USA 2004

Long Island | Long Island (2) | Chicago | Glenside | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh (2) | Lakewood | Lakewood (2)

Lakewood (3)

Ruby's, Long Island, NY 2 December

I feel as if I just awoke from a dream. I was one of the lucky people invited to attend the special Blackmore's Night Christmas Renaissance dinner and it was AMAZING! A separate invitation went out to all the Street Team Members from David Hall about a week before the general announcement was made in the newsletter for the 50 additional people to attend. I was so completely stunned and thrilled when I received the e-mail and I knew I was going to do what ever it took to make sure I was there! I do want to warn this is very long, but there is so much to tell.

Outside Ruby's © 2004 Dorrine RobertshawWe arrived in Long Island on Thursday morning, rented a car and drove to the picturesque little town of Port Jefferson where the venue was being held. There are really only two hotels in this town and most of us were all staying at the Danford Inn which is located directly on the Sound. David had suggested we all get together in the bar around 5:00 P.M. to hook up with each other. It was really nice getting to meet the other Street Team Members, all of us having in common our love for Blackmore's Night and the complete elation of just being there.

The dinner took place at 7:30 P.M. at a cosy little place called Ruby's. I believe this is the new haunt of Ritchie and Candice since the Normandy Inn closed down. It is near their home and I understand they have held other similar gatherings here. As you walk in the door, there is a large bar to the right, some stairs to the upper level in the middle and the dining and stage area to the left. It is not a very big place making the surroundings very intimate. We were disappointed to discover that no cameras, digital or otherwise, were going to be allowed during the performance with threat of your camera being confiscated! This was a bit of a bummer, but we discovered during the intermission, they did allow for picture-taking.

The dinner, itself, was done in "Medieval Times" style. We were given a glass of what tasted like warm mulled cider. Next we were served a veal broth in a crock. No silverware was laid out. Everything had to be eaten with the hands. Next, costumed wenches and monks walked around with big platters of various meats that consisted of ribs, shrimp kabobs, chicken and fish. Also passed was a platter of marinated asparagus and roasted potatoes. For dessert, platters of various fruits. You could take as much as you liked and the food tasted very good. During the whole dinner, the band was not present. They were seated upstairs but every once in awhile we noticed a golden mane of hair and a curly dark head peeking over the rail. Could this be the King and Queen looking down upon their faithful subjects?!

Dorrine & Bob © 2004 Dorrine RobertshawThen it was time for the show. Thanks to David Hall, who gave up his seat to give to my guest and myself, we were directly seated in front of Candice and Ritchie. If I had leaned over and extended my arm I would be touching Candice that is how close we were! We sincerely appreciated this gesture of David's! Candice, was beautiful, of course, dressed in dark maroon and textured skirts with gold coins of several layers around her waist, gypsy style! They started the concert with Cartouche followed by Avalon, Past Times with Good Company, then Queen for a Day I& II. It was all very casual and light-hearted. In between songs, Candice would tease and banter with Ritchie. One of her good-natured remarks was "Ritchie collects guitars like women collect shoes". I tried to keep a list of the songs being sung. Between the darkness of the room and the fact that I didn't want to appear rude taking notes right there in front of them while they were performing, my chicken scratching were barley legible. From what I can read of my notes the songs that followed were Under a Violet Moon, Soldier of Fortune, Beyond the Sunset, Bach Haus, Home Again, and Wind in the Willows. Fires at Midnight was played with much passion, but when Robert of Normandy and Ritchie went to do their instrumental jam, Ritchie broke a nail and it was cut a little short. Later Ritchie was seen filing his fingernail on stage and Candice could not help but teasingly make a joke about this causing the audience to burst into laughter!

Ritchie decided he wanted to play a Christmas song next so we were treated to We Three Kings, then they took an Intermission. During this time, they walked around and mingled with the guests. I was ecstatic to get my picture taken with Candice and also with the Sisters of the Moon. They are so incredibly nice! I also got Robert of Normandy to pose with me. Unfortunately, I was unable to obtain one with Ritchie. He was at the bar and there were too many people gathered around him talking. I didn't want to be intrusive asking for a picture with him!

