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Blackmore’s Night Japanese Tour 2004

A Tour Report By Rainer Klos

Osaka, Sankei Hall, 18 October

I arrived at Osaka airport the morning of the first show, made my way to town and the band's hotel, where I met Carole and Bob at the reception. After a little nap I met the band in the lobby to get a lift to the venue. The show started fairly late for Japanese standards, by the time Blackmore's Night actually went on stage it was already 19.15. As there was no support act the Sisters of the Moon sang 'Dome Pais' to start the shows. After the 'Way to Mandalay' intro the band went into 'Cartouche' and got the fans who hadn't seen them for 7 long years to clap along.

Altogether the Japanese audiences are fairly quiet, and as I later found out it was actually announced before the shows that they were expected to remain seated throughout the whole show..so no dancing here. After a nice version of 'Queen for a day' Ritchie announced the next number as a sing along piece-'Minstrel Hall'. Amongst the highlights of the show were 'Fires' and 'Ghost of a rose' and during the encores Ritchie actually played a short intro reminiscent of the 93 Battle Rages on tour before starting 'Difficult to cure'. The main set was ended with 'I still remember'. Candice mentioned Rainer Duda when introducing the song and I let them know it was actually his birthday that day…a very melancholy moment. You'll never be forgotten, my friend… 'Writing on the wall' featured the 'Burn' riff as usual, as well as the 'Woman from Tokyo' one, which was no big surprise in Japan. A fine show, of about 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Set list:Japan Oct 2004 © Rainer Klos

Intro Tape (Susatissimo)
Dome Pais
Intro, Cartouche
Queen for a day (1 & 2)
Minstrel Hall
Under a violet moon
Pastime with good company
Soldier of fortune
Durch den Wald zum Bach Haus
Diamonds and rust
Mr Peagram’s Morris and Sword
Home again
Fires at midnight
Renaissance faire
Ghost of a rose
Mondtanz/Child in time
The clock ticks on
I still remember

Encores:
All for one
Difficult to cure/Self portrait
Writing on the wall

2nd encore:
Now and then

Went back to the hotel with the band, met Jim and Tudor Rose to go out for drinks, but it was hard to find a pub that didn’t close at 11 pm (Felt a bit like England…early closing hours and very expensive beer). After having downed a copious amount of that barley juice (luckily Japanese beer is good) it was time to go back to the hotel to have a final drink there.

The next morning I was met by some Japanese fans and travelled to Hiroshima with them. Unlike German trains Japanese trains are efficient and always on time.

Hiroshima, Club Quattro, 19 October

The eve of the typhoon…

Having arrived at the hotel in Hiroshima I learned the rooms had been cancelled due to the approaching typhoon. Thus I made my way to the venue with all my luggage. The club was on the 10th floor of a department store building. It was a small venue, and for the first time since 1999 (if I recall correctly) I witnessed a Blackmore’s Night show without seats. Maybe the venue inspired Ritchie to rock things up a bit and as a result it was a very energetic show with nice moments on the strat and a wonderful version of ‘Diamonds and rust’.

The main set was once again acoustic only, and fairly short, but then we were in for a great bunch of encores. From this show on Under a violet moon was played as the third song in the set, before minstrel Hall. Interestingly ‘Mond Tanz/Child in time’ was played on the Strat, as Ritchie suddenly noticed he’d simply forgotten to play it during the main set. It certainly made the crowd go mad. He played very well, leaving everybody wondering whether there would be a solo or not…unfortunately we did not get the full solo, but it was fantastic, nevertheless. Actually all the encores were done on the Strat, including ‘Temple of the king’ (first verse only) AND (!) ‘Now and then’, of course with the volume turned down, to decrease the distortion.

During his solo part in ‘Writing on the wall’ Ritchie started playing ‘Black Night’. The band weren’t sure if this was only to be the riff being played, like the preceding ‘Burn’ and ‘Woman from Tokyo’ ones, or if was to be the song played. Ritchie decided to do the latter, but everybody was surprised and thus Candice missed the first two lines. When she got to the microphone she decided to start with the first line, which Ritchie disregarded-he went into the bridge while she was still singing the verse…quite a funny moment (now had this been Gillan on vocals it wouldn’t have been meant to be funny…). The show ended after a little less than two hours, which was actually more than I expected, given the fact that we had to get out of town, on our escape from the typhoon. After all the gear had been taken down we were taken down to the bus that had been hired to get us to Nagoya overnight.

