Blackmore’s Night was an under the radar group until last summer when I received free tickets for one of their concerts in North Carolina. At the end of their three hour performance, I was a fan, and began assembling their back catalogue.
Ritchie Blackmore, hard rock guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow fame, and singer Candace Night, of blonde hair fame and possessor of one the purest voices in music, have combined in Blackmore’s Night to create a unique rock-renaissance sound – think of a rock band playing before Elizabeth I. The sound can be quirky and offbeat on occasion but can also be beautiful and stunning as well as interesting most of the time.
Paris Moon is a DVD + CD set. The DVD is the heart of the set as it presents a Blackmore’s Night concert recorded at the Olympia Theatre in Paris. This is an entire concert and not a piecemeal, spliced approach that you get from too many artists’ concert releases. As such, this disc gives the viewer and listening an accurate picture of what the group is all about.
Is the DVD as good as seeing them live? No. There is nothing like a live performance for almost any group, but this is still a better live release than most.
Paris Moon comes with good packaging, clear sound and production, plus an informative booklet.
Blackmore’s Night starts the concert rocking; “Past Times With Good Company” and Ian Anderson’s “Rainbow Blues” are Renaissance with attitude. Ritchie Blackmore proves he can still play the guitar after all these years. His acoustic work here and throughout the album is superior in many was to his present and past electric guitar work, as he shows a preciseness and deftness that is rarely seen. Candace Night established herself as a front woman with stage presence, and shows whether rock or ballad, she possesses one of the superior vocal instruments in music today.
Other highlights include “World Of Stone” with its constant pitch changes and difficult lyrics which are brought to life by Night’s precise annunciation. The moving and reflective ballad, ‘Streets Of London” is complemented nicely by the joyful celebration of life in “Renaissance Fair.” Meanwhile, the old Blackmore-Coverdale warhorse “Soldier Of Fortune” is given a nice twist by going acoustic and being sung by a woman. Night even pulls off Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust.”
Blackmore’s Night concerts always feature audience interaction and participation. The band works hard not only to present their music but to enable the audience to be an intimate part of the concert experience, too. Blackmore and Night play off of each other well; not only is their male-female dynamic interesting but there is also a dark-light, energetic-quiet dynamic at work. Ritchie Blackmore stays mostly in the background and rarely speaks, and is wise enough to let Knight shine up front. The times that he does step forward for extended guitar solos, however, there is no question of who is dominating the spotlight.
The accompanying CD covers no new ground as it presents material from their past ten years, bringing the first ten years of their existence to a close. If, however, you have not been exposed to Blackmore’s Night in the past, this album can be a good introduction to their studio material.
Paris Moon is a good introduction to the musical and concert style of one of the more innovative groups in music today. This set will hopefully leave you wanting more and going to see them in concert if they happen to pass your way. If I had not seen them live myself, I probably would have given this release a straight A, but as such, it gets a shade lower.