Dorrine & Candice © 2004 Dorrine RobertshawComing back from intermission, we heard Nur Eine Minute, Diamonds and Rust, Ghost of a Rose, Renaissance Faire, and Still Remember. The Sisters of the Moon then did a beautiful solo of Holy Night. They really do have incredible voices! This set the mood for more Christmas songs and we heard Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Emanuel, and Christmas Eve. The evening wound down with Times They Are A Changin’, Minstrel Hall, Come all Ye Faithful and Dandelion Wine. They left the stage and the audience gave a standing ovation, clapping for more until they reappeared, and we received our encore of Mid Winters Night. After this, they left the stage, went up the stairs and did not come down again! It was an unbelievably magical night!

The icing on the cake for me, was, earlier in the evening when I went up to speak with Candice, I also gave her a small gift to thank her for inviting us to this wonderful night! I had completely forgotten that in hopes of getting an autograph, I had put two CD's of theirs in the bag with the gift. We were about to walk out the door when one of the "bouncers" came down the stairs calling out our names, holding the CD's in his hand. We walked out with our autographed CD's as a memento from the most incredible night of our lives! I am still pinching myself!

Dorrine Robertshaw

Ruby's, Long Island, NY 2 December

Just got back from the Blackmore's Night Holiday Show at Ruby's Long Island New York. This was a great night! My sister and I came over from Connecticut on the Ferry and arrived at Port Jefferson. We were not sure what to expect, last time we came to Ruby's it was a very small group they played for about an hour then we hung around talking with Ritchie and Candice. Last night was a little more formal.

Dorrine & the sisters © 2004 Dorrine RobertshawThey closed the place down for this event. Let us in a 7:30 - if on ”the List" We were greeted to the restaurant decked out in Holiday Renaissance Style! The were banners, greens and candles all around. The staff was even dressed up. We sat down and had our Holiday Feast. They gave us a cider drink in Skeleton glasses! We proceeded to have a dinner consisting of various roasted meats, vegetables and seafood. To finish it off they served fruit. A knife was given - no forks!! It put us all in the proper mood. It was great to meet and talk to everyone like Joe, Dot, Josh, Gil, David....

They played about two hours broken up into two sets. The first set was mostly their songs and Candice kept commenting that this was not what they had been practicing. They had practiced more Holiday songs! The second set had more Holiday Songs. They all sounded great - cries for Mandalay and Loreley were not answered! He almost started the Storm but Candice said no. It is great to hear them in this intimate and acoustic setting. Thanks to them and Carole putting on this show!

The set list as I remember:

Past Times With Good CompanyRitchie's guitars © 2004 Dorrine Robertshaw
Soldier Of Fortune
Wind and the Willows
Under A Violet Moon
Durch den Wald Zum Bach Haus
Fires At Midnight
Diamonds And Rust
Ghost Of A Rose
Renaissance Faire
Home Again
Queen For A Day 1 & 2
I Still Remember
Minstrel Hall
Possum Goes To Prague (?)
Midwinter's Night
The Times They Are A Changin’
Dandelion Wine
We Three Kings
O Holy Night - Sisters of the Moon
Christmas Eve
O Come all Ye Faithful
Hark the Herald

Happy Holiday!
Tim from Connecticut, USA

Congress Theatre, Chicago, IL 25 September

We arrived at the Congress Theater around 7:00 P.M. (The show started at 8:00 P.M.) I was really happily surprised at the number of people who were in costume. I would say a good 30% maybe. I immediately spotted David Hall from the picture he had sent and went up to introduce myself. He told me, he would come down to get me and my friend Terry in about 20 minutes. Just as David had come down to get us, the security people then came out and announced anyone wearing costumes were to follow him, and he lead us all into the outer lobby of the theater. Everyone was informed they would get first choice of seating in the theater. Then they let all the costumed people into a larger lobby area where there were two bars serving drinks. People could wander and browse the merchandise table and have a drink if they wanted. The "none" Costumed people were still outside standing in line. When the doors were opened to the actual theater area, David Hall gathered me, my friend and 4 others and led us all the way down to the very middle front 2 rows, reserved for VIP. We were absolutely stunned!!! I was so ecstatic, I could not believe we were getting such special treatment!!! Tatechi Masami (also known as Ten) was sitting in the first seat. He is the Japanese man who has attended every single Blackmore's night concert since the very beginning. We started talking to everyone who was lucky enough to be sitting in these "special" seats. Everyone was so nice. David Hall was telling us that at certain times, he would give the signal, and we were to all get up and dance.

