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Blackmore's Night - Paris Moon CD (album) cover


Blackmore's Night

Prog Folk

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Ladies & Gentlemen, Welcome to Progressives Airlines Flight 19 to Paris France. This is your captain speaking. As we prepare to leave the gate here in New York, we are getting ready for some incredible in-flight entertainment. When we reach our cruising altitude at 36,000 feet, we will begin the revelry. When boarding the craft, you have surely noticed that all our cabin personnel are attired in medieval clothing, our chief purser dressed as a minstrel and we in the cockpit are equally clad in our regal costumes. From the overhead bins, we will release your pewter drinking goblets, into which our crew will pour your choice of potent hydromel, exquisite Chateaux Bordeaux clarets or for those who eschew alcohol, ginger beer! We will also be serving roast Cornish hens (without cutlery for security reasons, of course). Dancing will be permitted in the aisle and singing along will increase your air miles 10 fold. So, sit back, relax and get ready for our video presentation of Blackmore's Night concert Paris Moon. Have a great prog flight". Ah, daydreaming again! Maybe one day! Legend has it that Ritchie Blackmore is a very stubborn and moody musician. Perhaps he should be more famous for his audacity, to have dared the very real possibility of unbearable public humiliation for this legendary "hard-rock" guitarist (that's how it was called back in the early 70s) to go off on an acoustic/baroque/renaissance /troubadour mission and still command universal respect. Ritchie can do whatever he wants and if he really believes in this musical curve (his facial smirks and his body language clearly shows the same consummate expression of concentration as when he sizzled through Deep Purple classics) well than more power to him ! It turns out that this DVD is totally valedictory of his craft, the musicians are supremely talented (each taking an early solo to demonstrate quite clearly they are not 2 note session-yawn-players) and with the effervescent and charming Candice Night as the focal/vocal point, this simply cannot go wrong. I tried desperately not to like this, even though I have all the records, because I, wrongly as it turns out, assumed it might come across as pretentious live. Hey, guess what? All the musicians are clearly enjoying and savoring every moment, the seasoned veteran crowd seemingly knowledgeable and jubilantly singing along with Candice impishly teasing her brooding husband along "You request songs, he still plays what he wants! Welcome to my life!". By the time they kick off track 3: "Play Minstrel Play", I had tossed all my critical prog-expert reservations into the moat and felt like a member of the audience, begging to be entertained. What a delightful musical experience, the novelty of just enjoying a show! In a way, it's like attending a Tull or a Springsteen live concert: I know many people who do not really drool over the recordings but in concert: at any price! There is everything for everyone here: joyous, raucous sing alongs (Under A Violet Moon, Home Again), stunning remakes ( Deep Purple's gut-wrenching "Soldier of Fortune", Baez' simply gorgeous "Diamond & Rust" & Ralph McTell's compelling "Streets of London") , hauntingly reworked medieval ballads ( "Renaissance Faire", "Word of Stone", "The Village Lanterne" and the utterly amazing "Fires at Midnight") , a touch of irascible Blackmore Fender Strat magic on the electric "Ariel", "Loreley" and the blistering "Saint Teresa" as well as numerous baroque instrumental interludes .When Ritchie cranks up the hurdy-gurdy on the "Clock Ticks On", chills run up the collective spine! We can all acknowledge that Blackmore is quite a guitar maestro, perhaps in a "show-offish" way but the real great ones (we all know who they are) have that right, it's only their creative urge pushing them along. He seems to be having a real good time in his golden age, financially comfortable, seemingly happily married to a beautiful, talented and funny maiden, surrounded by an already ten-year old family of trusted band mates. So much for being an intolerant dictator! I rarely feel the urge to revisit a live DVD on consecutive nights but this one is so much FUN! "This is Captain Blackmore again; we are now on the approach to the City of Lights, please fasten your belts. I hope the flight was worthy of five stars and on behalf of my co-pilot Candice and our entire crew, we wish you pleasant journeys" 5 lunar arrondissements
Report this review (#152389)
Posted Friday, November 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Featuring the only audience who clap in time between the songs!

