|Through blood and fire, rain, wrath,
traffic jams and love we made it to Germany to see four Blackmore's Night
shows. Cecilia and I were joined by good minstrel fellows Peter and Daniel
Tribute To Blackmore's Night and here is a little tour diary, spontaneous
comments from the shores of northern Europe. So fasten your seatbelts
folks and raise your hats and your glasses
too. We wil dance the whole night through we're going back to a time
Wuppertal, Stadthalle 3 July
|Stadthalle in Wuppertal was the first
venue to be visited by Blackmore's Night on this year's Acoustic/Electric
Summer Tour. We arrived at the venue about an hour before Die
Geyers performance and got a chance to see the beautiful interiors
of the 103 years old building. Die
Geyers made a really good 40+ min gig with some old favourites mixed
with some from the brand new album "Und dein roter mund". I've
never seen Die
Geyers live before (with the exception of Albert at Rabenstein
'01) and I was really impressed.
|Tour premiers are always something special
and this night was no exception. The lights went out and Ritchie started
to play the intro and then kicked off into a stunning version of "Cartouche".
Ritchie seemed to be in a fairly good mood and made a few good jokes
(he even mentioned Marilyn Manson once) I was extremely curious to hear
Ghost Of A Rose since I think it's one of the strongest Blackmore's Night
songs yet and it came halfway into the concert. It was amazingly good
live even though the cello was missing live. Great guitar work from Ritchie
and some stunning violin play from Lord Marnen. Highlights of the gig
were without a doubt Ghost Of A Rose, Fires At Midnight and Beyond The
Sunset, which always moves me deeply.
|The touring line up had changed since
the last time I saw them (Berlin '02). Lord Marnen has been with the
band for a year now and is an extremely talented multi musician. Sisters
of the Moon, Madeleine and Nancy have (beside from enchanting looks)
superb voices. They can sing very similar to Candice but have different
vocal qualities as well and is a very nice addition to the touring group.
David of Larchmont was pretty anonymous live but did his job perfectly.
Overall, the gig was pretty good but I missed a few songs, Spanish Nights
(which unfortunately they haven't played live since '01 I believe), Way
To Mandalay and Loreley.
Set list Wuppertal 3 July
All For One
Showtime approx 2 hours.
Würselen, Burg Wilhelmstein 4 July
|We arrived about 90 minutes before the
show to get the best seats at the amazing Burg Wilhelmstein in Würselen.
It's a beautiful old castle with the stage set up against one of the
castle walls. We got the best seats and literally sat ON stage. That's
why I didn't take so many photos, didn't feel to place a camera in Candice's
face, besides the no-camera guards. However, go to Photos for
some exclusive photos from the tour. A new opening act was introduced
to us, La Zag an Italian
Medieval/Renaissance band that played extremely interesting music during
their 35+ min performance. So thanks to the Ferrarese family for bringing
on such a good show.
|Blackmore's Night kicked off the gig
in the same fashion as in Wuppertal. The band seemed to be in a good
mood, especially Ritchie and Bob (who suffered from jetlag at the Wuppertal
show). The setlist was slightly different from the previous night (and
unfortunately shortened 25 min due to the curfew and the bad weather.)
Anyway, three new songs were added, 16th Century Greensleeves (yes!),
Home Again, and a rain song (added because it actually rained cats and
dogs for 20 min). During the lower part of Home Again I shouted "Sweden!" and
they started to play the Hall Of The Mountain King theme, which is Norwegian
as Candice correctly pointed out. Anyway it was close enough and I was
happy as a kid. The sound was really good, much better than Wuppertal.
To our delight Ritchie used the hurdy gurdy to play the intro to The
Clock Ticks On. Overall, the gig was somewhat better than Wuppertal and
the venue was amazingly beautiful.
Set list Würselen 4 July
All For One
Showtime approx 1, 45 hours.
Fulda, Schlosshof 6 July
|The next stop on our "Scandinavian Minstrels on the
road" tour was the beautiful city of Fulda. We checked out the venue
during the day and noticed that it was the biggest venue so far. A guard
told us that it could hold up to 1900 people and it did! The weather conditions
were perfect and once again, La
Zag entered the stage and played a similar set to the one in Würselen.
|Blackmore's Night entered the stage at 21.15 and opened as
usual with Cartouche. You could tell early on that Ritchie were in an extremely
good mood. I have never seen him talk and joke that much before! He was
jumping around all over the stage and doing a lots of "hey!".