As far as the scenery, there wasn't a whole lot. There were three long panels on each side of the stage, painted to look like stone and tudor sides of a building, kind of giving the feeling of standing outside on a street surrounded by medieval architecture. The backdrop was just a kind of blank black screen. I thought, perhaps, they were going to show one of their videos on it, but they didn't. There were the usual hay bales and barrels strewn about the stage to cover the modern-day equipment, but that was basically it.

Now, for the concert itself........simply, it was awesome!!! I started to keep track of the songs writing them down, but my efforts were abandoned as I got more caught up in the excitement of the show!! The opening act was The Sisters of the Moon singing acapella later to be joined by Bard David for one of the songs. They are really exceptional singers. I never realized how well they sang because you only just barely hear them on the CDs in the back round. But they really are talented. They sang some opera type song (don't know the name of it) and also another song about a Lion and a Unicorn. The audience gave them a very warm applause and you could tell they were pleased by the response. The one great thing about sitting so close is you can see all the facial expressions!!!

Then Candice and Ritchie came out and started the show with "Cartouche".

The next songs sang, in order were:

Play Minstrel Play, Under a Violet Moon, Minstrel Hall, and Past Times W/Good Company. The audience was very exuberant and you could tell that Ritchie was in a great mood....smiling and joking. What happened next was a complete surprise. Someone in the audience requested "Temple of the King" I think that's the name of it. You have to excuse my ignorance as I am not that familiar with Ritchie’s other songs from his past bands. Ritchie started to play this request, and you could tell from her expression, that even Candice was surprised. The audience went wild, of course, and then they followed it up with Soldier of Fortune and 16th Century Green Sleeves putting the audience into a virtual frenzy. Apparently, Ritchie doesn't normally drag out the electric guitar until the end the show, but he was really having a good time and he wanted to rock!!! Everyone was just in awe. Following all of this excitement was Mr. Peagram’s Morris and Sword. Candice then told everyone of her meeting Joan Baez while on tour and she went into a very heart-felt Diamonds and Rust. Everyone was thunderously applauding and after this song, Candice left the stage to let "Tudor Rose" do her thing with Durch den Wald Zum Bach Haus.

Next were "Home Again" and Ritchie, again being in a very good mood and kidding around started playing "Valerie, Valera" everyone was laughing and singing along!!! Ritchie then started passing out the beers to the people standing off to the left in front of the stage. Candice, teasingly, reprimanded him for being unfair only giving beers to the people on the left side of the stage, and what about all the other people!!!

Following all of this, they next played "Fires at Midnight" tacking on a very nice long instrumental with Ritchie and Robert of Normandy playing their hearts out. Renaissance Faire was next, and it is at this point that I have no order of things, because David Hall rousted us all to get up and dance, Candice, dedicating this song to all those who took the trouble to dress up. I still Remember, was the next song that followed and then comes the "BLUR". I believe the next song may have been "All for one" which got the crowd going even more and I know Ritchie played several more Deep Purple and Rainbow songs. They played "Child in Time, and (I think) Black Night, and another song that I did not know the name of. Everything was pretty wild by then. We were no longer in our seats and everyone had sort of pushed up behind us, all singing and clapping and cheering.

I know there were three encores. They played Rainbow Blues and Writing on the Wall and a bunch of others that I cannot recall, and finally ended with Dandelion Wine and Now and Then. Somebody from the audience yelled "Beautiful Candice" and you could see the expression on her face was quite appreciative. It's as if she can't believe that she is getting these compliments. She is so humble and sweet not to mention beautiful and enormously talented. What a couple they make. And what a show they put on!!!!! It ended around 11:00 PM giving us about 2-1/2 Hours an uninterrupted bliss!! I cannot even begin to tell you how excited and awe-struck we were after this show.

I later asked someone who had been to the Milwaukee show the night before how the Chicago show compared, and they said the Chicago show was far far better. I was not there, so I cannot say more about the Milwaukee show. I know there were far fewer people and that the show did not last as long.

