worked best in a big band take on Mond Tanz/Child In Time.

I find Candice quite endearing on stage, "we've been a band now for 10 years, which is longer than all three of Ritchie's marriages put together", and "this is a nice traditional tune we heard on the radio played by a Mr 50 Cent". Ritchie responded by trying to order meals off the set list, as though it were a menu (he kept on picking it up to read it), and claiming Sting to be his favourite medieval composer. So, but for the lack of an encore it was a jolly evening, though not for Blackmore's playing, which was supposed to be the main focus of it.

review: Matthew Kean

Not to dull the enthusiasm - I am an ardent Blackmore fan and went to see Blackmore's Night last night in Reading. This was the first time I have seen him since the infamous Birmingham 1993 Deep Purple show. This show itself was interesting to say the least - I thought when I arrived that it was going to be a relaxed evening with the stage cast mixing with the audience, having Sir Lancelot taking a leak next to me in the toilet in full suit of armour - only to find that this was a member of the audience.

In fact there were a fair few regaled in medieval garb, which even though a little bizarre added a good atmosphere to the event. To start with I arrived a little late and Ritchie had taken the decision to shut the Bar at 20:30hrs on the dot - the barman said it was under his strict instructions, and we were all ushered into the auditorium and sat in anticipation of the show - 20 mins later they finally took the stage.

I really didn't know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised with some of the songs, and particularly with Diamonds and Rust (but not as good as the Judas Priest version of this Joan Baez classic). Ritchie played well but he was too low down in the mix and not "stratty" enough for me - there were some bizarre vocals, particularly from the keyboard player - but it all hung well together. I did feel however that I was watching a West End musical and at any time it would break out into "didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to Bangor" but thankfully it didn't - there was a band of travelling dressed up fans at the front who got up and danced and sang on cue.

I know it doesn't sound much like it, but I'm glad I went, and I did enjoy it. It was nice to see Blackmore again, but I can understand why I have waited for 14 years to see him now, as every time in the past I have seen him I have been awestruck, buzzing for days as to how someone could play like that and hold my attention for two hours, prowling around the stage shredding his fret board. Not last night - no programmes and no encore, back to the moody man in black. His strat was there, but the crowd waited for 15 mins and no show - and left in a hail of expletives. Candice - what a character, good singer - great personality; Ritchie - what a waste, pick up your Stratocaster so we can hear you and blow some of those pretend rockers away again!

review: Stewart Edgar

Last night was the sixth time we’d seen Blackmore’s Night, and in the past they’ve always played fairly long sets with multiple encores. But this time they only played for just over an hour, and no encores. One of the security guards said that Blackmore had been upset about the backstage catering. Old age hasn’t mellowed the moody bugger!

review: John Ashby

A classic performance by Blackmore in many ways. The band came on late (half an hour after the announcer had said they would start in 3 minutes) and played for an hour and a quarter with no encore (and no Strat). The first time I saw him play (Rainbow at The Rainbow) 30 years ago was very similar (i.e. short with no encore), but this time I took my 10 year old daughter who is now a confirmed fan of all things Blackmore’s Night, so they have gained a new fan in spite of themselves. Based on the mood in the hall at the end (by what I would term a “good audience”), they may have lost a few more….

review: Paul Appleyard

"Following my comments published on your site last week, and for the record, I was impressed by the offer of tickets for another performance following my call to the box office about last Thursday’s performance. Sadly, I can’t go, but it was a good offer and one I would have been happy to take up had I been able to…

Here’s looking forward to another tour in 2009. Based on the current pattern of good vs. bad performances, I’m not due another bad performance until Mr. Blackmore is in his eighties so 2009 ought to be good! (updated June 20th)

Regards, Paul Appleyard"

Hi, I am currently still simmering whilst posting this review about last night's show in Reading.

I took a half day of my very precious annual leave to get from Bristol to Reading in good time for the evening's show. We spent almost £50 on two tickets, £20 plus on petrol, £10 on food, plus money for drinks and parking charges. Our reward, a 70 minute set with no encore whatsoever, which included a ten minute pantomime version of Home Again, plus being joined on stage by the support band on no less than three occasions. At the end of the set, the houselights came up and everyone just sat there looking absolutely bemused that the show had ended already. Many including myself stayed in our seats, cheering and clapping for a further 10 minutes, but to no avail. Some of the shouts for an encore started to turn nasty, with people booing and a few choice insults directed at Blackmore in particular.

I’m not sure what the problem was last night. If somebody was ill or something why weren’t we told before, during or after the show? This we would all of course be able to understand. However, there was no explanation forthcoming and sitting in the fourth row, I could not understand what upset Blackmore. I heard no shouts at all for any Rainbow or Purple songs and the crowd were fairly responsive, clapping, cheering and singing in all the right places.

Most of World of Stone was played without him, as he chose to stand off stage and not play. I honestly thought all of these days were now behind him (I remember the excrutiatingly embarrassing Brixton in 1993!), but obviously not. Candice seemed on fine form, laughing and joking with the crowd throughout, but I feel really sorry for the rest of the band as well, who seem to put everything into the performance but can’t know if they’re coming or going!

I also have tickets for the Cardiff show next week, but if we get another performance like last night’s it will be the last Blackmore's Night show that I attend, and I for one, will be waiting at the stage door demanding a refund!

review: Darren Keeler

In a word, disappointing! Having caught the band's Aylesbury show last time around, I had high expectations of the Reading Hexagon gig but unfortunately they were not to be fulfilled on this occasion.

With a cheery, "See you next time!" from Candice Night the concert ended somewhat abruptly at around 10:00pm (after the band had played only 1 hour or so). Everything was great up to then. No apology and no explanation was offered either. Someone or something had quite obviously pissed off the man in black and he took his toys home with him.

The audience was mystified and the (after waiting for some uncomfortable minutes when it became clear that the band were not going to retake the stage) not a little hostile. The absolute nadir of the evening was reached when a female member of the venue security staff shouted in the face of a disappointed little girl with her father in tow "the show is over"!

A quick word re: the venue staff who were (mostly) marvellous, they were as mystified as the audience and at a total loss as to what was happening. Considering that both myself and a friend put ourselves out in a major fashion by hiring costumes, traveling up to Reading from London and drinking overpriced beers at the venue bar I'm not at all amused. The worst of it is that my wife and I are booked for the last date on this current UK tour (Brighton Dome), now I'm wondering whether it'll be worth the train fare and hotel stay. What people like Mr B would do well to remember is that the ticket price is but one expense of an evening's musical entertainment.

I'm sorry but even for a fan of some 25 years standing that's going to take some forgiving..."

review: Darren Wisdom

Having seen this band on a number of occasions I was gobsmacked at how bad they were last night. Late on, early off, no encore. Total time on stage about seventy minutes. Guitar passages being replaced by elongated keyboard and vocal passages.

I have been in contact with The Hexagon Theatre in Reading who confirm that they have received a "number of complaints".

review: Michael Day

"Well, judging from the Reading reviews he's got the bad one out of the way, which is good news! I can hope! These guys should consider though that this happens on every tour with Blackmore.  I can remember Manchester 1981 (lost around 40 minutes of the set and encore, people burned Rainbow posters outside), Wembley 1987 (Ritchie didn't show for the encore) and lots of other disappointments on the way. But you have to be patient with Mr B. The guy is still a God as far as I'm concerned.

At the Birmingham show I'll try to get a photo of my mate in his wife's maternity outfit! Also Mark Connolly (Moritz!) might be wearing the Shirley Bassey number again." (can't wait, thanks John..)

well rounded appraisal: (Uncle) John Blackburn

Blackmore's Night 2007