Wind In The Willows was added into the set and really grew live. They hadn't
played it for a while but it sounded perfect to me. About 1/3 into the
set it was time to rock it up a little with 16th Century Greensleeves which
would become, well, very different to say the least. Halfway into the song
Ritchie called for Bob and wanted to switch instruments. Bob looked very
surprised, to say the least. So all of a sudden Ritchie had a bass guitar
and performed quite a nice bass solo. Bob showed that he could handle the
guitar (almost) as well as the bass. Bob commented the situation with "Please
forgive me I do not know what I'm doing". It was quite a sight folks
and I surely won't forget it!!
|With the Würselen show fresh in mind I was afraid that
this would be a rather short gig (Sunday night, outdoor and the curfew)
luckily I was wrong. They kept on playing and playing, giving us a sensitive
version of I Still Remember, loud sing-a-long versions of Home Again and
All For One. Once again I shouted "Sweden!" during the lower
part of Home Again and sure enough we got the Hall Of The Mountain King
theme. While Ritchie was tuning the hurdy gurdy for the intro to The Clock
Ticks On he asked me if I was from Sweden (Ritchie was talking to me during
the show!? I was delighted and excited at the same time) I quickly replied "yes". "Whereabouts" said
Ritchie, "Malmo" I replied, "Well, we all got our problems" he
said smilingly. Wow! I talked to Ritchie during the show! I couldn't believe
it. I was happy as a kid (again). I will treasure the Fulda show forever.
However, one of the surprises of the show was still to come. "Any
requests" Candice said and the choice seemed obvious to everyone in
the front rows. Everybody shouted "MANDALAY!" and Mandalay we
got! I don't understand why they don't have it in their set list because
it becomes even better live. A splendid version of Beyond The Sunset (almost
tears folks) and Dandelion Wine concluded a perfect evening that had everything.
Perfect weather, good music and good company from our fellow Germans.
Set list Fulda 6 July
All For One
Showtime approx 2, 25 hours.
Bremen, Die Glocke 8 July
|Bremen was our last stop before heading home to Sweden. Die
Glocke was quite a nice venue located in the central parts of Bremen. As
we arrived to the venue we saw that there was no cue and we didn't see
anybody else in renaissance clothing. When I later counted the people who
dressed up, there were about 11 of us (in contrast to Fulda where roughly
100 people had dressed up). Anyway, La
Zag opened once again and was in good shape as usual. I gave them some
comments in Italian, which they seemed to appreciate.
|Blackmore's Night entered at 21.10 and opened in the same
fashion as before. But you could tell right away that Ritchie was not in
a very good mood. I can't really blame him because the crowd was totally
lame. We were about 8 enthusiastic people and 800 who didn't care at all
and seemed to expect a Rainbow or Deep Purple show (not a bad idea though,
but this is BN and all DP & Rainbow songs are just an added bonus).
The band tried to put on a really good show but without a good crowd, it's
almost impossible. Fires At Midnight was added into the set again after
being left out for the past two gigs. One of the biggest surprises of the
night was an amazing version of The Storm. I am very pleased they played
it because it's a really good song. Anyway, the biggest surprise of the
show was without a doubt Black Night. Once again Bob looked very surprised
and didn't know if he or Candice should sing it. Bob's mic didn't seem
to work so Candice sang the first verse with dash and Bob finished the
song. I believe this is the first time they did Black Night since Berlin
2002 and it sounded bloody marvellous!
Set list Bremen 8 July
All For One
Showtime approx 2,10 hours.
If I should try to grade the four shows, now a few weeks after the shows (and a lot of thinking) I would probably say:
1. Fulda - Schlosshof. The longest show,
fantastic weather, an enthusiastic crowd, Ritchie on bass, my brief talk
with Ritchie and Way To Mandalay.
Reflections from Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Having seen the shows in Fulda, Bremen and Wertheim the
show in Rothenburg must have reached absolute top peek of the whole
After arriving to Rothenburg before noon and checking in to the wonderful hotel ”Göttlische Haus” I was amazed by this beautiful town. All the houses, buildings, churches, towers seemed like a medieval fairytale…absolutely amazing, and I recommend everyone to visit this charming town. There are many nice stores where you can find medieval souvenirs, swords, medieval clothing and even knights' armour etc. For those of you who don’t know, the cover of ”Under A Violet Moon” is taken from Rothenburg.
|After several strolls in the town once again the Blackmore’s
Night family consisting of people from USA, England, Italy, Sweden, Denmark,
Germany, Switzerland etc. was gathering …in order to consume some
more beers (!!) then back to the hotel and change to medieval costumes
and then a nice walk to the beautiful castle with its beautiful courtyard… The
great Italian band La Zag opened
again and then we were all waiting for the main act…
So once again the German version of ”Les Miserable” was heard through the PA-system and shortly after Ritchie’s guitar synthesizer intro the band started of with Cartouche… you could immediately tell that Ritchie was in a good mood, Rothenburg is one of his favourite places which surely gives him an extra kick… every song performed this magical evening was amazing and the highlights from my point of view were:
Played with absolute highest precision and you could hear a pin drop…
Was played early in the set so people rushed near the stage, after the song Bob said: ”Please take your seats” and so we did…. during the song the German anthem was played, and also Edvard Grieg’s ”Hall Of The Mountain King” strange that no one shouted Sweden !!! this time… how come Paul?