Set list (hopefully in the right running order, I wrote it down after the show):

Intro/CartoucheJapan Oct 2004 © Rainer Klos
Queen for a day (1 & 2)
Under a violet moon
Minstrel Hall
Pastime with good company
Soldier of fortune
Durch den Wald zum Bach Haus
Diamonds and rust
Mr Peagram’s Morris and sword
Home again
Renaissance faire
The clock ticks on
I still remember

Encores:
All for one
Mond Tanz/Child in time
Difficult to cure/Self portrait
Temple of the king
Writing on the wall
Black Night
Now and then

Nagoya, Kinro Kaikan, 20 October

Typhoon day…

We checked in at our hotel at about 6 in the morning. Went out for a little walk to get some breakfast, and it was apparent there was a storm on its way-rain, and the wind was gradually getting stronger. Went to the venue in the afternoon and when having a look outside later the typhoon was there, though luckily not as strong as in other parts of Japan…and during the concert it changed its course, so by the time we left the venue everything was ok.

Unfortunately most trains got cancelled due to the typhoon, which meant there were a lot of empty seats in the venue, as the ticket-holders were unable to get transport to Nagoya. These transport problems were also the reason for the show being a short one, of only 90 minutes duration. There was no electric set, with ‘Still remember’ and ‘Midwinter’s Night/Dandelion Wine’ being the encores. It was nice to hear ‘Wind in the willows’ and ‘Avalon’ again. A short, but still very good concert. The set list was once again written after the show, so I hope the running order is correct.

Set list:

Intro/CartoucheJapan Oct 2004 © Rainer Klos
Queen for a day (1 & 2)
Under a violet moon
Minstrel Hall
Pastime with good company
Soldier of fortune
Durch den Wald zum Bach Haus
Diamonds and rust
Mr Peagram’s Morris and sword
Home again
Wind in the willows
Avalon
Renaissance faire
The clock ticks on

Encores:
I still remember
Midwinter’s Night/Dandelion wine

Despite the storm having been rehearsed it did not make it to any of the shows…though it would have been very appropriate that night… Rumours have it that some serious drinking was done after the show in Nagoya…with band and crew and some Japanese fans.

The next morning was a late breakfast at the Hard Rock, downing my obligatory ‘Hurricane’ and eventually getting on the bullet train to Tokyo. As this was a day off, I took my time, got together with Jim, met with other crew members and Carole and we went to the Tokyo Hard Rock, where they actually have some Ritchie memorabilia. Carole gave them the German bonus DVD and some video clips, so we actually got to see the entire DVD, the clips of ‘Mandalay’ and ‘Once in a million years’. Later we were also treated with some Rainbow and Deep Purple songs (no videos here).

Tokyo, Shibuya Kokaido, 22 & 23 October

The next day I went to the venue early with the crew, had a quick look around the busy Shibuya district, and witnessed all the gear being set up. Mr Kawakami, who built many of Ritchie’s guitars, came to do some work on one of them (in Nagoya he had given Ritchie a new mandolin-8 string). Many press people were present (even MTV) and apparently all of them loved the show. I simply forgot to write down the set lists of the two Tokyo concerts, so I’ll just give you a short summary of my recollections:

Both nights were shows of 2 and a half hours, both of really excellent quality. It’s hard to say if one was better than the other. ‘Fires at midnight’ and ‘ghost of a rose’ were played again and besides the regular set 'Avalon' was done, as well as ’since you been gone’, ‘black night’, to name just a few.

The second night they included the first verse of ‘woman from Tokyo’ in home again..(I wasn’t surprised, especially after having been asked if I knew the words that same day). Later the Blackmore blues preceded another electric version of ’temple of the king’-this time done with a full solo, like back in 1995!

Other noteworthy facts of the Tokyo days: The second show began at 5pm(!), had the earthquakes as a special effect…quite scary, if you’re not used to it. After the show we were invited at Mr UDO’s private restaurant..that was a very special moment, too, meeting the man who brought all the big acts to Japan.

All in all, the trip to Japan was more than worth it, I want to thank everybody of the Blackmore’s Night camp for their help.

© 2004 Rainer Klos

A special thanks to Rainer Klos of the German Fan Club who gave us permission to reprint his report.


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