Blackmore's Night new DVD comes relatively close on the heels of their excellent "Castles and dreams" release. As such, the temptation is to judge the one against the other. Overall, I find "C&D" to be the better, as it is a wonderfully put together double DVD collection which oozes atmosphere and enjoyment.

On the other hand, "Paris Moon" has the better set list, and certainly finds Ritchie and Candice in fine form. Indeed, had this been their first DVD, I would have been gushing with unreserved praise.

This concert was recorded in Paris (obviously!) during the band's 2007 tour. I had the immense pleasure of witnessing the band first hand on that tour when then played in Glenrothes, Scotland. The set list is pretty much identical, the DVD capturing the spirit of that tour (with the exception of the now infamous Reading gig) well. This was the first time Blackmore's Night had played Paris, the audience appearing to specialise in synchronised handicapping between the songs. Paris is perhaps a surprising choice of venue for the DVD recording, as the hall used does not appear to be particularly historic, and the audience seem oblivious to the usual requirement for the front rows to dress in medieval garb.

For those who still resent the day Ritchie began his abstention from hard rock and pledged his troth to the acoustic folk sounds he is now committed to, there is good news. The version of Rainbow's "Ariel" played on this tour is a full blown epic, complete with a stunning lead guitar work out. To be honest, the song is quite out of place with the rest of the gig, but with Candice Night gliding around the stage like a young Stevie Nicks, it works well.

Other more orthodox highlights include a wonderfully spirited rendition of "The clock ticks on", complete with the now customary guest musicians on olde worlde wind instruments, and a stunning rendition of Joan Baez's "Diamonds and rust". Special mention too for the cover of Ralph McTell's "Streets of London" which starts off with little deviation from the original, but comes alive midway through.

Overall, the DVD is very heavy on the bass sounds, both from bass guitar and when keyboard pedals are used during the acoustic songs. I do not recall the bass being so prominent at the actual gig, so I must assume that it has been brought out during the mixing of the DVD. There are only a couple of DVD extras, a very short "Documentary" and some still photos.

While it is natural that the directing of the film should concentrate on Ritchie and Candice, the balance could have been better in terms of the rest of the band. The delightful Sisters of the Moon duo are criminally under-seen throughout, appearing almost exclusively in the background.

The package is completed with a CD containing a number of the songs from the DVD plus a couple of bonus studio tracks. These extra tracks are not new songs, simply being the title track from "The village lantern" and a radio edit of "All because of you" from "Fires at midnight".

Overall, an excellent set in a tasteful box. While those who already have "Castles and dreams" may feel this collection is too similar, it remains a highly enjoyable watch and a great memento for those of us who witnessed the tour.

Report this review (#157691)
Posted Saturday, January 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars I have never been a fan of this band. I was very unimpressed by their first couple of studio albums and then I gave up on them altogether. But when I saw this DVD I thought that I was going to give them one more chance. The primary reason for this was that I found in the set list a Jethro Tull song(!), a Deep Purple song and a Rainbow song, as well as Diamonds And Rust, which I used to think was a Judas Priest song (but is actually by American Folk singer Joan Baez, though covered by Judas Priest on their Sin After Sin album from 1977). This led me to believe that perhaps Blackmore's Night is a rockier band live than they are in the studio. This turned out to be partly correct. At least we are spared the glossy and very pop-oriented production of the studio albums, and the electric guitar is brought out a bit more here.

Still, this is primarily a rather light weight (too much so for my taste) renaissance and Folk rock (of both the British and the American type) concert with only occasional and slight influences from Classical music, Blues and Heavy Metal. Despite being very eclectic music, this is hardly progressive. The bulk of the set list consists of Folk rock covers and traditional medieval and renaissance material re-arranged and re-interpreted. The most interesting pieces from a Prog perspective are probably the instrumental sections of the show, with keyboard, bass and acoustic and electric guitar solos.

Candice Night is a very charismatic front woman, which is more than you can say about Ritchie whose stage presence is rather low key throughout. Candice constantly pokes fun at him but he does not look particularly amused, neither does he ever defend himself. There is also a moment where Candice encourages Ritchie to talk to the audience, but despite lots of cheering from the auditorium, he refuses to open his mouth! Yet, there is a very warm and positive feeling about the whole show. Ritchie may be laid back or even a bit shy maybe, but he is certainly not pissed off, as he used to be in Deep Purple (particularly at Ian Gillan) in the 90's. No, Ritchie and Candice are clearly very happy together, and it shows through in the music, I think.

