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Blackmore's Night http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/e4/fd/de/Blackmores-Night-2013-Rocktopia-Live-Review-Thumb-31-1389642959.jpg Hot

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Blackmore's Night - Mill Volvo Theatre, Newcastle (UK) - 28th June 2013

They said that it would never last, that it was just a passing fad before Ritchie Blackmore re-joined Deep Purple or reassembled yet another line-up of Rainbow. Yet here we are 16 years later and with their eighth studio album, 'Dancer And The Moon' hot off the press, Blackmore's Night show no signs of letting up with their unique brand of Renaissance influenced Folk Rock.

While other bands from the 70's seem satisfied to slog around the nostalgia circuit, Blackmore should be applauded for retaining his integrity while forging ahead with the music that he is passionate about rather than following the lure of the mighty dollar. Although Blackmore may be the big draw in the band, evidenced by the number of Deep Purple and Rainbow shirts in the crowd, lead singer and Mrs. Blackmore herself, Candice Night, is the main focal point during the show, her charming, easy going manner and her ever so sweet voice are so easy to fall in love with. Her playful banter with Blackmore throughout the show adds a real sense of fun to the night and it would be difficult to envision Ian Gillan or David Coverdale daring to jest with him in such a way.

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Blackmore seemed genuinely happy to play the role of a wandering minstrel and certainly knows how to play to the crowd, whether it's by handing out pints of beer or regularly shaking hands with the crowd throughout the show, and who would have thought that he'd even dance a jig towards the end of the set? The up-tempo 'Home Again', which had everyone out of their seats, would be perfect for an Elizabethan banqueting hall while 'Troika' wouldn't be out of place around the Cossack campfires of the Steppes. 'Fires At Midnight' was so uplifting while the cover of Joan Baez's 'Diamonds And Rust' was simply beautiful.

Following a shout from the crowd Blackmore threw in 'Soldier Of Fortune' from his Deep Purple catalogue and teased the crowd with a hint of 'Black Night' during 'Loreley'. When Blackmore's trademark white Stratocaster was unveiled for 'Journeyman' the crowd went nuts as he stepped up to deliver a full blown electric solo harking back to his earlier days and showing why he is still one of the most influential guitarists around.

Musically the band celebrates life from a simpler time and it's almost as if the last 400 years have not happened. The Medieval themes of 'Renaissance Fair' and 'Play Minstrel Play' are enhanced by the costumes and the stage setting, and also by the wonderful theatre in which the whole show is set. There may be some cynics that would scoff but it's difficult not to get swept away by the whole atmosphere of the show and the genuine love that both Blackmore and Night clearly have for the music, and by the end of the night even the coldest of hearts would have been melted by this performance.

Mick Burgess

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