November 6, 2007
Blackmore has long been known as the masterful guitarist of two
of the most legendary bands in rock music - Deep Purple and Rainbow.
But close followers of the guitarist will tell you that the work
with his current band, Blackmore's Night, is his most adventurous
excursion yet. Blackmore, singer Candice Night, and their merry
band of minstrels have been knocking out their unique brand of Renaissance
music for over 10 years now. I recently had an opportunity to see
the band at House Of Blues in Chicago, and at the end of the show
I remember wishing I had a recording of some kind. Well, wishes
do come true in many different ways, as this spectacular DVD, "Paris
Moon," captures the band live in Paris, just as they were that
night in Chicago - at their very best.
Now, you would think that guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore would
be the focal point of the band's live shows. A funny thing seems
to happen at a Blackmore's Night concert though, and her name is
Candice Night. With the voice of an angel, and exquisite beauty
to match, Candice Night plays the most gracious of hostesses here,
and never once finds herself being overshadowed by the guitar god.
You get a true sense of comfort radiating from both Ritchie and
Candice as they gently interact here. You can clearly see the love
and respect that they have for each other, and the love and respect
that they have for the music.
The concert often plays like a raucous night at an English pub,
especially during the sing along tune, "Home Again." After
Night comically points out Blackmore's divorce history in verse,
keyboardist Bard David of Larchmont belts out a drinking song. The
crowd rises to its feet and claps and sings along with great fervor,
and it is then that the spirit of the music really takes flight.
Other great moments of stein swinging crowd participation are "Renaissance
Faire," "Under A Violet Moon," and "Loreley."
When the band isn't inciting the crowd, they can be found doing
songs like "World Of Stone" with an intense ferocity.
After watching the performance of the latter, you have to ask if
there has ever been a more well written song. It is just a spine
The band does run through a couple of cover songs during the set,
but they might not be what you might expect. The Deep Purple song
that the band chooses to cover is one that comes from David Coverdale's
time in the band. It's the great ballad, "Soldier Of Fortune,"
and Candice Night makes it her very own thing of beauty. Jethro
Tull's "Rainbow Blues" and the Joan Baez classic, "Diamonds
And Rust," go off just as perfectly. Look for a few instrumentals
that'll just rock your socks off, too. Besides an amazing keyboard
solo just past the middle of the set, you can find an extremely
impressive bass jam by Sir Robert of Normandie during "Durch
Den Wald Zum Bachaus."
Numerous times throughout the concert we see Night picking up various
Renaissance woodwind instruments and playing them with perfection.
Candice Night is someone you can't take your eyes off of. She is
also someone that melts your heart when she sings. Perfect tone
and incredible vocal strength are abound throughout each and every
track here. Gillan......Dio.......Joe Lynn Turner......they were
all a great fit for Blackmore, but Night just might compliment Ritchie's
playing better than anyone.
Toward the end of the set, which runs over 2 hours in length, we
see Blackmore trade in his acoustic classical guitars and opt for
the cream colored strat that he is so famous for. As he cranks out
the complex solo of "Ariel," and he hits the heavy chords
of "Saint Teresa" from their latest "Village Lanterne"
release, it's a real thrill to watch the man with the smoothest
left hand in the business do his thing. Blackmore's playing has
only gotten better over the years. Playing the diverse material
of Blackmore's Night affords the listener a very broad spectrum
of style. Blackmore can be seen and heard playing everything from
classical to blues in this show, and it's a real treat when it's
done by the best in the business.
The package itself defines elegance in every way. Besides content,
of which there is plenty, the box is designed to open like an old
and worn book. When you remove this "book" from the outer
sleeve, it unfolds to reveal a booklet with photos and lyrics, as
well as an 11-track audio CD in addition to the DVD. It's really
an elegant package to hold in your hands.
It turns out that my Blackmore's Night concert experience is quite
an interesting one, and allow me to explain why that is. When I
arrived at House Of Blues that night, it seemed that Live Nation
and the venue themselves had both sold seats for the show. It was
quite a mess, which found me starting on a bar stool that surrounded
the main floor, and ended with my happy hiney planted in the front
row after all the dust had settled. And it just so happens that
I was on Ritchie's side of the stage, and he ended up serving me
a beer in a beautiful pewter stein that has the band logo emblazoned
across the front, and "Village Lanterne" engraved on the
bottom. So, when I talk of "stein swinging crowd participation,"
I am speaking quite literally on my part. It truly was a night that
will last forever in my heart, as Ritchie has always been a hero
of mine. And, with this "Paris Moon" DVD, the wonderful
spirit of that night can be yours as well.
to Features |