Deep Purple and Rainbow gets one song each, which I think is way too little. But it is understandable that they want to concentrate on their new stuff (which is mostly really old stuff from a dim and distant past long before Purple and Rainbow). When I heard the voice of Candice Night for the first time, I didn't like it. But when I heard her sing the Deep Purple classic Soldier Of Fortune I was converted! It is a beautiful version.

Ariel is a great song and a big surprise selection to represent Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Here Ritchie brings out his Strat and we get some heavy riffs for the first (and sadly last) time on this concert. We also get a bit of electric Beethoven's Ninth (or Difficult To Cure as it was called when he performed it with Rainbow). And the audience chants Black Night while calling the band back for the encore.

The Jethro Tull song performed here is a rather obscure one, not appearing on any album except as a bonus track to the War Child CD. I think it is a great song and it should have been on the War Child album. Candice sings it very well. There is yet another Tull connection here with Play Minstrel Play, on which Ian Anderson played on the studio version. But who is playing the flute on Play Minstrel Play in this performance? Anderson is clearly not there and I cannot see anyone playing the flute. Is it keyboards?

The keyboard player here is really good and he is even allowed a solo spot which contains some classical pieces. He is even allowed to sing a little number of his own! Obviously, we do not talk about Moog synthesisers here, but only some nice piano, organ and discrete symphonic synthesisers.

Blackmore's Night is certainly not an essential band for the Prog fan. But if you want to check them out, the best way to enjoy them is probably in a live environment. I am thinking about seeing them live if they come around these parts. I might even dress for the occasion! (I think this is a bit silly, but my girlfriend likes that kind of stuff so I might go along with it). But in anticipation of that, this DVD might be the best way to go. Good, but non-essential.

Report this review (#197019)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars In Good Company

Earlier in another review for a live performance of Blackmore's Night I stated that much was lost in the transition from sight to sound, given the visual component of the band. Captured two studio albums later, the DVD Paris Moon quite makes up for that flaw, and as such is a few points above their concert release Past Times With Good Company. Recorded at the legendary Olympia in the French capital, it showcases a (very) merry band of minstrels bringing their top material to Gaul for the first time.

One of the big bonuses over the studio albums, and even over audio-only live recordings, is that we actually get to see just how professional and talented this band is. Overall the tracks do not stray away too much from their studio versions, and to reproduce some of the arrangements live is quite a feat. And Blackmore, especially, still does not cease to amaze me. On some of the songs, the band manages to incorporate a very animated string of improvisation ? worth noting are Durch Den Wald Zum Bachaus, Home Again, the duo Ariel/Loreley (where Ritchie finally brings out his Strat ? shame he doesn't do the same for Fires At Midnight ) and the scorching encore St. Theresa. Visually, the recording quality is quite good, filled with different camera angles capturing every member of the band. Sound-wise, the bass sounds a bit too high, giving a performance a lot of oomph (rattling everything made of glass in the surroundings), but sometimes muffling Ritchie's more delicate acoustic guitar strumming.

The only extras in the DVD are a short and not very insightful documentary on the show and a photo gallery. So, why the huge box? Seriously, this thing is thicker than Rush's R30, but the contents certainly don't justify it. For your money you get the concert DVD and an audio CD from the same show with a shortened playlist ? what's the use of that? I hate these things, if I wanted an audio recording I would have got it, thank you very much. Plus, where the hell am I gonna store it? In the living room, where the home cinema is, along with the other DVD's, or in the library, with the other audio recordings? Damn you, Blackmore's Night!

All in all, an entertaining show. But if you want to take home the live Blackmore's Night experience, Castles & Dreams is probably the best choice. For your money, you get a lot more goodies than on Paris Moon, plus the playlist is not that different, and the extra tracks from The Village Lantern in the latter are not that impressive as to justify paying for both in DVD and CD.

Report this review (#272082)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2010 | Review Permalink

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