As the final icing on the cake. We met up with Mr. Masami on the way out and learned that he had no transportation back to his hotel. We offered to take him in our car and he was so appreciative and thankful that he gave us a recent special edition copy of Burrrn Magazine that contains a big long interview and color pictures of Ritchie and Candice. Apparently, you cannot easily get this magazine and many fans ask him to bring copies of the magazine to them when visiting. Though the magazine is all in Japanese, I unfortunately cannot read the article (I will have to somehow get this interpreted) but I really treasure this as a keepsake and felt it was really sweet of this man, who I only just met that night, to be so gracious!!

It was truly a magical night!!!!!

Dorrine Robertshaw

Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA 19 September

After entering the theatre we were met by John4RB and his son Chris. It was nice meeting you guys. The wife was in a hurry to visit the ladies room so I'm sorry we were cut short. We had also heard that Ritchie and Candice were both sick during the week. Candice was being sick for the Harrisburg show on Wednesday night, but the band, and Ritchie in particular, more than picking up the slack with extended solos and playing tunes which wouldn't play too hard on her voice and keeping up the quality of the performance.

Then by Friday night in Patchogue L.I., it was Ritchie’s turn, but reports were of another stellar performance. Ritchie and Candice showed no signs of the colds that had been dogging them during the week. Ritchie, from the start showed no signs of being hounded by any illness and was quite the showman and master of ceremonies while Candice, as usual, sang flawlessly and with so much emotion and stagemanship that rivals any of her peers. Of course her star shines no brighter than when she is called upon to sing Diamonds and Rust.

Unfortunately, most folks attending or coming over from the NYC area and Patchogue show ran into some sort of trouble and delays due to the beating that we took in the form of Hurricane Ivan. Many towns and roads/highways were closed and detoured. Because of the storm, the theatre was only about 3/4 full and I can honestly say that it's mostly due to the weather because when I ordered my tickets, they had been on sale for a few weeks and I snatched the best seats available but noticed some seats up front which were vacant and offered to some of those who came dressed for the occasion.

Only minor changes to the set list from last springs jaunt along the east coast. However there were some surprises in the form of Child In Time, The Star Spangled Banner and an unaccompanied solo from Ritchie during FAM. Child In Time (played in Pittsburgh last spring which I missed) being played in the middle of Praterious when Ritchie broke into the tune by playing Jon Lords opening lines on top of his own bass line. I always tend to look at songs as how they are presented without any prejudice from other versions and if the song can hold water on it's own without comparisons then it works for me. As does Soldier of Fortune. Not surprisingly, CIT worked the way it was presented. Candice does an excellent job on the lyrical part as RB changed over to a nice acoustic slide accompaniment and Sisters of the Moon taking over for the operatic part. Of course if you are to compare it to Gillan’s screams of the 70's then it won't work for you, but if it were released without the prior knowledge of DP's CIT, it would work very well. I've never been one to give way to people’s disabilities and say "he sings good for someone who is 60 and drank and smoked all his life". If it's good on its own merit without excuses, then I am happy, and if it doesn't, I don't want to hear the excuses as I've paid good money for a cracking performance and nothing else will do. In this case when Candice announced that she and Ritchie were ill, there was no way of knowing it by their performances. It was a top notch show by any standard and that's how I judge it.

During Home Again, at the break, Ritchie broke into Hava Nagila only to have Candice interrupt with "wrong country dear", to which Ritchie replied with a sweet shortened version of our own Star Spangled Banner and was joined by the band and a standing ovation. It really sounded nice on the acoustic. Ritchie also took a solo spot during FAM after giving the band the quit sign so he can play some beautiful melodies over his own walking bass lines which was very impressive and eloquent.

There was no 16CG, but it was more than forgotten when Ritchie really stretched himself during his Strat solo to Writing On The Wall going back and forth from his slide to fingering and back again before breaking into the Burn riff and then some more soloing. His electric solos get better by the day, which seems almost an impossibility since it's his own bar by which we judge his work.

Other highlights include the virtuosity and comfort level of Tudor Rose within the band. The Sisters of the Moon delightful mimicking of Ritchie’s electric slide parts during Diamonds and Rust as well as their operatic excursions during Child In Time. Candy's version of CIT and Ritchie’s emotional slide work behind the vocal in the same song. Bard David doing his best Pavarotti impression at the end of his solo. Candy announcing a song and then recanting as Ritchie had other ideas in the form of Home Again.

