Blackmore's Night

Live at The Reading Concert Hall
Reading, Berkshire, England
30 September 2001

Concert Review

In the intimate surroundings of Reading Concert hall—in the recently refurbished Reading Town Hall—Blackmore’s Night took us on a musica l journey through the ages. With a stage set resembling castle ramparts and torch flame effects providing a medieval backdrop for the concert, the audience, many of whom were dressed in medieval costumes, were entranced by the guitar skills of the legendary Ritchie Blackmore and the equally impressive vocal talents of Candice Night.

Following the earlier set from the progressive rock band Mostly Autumn, the audience was taken on a musical discovery from 14th Century Spain, through provincial France, right up to the more recent 'Purple' times. Ritchie, surrounded by an array of guitars, lutes and mandolins, provided the icing to the excellent musical accompaniment of Chris Devine on electric and acoustic violin, mandolin, and guitar, and Carmine Giglio on keyboards.

Candice, stunning in her purple medieval costume, maintained a close connection with the loyal audience throughout the performance, providing a brief history to each of the tracks with some interesting and sometimes witty anecdotes about them. Audience participation appeared high on the band’s motivation, especially with this being the last of the band’s concerts in Ritchie’s home country. Mid-way through the set members of the audience joined the band on stage for the popular "Coming Home" and a number of times we were asked to choose the next offering from the band.

The concert flowed effortlessly, tracks often beginning quietly before developing into a rocking instrumental, the band playing classics from all three of their albums, Shadow of the Moon, Under a Violet Moon and Fires at Midnight to widespread acclaim. The title track to their second album "Under a Violet Moon" and "Storm" rocked the audience and displayed the legendary talents of the band’s famous guitar hero.

"Minstrel’s Hall," "Catherine Howard’s Fate" and "Play Minstrel Play" gave the opportunity for the whole band to show off their musical talents in a mixture of styles and tempos that kept the audience enraptured.

For those loyal Blackmore fans in the audience out came the old faithful Fender strat for a sprinkling of classic Blackmore composed Rainbow and 'Purple' tracks, which were sensually sung by Candice leaving us all remembering those classic rock years with nostalgia. Ritchie even performed the Dylan favourite "Times Are A Changin," with that infamous Blackmore’s Night sound, again superbly supported by Candice’s sensitive vocal delivery.

As the two-hour performance drew to its inevitable close there was widespread applause throughout concluding with a thunderous audience response. The latest Blackmore’s Night album will delight current enthusiasts, further expand the band's following and remind us all of the guitar talents of this legendary rock hero.

[Editor's Note: This is the first of a multi-part feature on Blackmore's Night. Our review of the band's entire catalog and exclusive Musical Discoveries interview with Candice Night is available here.]


Review © Geoff Haylor 2001
A special thanks to Musical Discoveries for allowing us to reproduce their interview