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Germany 2003
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 from A 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 we knew…

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

Intro
Cartouche
Play Minstrel Play
Under A Violet Moon
Past Time With Good Company
Solider Of Fortune
Mr Peagram's Morris & Sword
Village On The Sand
Diamonds And Rust
Durch Den Wald Zum Bach Haus
Ghost Of A Rose
Fires At Midnight
Queen For A Day (1 & 2)
Renaissance Faire
I Still Remember
The Clock Ticks On

Encores

All For One
Difficult To Cure/Self Portrait
Rainbow Blues
Beyond The Sunset
Dandelion Wine

Showtime approx 2 hours.

Ghost Of A Rose tour programme cover
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

Intro
Cartouche
Play Minstrel Play
Under A Violet Moon
Past Time With Good Company
Minstrel Hall
Soldier Of Fortune
16th Century Greensleeves
Diamonds And Rust
Mr Peagram's Morris & Sword
"Rain song"
Village On The Sand
Durch Den Wald Zum Bach Haus
Ghost Of A Rose
Renaissance Faire
The Clock Ticks on

Encores

All For One
Difficult To Cure/Self Portrait
Home Again

Showtime approx 1, 45 hours.

Würselen ticket
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

Intro
Cartouche
Play Minstrel Play
Under A Violet Moon
Wind In The Willows
Past Time With Good Company
Minstrel Hall
Soldier Of Fortune
16th Century Greensleeves (incl Ritchie on bass)
Mr Peagram's Morris & Sword
Village On The Sand
Durch Den Wald Zum Bach Haus
Queen For A Day 1 & 2
Ghost Of A Rose
Renaissance Faire
I Still Remember
Home Again
The Clock Ticks On

Encores

All For One
Difficult To Cure/Self Portrait
Keyboard solo
Writing On The Wall
Rainbow Blues
Way To Mandalay
Beyond The Sunset
Dandelion Wine

Showtime approx 2, 25 hours.

Fulda ticket
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

Intro
Cartouche
Play Minstrel Play
Under A Violet Moon
Past Time With Good Company
Minstrel Hall
Soldier Of Fortune
Wind In The Willows
16th Century Greensleeves
Diamonds And Rust
Mr Peagram's Morris And Sword
Village On The Sand
Durch Den Wald Zum Bach Haus
Queen For A Day 1 & 2
Fires At Midnight
Ghost Of A Rose
Renaissance Faire
I Still Remember
The Clock Ticks On

Encores

All For One
The Storm
Home Again
Keyboard solo
Writing On The Wall
Difficult To Cure/Self Portrait
Black Night

Showtime approx 2,10 hours.

Ritchie Bremen '03

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.

2. Würselen - Burg Wilhelmstein. A fantastic venue, the best seats you can imagine, and a fantastic show.

3. Wuppertal - Stadthalle. Nice tour premiere, good crowd, good venue. A little minus for the sound

4. Bremen - Die Glocke. Good setlist, great seats, unfortunately a lame crowd. Highlights of the show The Storm and Black Night.

Paul Deblond & Daniel Olsson, July 2003


 

Rothenburg, Burggarten 11 July

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 tour….

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:

Minstrel Hall
Played with absolute highest precision and you could hear a pin drop…

Home again
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

Surprises !!

Temple Of The King
2 verses and one chorus were performed… excellent…

Purple Haze
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…

Conclusion

Great weather, full moon rising during the concert, the international Blackmore’s Night family gathered, great concert in the most beautiful town I’ve seen, 11th July 2003 was a fairytale coming true…….. Who could ask for more……………

Thanks again Ritchie & Candice and the band of minstrels for bringing me your emotionally moving music and for giving me opportunities to see all these amazing castles and locations in Germany…. Hope to see you again next summer….. or earlier

David Braic, Sweden
Minstrel Spirit


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).
 

Cartouche
Play Minstrel Play
Under A Violet Moon
Past Times With Good Company
Minstrel Hall
16th Century Greensleeves
Soldier Of Fortune
Mr. Peagram's Morris And Sword
Diamonds And Rust
Village On The Sand
Durch Den Wald Zum Bachhaus
Fires At Midnight
I Still Remember
Ghost Of A Rose
Renaissance Faire
The Clock Ticks On

Encores

All For One
The Storm
Home Again
Keyboard Solo
Writing On The Wall
Difficult To Cure / Self Portrait
Wind In The Willows
Now And Then

The show lasted for 2 hours 20 minutes.

Cheers!

Igor Vukomanovic

Ritchie Fulda '03