Cheers to the crowd and its sense of humour when we were asked for requests. The most notable being Ritchie’s most famous riff..."Iron Man". Also on a side note. Thanks to all of those who continually fawned over my 21 month old son in his pillaging outfit. I was never so proud of him. He was standing on the edge of his chair the whole performance and let out a scream of delight which the whole theatre heard, including Candice when she announced FAM. Like father like son. My first concert was of Ritchie Blackmore back in the 70's and this was his first concert which he enjoyed tremendously.

Set list: (in no particular order excepting the encores)

Minstrel Hall
Queen For A Day Pt I & II
Home Again (Hava Nagilla/Star Spangled Banner)
I Still Remember
Hanging Tree
Fires At Midnight
Under A Violet Moon
Diamonds and Rust
Ghost Of The Rose (final song of the set)
Soldier Of Fortune
Pratorious Courante (Child In Time)
Morning Star

Clock Ticks On (RB playing the Hurdy Gurdy)
All for One
Writing on the Wall (Burn)

For some reason I think I may be missing a tune or two.

Brian Stephen

Rex Theater, Pittsburgh, PA 14 May

The Lakewood show represents what Blackmore's Night has developed into, and they just keep getting better and better.

The Rex Theatre was small, the stage was small, the air conditioning either didn't exist or didn't work, but the audience was absolutely awesome, there was a serious chemistry in the air. All the little difficulties at the Lakewood show were fixed, and Ritchie & company had a special surprise in store at that show - Child in Time. I couldn't believe my ears ! The show was spectacular on a scale that rivals the shows in Germany - I'm serious. It was a magical night - I'm still going WOW ! The audience participation in Renaissance Faire was so great that Candice looked at me after the song and said "You can tell your friends in the German Fan Club that this night was the best (audience) ever, even better than the Germany performances (audience)". That is really saying something, and the whole night was like this.

David Hall

Rex Theater, Pittsburgh, PA 14 May

I went to the Blackmores Night show at the Rex Theater in Pittsburgh Friday night and thought I would share the experience with you all.

I arrived at the theater at 7:00, the time the doors were scheduled to open. I was hoping to get there earlier, but it was the best I could do flying in from Atlanta on a Friday afternoon. There was already a line around the corner when I approached. Fortunately, there was also a line on the other side of the theater for those dressed in Renaissance costume. This line was only twelve deep at the time. The doors did not open at the scheduled time. Since the temperature outside was about 86 degrees on an unseasonably hot day in Pittsburgh, the folks in line were getting anxious, I believe both about the heat and also in anticipation of the show. A fellow from the theater security came out and informed us that they were not opening the doors yet as there were problems with the air conditioning inside. My first thought was, no air conditioning on a hot day, would result in no show, or a late start would result in an abbreviated performance. Finally the doors opened just after 7:30.

I was fortunate to get a third row seat on the right side, perfect for a view of TMIB. It was balmy in the theater as the air conditioning was still not in order, and the warm up band (no pun intended), Empty Hats, were already on stage struggling with their sound check as there were problems with the sound system. It was not working. Things were not looking good. Empty Hats was scheduled to start at 8:00, but it was not happening. My concern was the sound would never get working and there would be no show, or again, the delay would shorten the show. Did I mention it was getting hotter?

Finally the crew got the sound system in order around 8:25 and Empty Hats gave an entertaining performance that ended just before 9:00. Blackmores Night took the stage about 9:15 opening with Cartouche. The audio systems were working well, and Candice sounded great.

It was very warm in the theater, and my guess was the air conditioning was either not functioning or intermittent at best. The crowd in the rear of the theater was standing room only which I'm sure did not help the issue with the temperature. The audience was very active and getting into the show and we were all working up a pretty good sweat. Candice commented once about the heat, but she and the band seemed to be working through it just fine. Candice truly has a great rapport with the audience, and provides additional enjoyment with her banter with Ritchie on stage. This is a show in itself and quite entertaining to witness someone throwing jabs at TMIB, and for him to take it all in good steed. My concerns about the heat impacting the length or quality of the show were proved to be unwarranted. As the show progressed it seemed both the audience and the band fed off each other and the heat, and no one cared anymore. It actually seemed to add to the party atmosphere. Ritchie was intent about delivering the goods this evening and everyone responded in kind.

