TARRYTOWN, NY – While a segment of the Christian church awaited the return of their Lord Jesus and were ultimately disappointed by the delay of His rapture – fans of the Renaissance rock band Blackmore’s Night were uplifted and enraptured by the group’s return to this Hudson River hamlet on May 21, 2011.
Adherents and aficionados of the Renaissance folk rock combo turned out en masse, many of them sporting garb and period gear that turns these concerts into a celebration of the middle ages. Blackmore’s Night is the one known as The Dark Lord Ritchie Blackmore who made his name slinging six-string in Deep Purple and Rainbow and his longtime companion Candice Night. The lovely and personable front-woman is a former model and disc jockey who met the rock star while working an on-air shift on Long Island.
Since then, their lives have followed a fairy-tale path and it’s clear the two were meant for one another as soulmates and songwriting partners. It was about three years ago that this musical pair were at the nearby Castle on the Hudson – tying the knot after a long betrothal. Today, Candice is perhaps the world’s best-known chantress of music from the chivalrous age.
The Tarrytown Music Hall has a 125 year history and the theater is located in the heart of the downtown which has a number of restaurants for those looking for a pre-show meal. Minstrel Albert is a part of the main band and he opened the show playing a mix of Renaissance instruments. He started by strolling the aisles before taking command of the stage.
Majestic music was heard prior to Blackmore’s Night entrance. The first song “Locked Within The Crystal Ball” was bewitching with it’s blend of bold rhythms, whimsical wind instruments, glowing guitars and Candice’s beguiling stage and singing presence. The crowd was clapping along.
“Hello Tarrytown, so glad you came out, great memories,” stated Night who mentioned getting married to Blackmore in town almost three years earlier and the subsequent birth of their daughter, Autumn. During the evening, Candice shared some insights behind their songs. Apparently, Ritchie is always listening to music from all ages and he then merges these elements into his own interpretations that become the band’s canon.
“The world was supposed to end today, I just heard,” said Night referring to the widely spoken failed prophecy of preacher Harold Camping. Candice continued, “Would we go up or down?”
“We’ll take you all on a time travel trip to a more magical and simple time,” Night offered promising to transport those in attendance away from the worries of the dire predictions.
“Queen For A Day” was a pageantry of sounds with each instrument distinct and Candice commanding in her visual and vocal presentation. The colorful “Under A Violet Moon” was energizing and engaging. Some lighting and screens behind the stage were used throughout the night adding to the mood of the music.
“There was a time when Ritchie was in one or two other bands before this and he was known to be moody and difficult but that was before he was a minstrel so he was pre-minstrel,” jested Night. This was a good lead into “Solder of Fortune” from Blackmore’s Deep Purple days.
The tune opened with a gentle yet gorgeous guitar solo from Ritchie with Night stepping up to sing and then the band added subtle elements to the song. It was followed by an instrumental written by Ritchie inspired by Bach during a tour of Germany. The piece featured a vibrant violin solo from Gypsy Rose followed by Bard David’s cascading keyboard solo.
“World of Stone” with its 12th Century influences was daunting and dramatic. “All The Fun Of The Fayre” from Autumn Sky – their most recent record named for their daughter – was spirited. The band played just a verse of “Believe In Me” also from that album before Candice said that it was a special request from “Joe”.
This fan then proposed to his girlfriend and she said yes. Fans cheered the romantic moment that added a real dose of matrimonial magic to the show.
“Renaissance Faire” had a festive flair with fans clapping and swaying and Ritchie bending down so that a fan could strum his guitar for a few notes. A Blackmore’s Night concert is enchanting as it unites centuries-old music in contemporary compositions. The musicians truly have a passion for this unique union and fans get caught up in the fantasy of simpler times.
Other highlights of the concert included an innovative Beethoven jam featuring a dynamic rock drum solo from Squire Malcom. A cover of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust” was a beautiful bold ballad and Blackmore’s demonstration of the hurdy gurdy was tantalizing.
On this day when many expected the end of the world the concert did end in a slightly bizarre fashion. After the timeless “The Clock Ticks On”, Candice quickly explained that the band had exceeded the venue’s curfew and they left the stage in the twinkling of an eye without returning for an encore or to take a bow. Notwithstanding, the fans had enjoyed a two hour plus concert that joined Renaissance with folk and rock for a heavenly night of music!
Despite the additional domestic duties that come with raising a newborn the fervent global fan base, legend and lure of Blackmore’s Night is still growing. With their continuing string of enchanting albums and sold-out concerts it looks like they won’t be disappearing from the world stage anytime too soon!
BLACKMORE’S NIGHT LINE-UP:
Ritchie Blackmore – guitars, mandolin, domra, hurdy gurdy
Candice Night – vocals, chanter, cornamuse, shawm, rauschpfeife, tambourine
Bard David of Larchmont – keyboards
Squire Malcolm of Lumley (Malcolm Dick) – drums, percussionist
Gypsy Rose (Elizabeth Cary) – Violin
Earl Grey of Chamay (Mike Clemente) – Bass, mandolin and rhythm guitar
Minstrel Albert’ (Des Geyers) bag pipes and various wind instruments