Castles and Dreams DVD Review

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Every so often you find yourself watching a video performance that is an absolute surprise and more interesting than you thought it could have possibly been. This was the case that I would find when watching the new live concert release by Blackmore’s Night. To many the music fan, the name of Ritchie Blackmore is not a secret based upon his contributions and musical innovations with Deep Purple and Rainbow. After almost 30 years of performance as a legend in Rock, he switched gears entirely and began working with his partner Candace Night on a series of Classical and Medieval based songs. The result was the Renaissance Fair styling of Blackmore’s Night and to appreciate it fully you need to approach it with an open mind. This is not hard rock or even blues but a wonderful array of traditional instruments mixed with ones from the past along with flutes, pipes and violins. The end result is truly something that merits watching. This concert film is interesting enough and filled with a number of great songs throughout the performance. Recorded at a Renaissance Fair in Veldenstein Castle the setting of the stage resembles a Medieval marketplace and the musicians (or minstrels) are all dressed in period clothing. Joining Candace Night (who performs the lead vocals) and Ritchie Blackmore are the following players: Bard David Of Larchmont, Lady Madeline and Lady Nancy (The Sisters Of The Moon), Squire Malcolm Of Lumley, Sir Robert Of Normandie, and Tudor Rose. As you can see everyone keeps in the character and the spirit of the music they are performing. It works better for the effect they are bringing across and as the camera pans over the audience you can see that they are also largely dressed in period clothing.

As I watched the video I was amazed at how many of the songs I found myself enjoying right off the bat. I stress it like this as I lean to the classic rock and traditional metal but taking this for what it was allowed me better level of enjoyment as I watched a legend in guitar focus on the next chapter in his musical journey. Some of the best tunes are “Ghost Of A Rose”, “Past Times With Good Company” and “Home Again”. The lyrics to all the songs are largely focused around romance and spending quality time and adventure with ones who are special to you. Not a bad prospect when one looks at it. The perform “Soldier Of Fortune” which was written along with David Coverdale. According to Candice during the film he was actually there but would not come up and perform the song with them. The group also delivers a rousing song entitled “The Clock Ticks On” which is truly my favorite of the bunch as it is so rousing and moves you to your feet. Blackmore starts the piece on a Hurdy Gurdy and then horns and bagpipes add to the strength of this song. Additional players make an appearance on stage to help out as well and the whole of the audience is on their feet dancing. Blackmore does not leave out his Deep Purple fans as the band performs “Black Night” as one of their closer numbers to a great audience response. There is a lot of catchy stuff and uplifting melodies all around I think this is an easily enjoyable video for most fans of Blackmore and those who enjoy these types of festivals. The band all seem to be enjoying themselves throughout the whole performance and that is always a nice thing to see.
A hearty amount of bonus features include a number of commentary pieces by the group apparently shot right after the show which was nice as you get the instant impression that they had. There is also pre-show footage which showcases how the support team builds this stage and gets it ready for the audience. Most of the venues and locales that they have used don’t have the means that conventional venues have so everything is mobile. DVD2 is where most of the bonus features can be found and they also include a number of videos from the group as well as some acoustic performances as well. To be honest there is a lot of value for the money on this product and you can spend sufficient time focusing on the bonus features after enjoying the concert. The packaging is ornate, slip cased and includes a 16 page booklet for you to flip through. The book is more a list of songs and bonus features and not enough photos as one would expect in a booklet of that size. As I close the package for this product I have a sudden urge for some mutton and a big flagon of mead. Go figure.

Written By: Ken Pierce (copyright 2006) for PiercingMetal.com

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