During the performance of Minstrel Hall, a lady in the audience began to applaud prematurely during a pause in the song. Ritchie looked in her direction and with a finger to his lips requested silence. When the song concluded, looking in the same direction, he clapped his hands together, indicating it was now time to applaud.

Around mid show, during a break between songs, a lady, possibly the same one mentioned above, rushed the stage and screamed quite loudly and several times, requesting Lalena and Child In Time, and retreated to her seat. I thought this could be a potential mood breaker, as the band and the entire theater heard this and it seemed to create a brief pause in the merriment. I watched her return to her seat and had a thought about muzzling her (although I had to give her some credit for the Lalena request as it varied somewhat from the basic Smoke On The Water, Highway Star screams typically heard during these shows). I saw one of the band's crew go over to her and he seemed to be politely informing her to cease her outbursts. Before the band continued, Ritchie came to the edge of the stage, looked in her direction and inquired as to who initiated the disturbance. At this time I was hoping the show wouldn't take a turn for the worse, as the performance was awesome up to this point. The band then began to play a rousing rendition of Mond Tanz, one of my favorites, and when there was a pause in the song, Ritchie began to play the opening chords from Child In Time. I thought it would be just a tease, but he continued to play, and Candice then joined in and sang the entire song along with the audience, before returning to the conclusion of Mond Tanz. It was incredible.

This was the sixth time that I have seen Blackmores Night and I would say without question was the best show of them all. They played non stop, finishing up at 11:25, over two hours. There were many high points during the show. The main highlights that stood out for me were Minstrel Hall, Ritchie's solo during Fires At Midnight (a masterpiece), Candice singing Diamonds and Rust, the break into Child In Time during the middle of Mond Tanz, and the last segment of the show, consisting of the encores when Ritchie employed heavy use of the Stratocaster with amazing guitar work that only TMIB can deliver. Some of the solos during the encore were extended for several minutes as the band stepped back and Ritchie had full command of the stage and his Strat. As much as I enjoyed the show up to this point, this was the icing on the cake. The man has no peers in this realm, and as he built and progressed through each solo it was evidence of the work of an artist exercising the mastery of his craft. Simply put, this was a performance by the greatest guitarist on earth.

The set list as best I can remember and not necessarily in order was:

Play Minstrel Play
Minstrel Hall
Soldier Of Fortune
Durch Den Wald Zum Bach Haus
Wind In The Willows
16th Century Greensleeves
Diamonds And Rust
Under A Violet Moon
Fires At Midnight
Renaissance Fair
Clock Ticks On
Mond Tanz
Child In Time
Home Again
Star Spangled Banner
All For One
Writing On The Wall
Village On The Sand

John Tramontanis

Strand Theater, Lakewood, NJ 13 May

Ok now here's my review for Thursdays Lakewood show. First off, The town of Lakewood has a lot to be desired, there was no bars at all. I had to drive about 40 minutes before I could get a bite to eat. Ended up in Point Pleasant for a few beers and some chow. So the fact that no alcohol was being served in The Strand put a bit of a damper on my mood right off the bat. But walking into the Strand, I must say it was a truley beautiful concert hall.

I was looking foward to this show and when the EMPTY HATS BAND came on I was in a jolly mood, I thought they were quite good and the leader possessed a very good voice, although the sound was a little garbeled. Then the fattest guy In the theater sits next to me, and took up a chair and a half, which put my sober self back into a state of moody! There were two guys in front of me that were obviously there to see Mr Blackmore rock, dressed in biker T shirts and leather gear. I wanted to keep an eye on them to see if they were enjoying the show.

The lights go down and on comes our hero in all his glory. The sounds was a bit better and on with he show we go.

I enjoyed the first few numbers but I must say by 20 minutes into the set I was already getting bored as the feels of the tunes and a few melodies were already repeating. I look over and see the biker guys with there arms crossed and looking a little disapointed.

