This past Thursday night, a friend and I went to see Blackmore's Night at the House of Blues here in Vegas. We had an incredible time, and I have to say that I thought the Blackmore's Night show was absolutely amazing. The band sounded wonderful, and Ritchie's playing was both inspired and inspiring. Candice was a very engaging leading lady, easy on the eyes and her overall demeanor made her a great "hostess" - not to mention I thought she handled the few yahoo's in the crowd with relative ease. It was nice to see Ritchie in good spirits, joking around and smiling often - yes, you read that right. He truly seems to be in his element, and I'm looking forward to the next Blackmore's Night album - dare I say with considerably more enthusiasm than I would if he were recording a new rock album. Favorite moments for me? The realization that show opener Owain Phyfe had turned the crowd from seeming somewhat indifferent to genuinely involved and approving. It's got to be an enormous handicap to take the stage in front of a crowd who doesn't know you, armed with only a guitar and your voice, and have them eating out of your hand five songs later. By the end of Owain Phyfe's set, he had us singing along on a song written over four hundred years ago! Blackmore's Night opened their set with Road To Mandalay, and cherry-picked their way through their catalog - treating us to a haunting version of Diamonds And Rust, the cheer of Home Again, Under A Violet Moon and more. Ritchie played several instrumental selections, and broke out a hurdy gurdy as well. Throughout the show, the music took on alternately cheerful and wistful tones, as the sounds of the recorder and violin entwined with the acoustic guitars. The band revisited Ritchie's rock heritage with stirring new versions of Soldier Of Fortune and Child In Time. Ritchie strapped on his familiar white Strat toward the end of the show and treated us all to some very tasty soloing, even managing to work a bit of Burn into a song I believe was called Mond Lanz. All the while, the audience was able to lose themselves in the castle courtyard vibe, thanks to hanging tapestries that recreated the bricked walls and turrets, complete with flickering torches high above the stage. The between-song banter was entertaining too - I found myself laughing, learning AND rocking - all in the same show! Seeing the care that some people put into their costumes almost made me wish I'd dressed up in Renaissance garb...almost
I hope I get the opportunity to see Blackmore's Night again. It was a truly eye-opening experience, and a rare opportunity to see a man who can only be referred to as a master of his craft.
As a side note, I've been listening to The New World Renaissance Band's (led by Owain Phyfe) "Where Beauty Moves and Wit Delights" throughout the afternoon. I'm enjoying it immensely, as low key as it is.