Fires At Midnight
Absolute top version… excellent guitar solo in the middle, Candice introduced this song and mentioned that the sound of her instrument draw attention to some birds quote “so if you see some strange birds during this song it’s because of this instrument”
Ghost Of A Rose
This song is an amazing Blackmore’s Night song, it moves me deeply.. though the lack of the cellos live, the song grows more and more … and this special night the song in some way was absolutely brilliant. Maybe also because the word ”ghost” has another meaning to me after this German tour…. thanks David Hall from San Francisco for introducing a new scary experience in this life……the ghost hunt 9th July was special..…. Anyway.. the song is inspired by sir Edward Elgars Cello concerto in E-minor,( don’t remember the number of the opus…) and the tragic story of the late cellist Jacqueline Du Pre, If you like drama watch the film ”Hilary and Jackie ” which tells the sad story about Jacqueline du Pre.
Wind In The Willows
Works very good live, everyone in the audience seemed to sing along with the chorus
Temple Of The King
Intro plus two verses sung by Bob… great Jimi Hendrix nostalgia
Black Night/Woman from Tokyo
The well known Black Night riff started and then Ritchie incorporated the riff from Woman From Tokyo several times before going for Black Night
Smoke On The Water ??!
Yes, folks…. Intro plus one verse sung by Candice and the audience of course sang, screamed and shouted during the chorus…
Now And Then
The show closed with this one…
David Braic, Sweden
Friedrichshafen, Graf Zeppelin Haus 15 July
|After a long and exhausting 750km drive from Zagreb, Croatia
my girlfriend and I arrived at the beautiful town of Friedrichshafen on
the lake Boden to see the Blackmore's Night show. I've been a huge fan
of Blackmore's Night ever since I first heard the album "Under a Violet
Moon", about two years ago, so there was no way I'd miss a live performance
once I heard the new album and a tour is planned for this year. We arrived
at the venue only half an hour before the start, so the best seats were
already taken, which did upset me a bit, but it all turned out ok at the
end. The hall was full and to my delight, there were many people dressed
in renaissance garb. Soon the Italian band La Zag opened the show with
some very nice tunes. I think they played for about 45 minutes, and after
another 15 minutes of waiting Blackmore's Night started with "Cartouche".
It was no surprise for me, since I was familiar with the set lists of some
past shows of the tour. Besides the fact it sounded great, it was an amazing
experience to see Ritchie and Candice perform live.
|The atmosphere at the beginning was somewhat static, since
all the people were just sitting in their seats and clapping after the
songs. But, after some of my favourite songs like "Play Minstrel Play", "Under
a Violet Moon" and "Past Times With Good Company", (the
songs for which, personally, I think would've been much better if they
were played later during the show, not in the beginning), Candice invited
the audience to come near the stage. People responded immediately and so
did I. Quickly, I got up and ran towards the stage. It was already crowded,
but I managed to take an excellent position in the middle of the second
row of people, so I was just a few meters away from the band. Now the show
really started! The crowd went wild. Judging from the shouting and delight
when Deep Purple songs were played, there were many Deep Purple fans around
me, and they surely helped create the great atmosphere.
|The show went on amazingly well, and the highlight
of the whole concert for me was Lord Marnen's absolutely stunning solo
violin performance at the end of "Durch Den Wald Zum Bach Haus".
It seemed as if like he was going to explode from all the energy he put
into playing - he even broke a few fiddle bowstrings :-) As the show was
getting close to the encore, the crowd was getting wilder and wilder. Especially
after the great "Fires at Midnight", "I Still Remember" and "Ghost
of a Rose". Of course, I have to mention Ritchie playing on the hurdy
gurdy, which was superb. I was getting a little bit anxious at that point
since they still hadn't played "Self Portrait", which is one
of my all time favourites, just like "Spanish Nights" - which
was seemingly not included into this tour's setlist, and I really don't
understand why :-( (Well maybe I'm just too much attached to the "Under
a Violet Moon" album - I missed many more songs from it, like "March
the Heroes Home", "Fool's Gold" and "Castles and Dreams",
to mention just some of them).
|We got several encores, which included solo keyboard performance and a few surprises. The greatest surprise for me was the "Wind in the Willows", because it wasn't played on the previous shows for which I had seen the set lists. As opposing to "Queen for a Day", which surprisingly wasn't played at this concert. After a few songs, I was now very anxious about the "Self Portrait", and on two occasions in between songs I shouted "Self Portrait!" out of desperation. I don't know if it made any difference, but after that, when they came out on the stage for the second encore, "Difficult to Cure" with "Self Portrait" was played! The band just kept going off and on the stage, it was really funny to see how nobody (except Ritchie, it seems) knew what was going on and what will happen next. When Ritchie got off the stage the third time, Candice seemed so puzzled that she knew not what to do :-) Then she joined Ritchie backstage, and when they returned, they whispered something to the other members of the band. It was interesting to see how, seemingly, none of that was planned, since the keyboard player was frantically searching through the sheets with music...for the one last song, which was "Now and Then". All in all, it was a beautiful, beautiful show. It surpassed all my expectations, I was even considering going to the last show of the tour in Trier, Germany on July 17th (but unfortunately couldn't do it).|
|This is the setlist, as I
remember it (the song order is most probably not all correct).
The show lasted for 2 hours 20 minutes.