An hour goes by untill Ritchie finally plugs in for Greensleeves and I can finally here that wonderful tone of his. During the whole first part of this show there was a guy in a purple medival shit and leather pants looking very much like FEET O FLAMES that keeps standing up blocking our view. The biker guys look like they want to rip him and his get-up to shreads! I must admit he was a little annoying.

So Greensleeves rocked us up, brought the people and the volume to a new height.The problem is that Ritchie now puts the strat down and now we go back to more mid tempo acoustic music, much of it the same again.

I must say Candie was strong the whole night, much better then pasted BN shows. The 2 back up singers were great 2 really complimenting her.

All In all a very enjoyable show but I must say it was a bit one dimentional as many of the tunes did not vary in tempos and as I said before those melodies were similar. The musician ship was very good but I wish the keyboards would have had more features as well as the violinist. I think with the 2 back up singers a vocal accapella piece would have been great too. In the 4 years I've seen this band I really felt like they have not grown allot musically.

My main thing is they didn't mix it up enough. If you like Ritchies electric playing you had to wait till the end, kind of like if you go see Deep Purple, you have to see the whole show to get to the hits. I'm not like that, but I wonder what the biker guys thought?

Fender Boy

Strand Theater, Lakewood, NJ 13 May

Well.. Ritchie Blackmore has done it again. Everytime I think I've seen him at his best, he manages to outdo himself. Thursday, May 13th in Lakewood NJ is proof of that. This is the show I've been waiting to see Blackmores Night play since it's inception. I've seen quite a few shows, and while each one has had it's highlights in different areas, this one combined the best of all those shows and surpassed the level of excitement of all put together.

It actually promised, from the start, to be one of those shows where you think Ritchie is going to be in a bad mood and just put on a standard show, which by all standards is still worth it's weight in gold.

There seemed to be some problems that was concerning Ritchie from the start, opening with "Cartouche". He was distracted from the song at hand and kept slipping behind the PA system to see if he can correct whatever problem he was facing. As far as I could tell there were no problems with the sound coming out at the audience so I'm only guessing it had to do with his own monitoring system. As it was, "Cartouche" and "Play Minstrel Play" were just average run throughs while the crew worked on the problem. It may have also been Candice's mix, as when the band played some of the more aggressive bits, she was a little low in the mix.

By the time Ritchie started noodling around to begin "Minstrel Hall", any problems that were bothering him before, were now history.

As we all know, little idiosynchrosies like this can really toss a wrench into the workings, and it was my biggest fear moving forward. But MH was the turning point towards one of the most incredible shows I have ever been witness to.

As the show moved forward, Ritchie became more outward and expressive with his solos and fills. Candice, as usual, was her own bubbly outgoing personable self taking jabs at Ritchie throughout the show and asking for requests, which of course go unheeded because Ritchie already has his mind made up anyway. But it's always fun to shout out your favorites regardless. There were calls for Temple of The King, Greensleeves and Run With The Wolf got a few chuckles as well as my own request just to play everything louder than everything else. But the one that hit Ritchie was Gates Of Babylon, which he used as the ongoing joke for the rest of the evening, instructing Candice to introduce each song as a newer updated version of GOB. However, after numerous new versions of GOB, Candice finally put an end to it by announcing that it was funny the first hundred times.

There was nothing new about the set and all of the standards were played as well as Wind In The Willows.

There is a new Violinist in the band. Unfortunately she was not properly introduced, but she seemed much more at home within the context and fun spirit of the band than Lord Marnen was. To me, he seemed like a deer caught in the headlights on stage, while the new girl was really having fun. She is every bit as competent as Marnen and also Chris Devine. She knew the material very well and complimented Ritchie just perfectly.

I was beginning to wonder whether the White Fender Custom Shop Strat would make an appearance. But late in the show, much to everyones delight, Ritchie finally strapped in on and let fly with 16CG. To me it seemed as if he were holding back all of this energy. Although all of his solos were of the highest Blackmore standards with his acoustic work adding some very flashy classical/Spanish flavor which I love, to his intros and fills, when he strapped on the Strat, all hell broke loose and he was a man possessed. It was as if he'd been waiting the whole show to finally let it rip. And let it rip he did. Now I have seen TMIB several times on every tour since 1976, but have never seen the man eclipse the way he handled the Strat in Lakewood NJ. I had more chills running through my spine than a naked Eskimo at midnight in Alaska. From his extended solos in 16CG, to more extended solos in All For One, Difficult To Cure and Self Portrait, he seemed like he didn't want to stop and seemingly played forever. I was in Eternal Stratocaster Heaven. And during Writing On The Wall, after building our fluids and heightening our senses with the most beautiful acoustic foreplay, we all came to orgasmic submission when we burned with the wave of his hand.

I brought along my 17 year old nephew to the show after my wife couldn't make it. He loves the newer generation of rockers like POD and Godsmack, but plays in his school band and has an appreciation for good music as well as the aforementioned bands. I tried to clue him in as to what to expect, but to no avail. Afterwards, I asked him what he thought, and he said, "it wasn't what I expected, it was awesome". I must say that while Ritchie was soloing during WOTW and standing next to my nephew who had just seen POD, knowing that he has never seen anyone play guitar like this before, I was never more proud to say that I am a huge fan of Blackmores Night. He also made mention of "that chic has an incredible voice" which of course is never more evident than on Diamonds and Rust.

It was also fantastic to see a lot of the familiar faces who share this one phenomenom and came from all over the world to witness this event. Just another notch in my belt when I was able to introduce my nephew to people from all walks of life throughout the world whom I have met in my Blackmore Fan Career and as we walked by the backstage entrance to have Carole recognize me and say hello was a real treat.

Once again, as with most Blackmore shows, a night I will never forget.

Set list: (in no particular order and running time just over two hours)

Minstrel Hall
Play Minstrel Play
Durch Den Wald Zum Bach Haus
Mr Peagrams Morris And Sword
Under A Violet Moon
Fires At Midnight
I Still Remember
Diamonds And Rust
Self Portrait
Difficult To Cure
Writing On The Wall
Past Times With Good Company
All For One
Clock Ticks On (with bagpiper and Ritchies intro on the Hurdy Gurdy)
Rennaisance Faire
Ghost Of A Rose
16th Century Greensleeves
Soldier Of Fortune

Brian Stephen

Strand Theater, Lakewood, NJ 13 May

First, there were some improvements to the band since I saw them last year in Philadelphia, they added better back up singers, and the bass player had a thick sound.

However, the bass guitar was louder than Rithie's guitar throughout the whole concert.

After Ms. Knight sang "Soldier of Fortune," it was me who said, "Coverdale sends his regards." The band started to laugh at that and Ms. Knight looked directly at Ritchie to get his response. Unfortunately he was leaning over to fix his gear so I couldn't see his reaction. After that, I thought Ritchie was in a bad mood.

It was me who suggested "Gates of Babylon" when Ms. Knight asked for requests. Ms. Knight said, "What, like we will do the acoustic version of Gates of Bablylon?" And I yelled back "YEAH." At that point, Ritchie looked like he was thinking about playing it. Later, after playing a BN song, Ms. Knight asked "if that was the Gates of Babylon that I remembered?" I yelled "The solo is different." Which got a laugh from Ms. Knight.

I thought Ritchie was boring and uninspired last night. While his playing was good, it was the same he always plays. And he was quiet.
He looked bored and actually I thought he didn't want to be there.

Ritchie basically recycled the same songs from the Philadelphia concert, but the concert in Lakewood this time ended far too soon. At 11:00PM, where in Philly, they continued to play until 1:00 or 1:30PM. Of course Ritchie played the Burn riff but he always does just to keep us Purple fans happy. Although where was the rest of the song??

I don't think Ritchie has improved on his playing since he started Blackmore's Night, as a matter of fact, he was more inspired when I saw him in 1999 in Long Island. And LOUDER.

At one point during the Lakewood concert, some of the fans in the Balcony started to sing "Mistreated." I don't think they were far off the mark last night because in my opinion, we were. Ritchie and Ms. Knight closed the concert by signing some autographs and running off stage... gee thanks guys.

This band has become the Candace Knight band, and Blackmore is a shadow of the hard rock guitarist that he once was. I wont ever see him again until he goes back to playing in that style. I left the Lakewood concert last night feeling empty and ripped off for my money.

John in NJ 4u






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