24.05.00, Cambridge, England.
Patrick J.S, email@example.com
Just got back and my head is still spinning......so bear with me.
Just a few observations :
Cambridge Corn Exchange holds around 1500 - from what I could see, around
95% of the stalls were full and there were a considerable number on the
balcony, too. So, I'd say easily 1000 + at the gig.
Support No. 1 - Albert ???? (didn't memorise his surname)
Entered the hall from the back playing mediaeval bagpipes ! His 'set' was
pretty short and consisted of him demonstrating various 16th century
instruments (including something which *looked* like a walking stick but
*sounded* like a cross between a Korg 70's synth and a digeredoo ! Albert
popped up again later to play the odd backing instrument (and sing
completely inaudible vocals) with BN.
Support No. 2 : Three members of 'Almost Autumn'. Apparently there 's
usually 5 or 6 in the band but only 3 tonight. This was an instrumental set
which suffered through the lack of instrumentation - bodhran, acoustic
guitar and flute. Pleasant but hardly essential, though the bodhran player
was *very* pretty (looked like a slightly younger version of Candice !!)
BN : I have to say that I really didn't know what to expect. I've got (and
really like) 'Under a Violet Moon but I was prepared to witness the artistic
'decline' of my teenage hero -(the man whose solo on HS on MIJ made me pick
up a guitar in the first place)... Well, was I ever wrong ! RB is, on this
showing, the greatest, most brilliant guitar genius on this planet today....
For most of the set he used a Fender semi-acoustic (Telecaster shape but
hollow body with 'F' holes) which produced a positive array of sounds
ranging from a normal Tele sound through a beautiful Spanish steel sound to
what sounded like an old chorus pedal (I think it was one of those
multi-effect guitar synths). He played an absolute blinder - when they
played "16th Cent. GS", he brought out a yellow Strat, playing a choppy
rhythm with the old classic, RB sound. When the solo arrived, I can honestly
say that for the first time in years, the hairs stood up on the back of my
neck and I got that strange feeling that I used to get at DP gigs in the pit
of my stomach. Ritchie played his socks off - I've never seen him play that
well - *ever* - he was fluid, inventive and so bloody fast I had to stare to
keep up with his finger movements !
Phew ! I should mention the rest of the band !....Didn't really catch any
names but they were all excellent players - especially the guy who doubled
on violin/guitar. This was a complete band line-up : Drums, rhythm guitar,
acoustic bass, 2 lots of keyboards, violin, Vox + TMIB. Candice has had her
voice criticised many times but, although she can't claim to be Aretha
Franklin (let's face *nobody* is that good !), she has a great voice, warm,
emotional and with a pretty good range, too. She reminds me very much of
Julianne Regan at times.
There were the by-now expected jokes - the story around Henry Viii /CH
producing the "I think that's disgusting, don't you Ritchie ?" quip, 'No
Second Chance" was dedicated to 'ex members of Rainbow and Deep Purple",
there was the "Rainbow was run by a mean and moody wizard" joke......
At one point, Candice dragged TMIB to the microphone because he was
muttering at her in the background about how difficult the song was to play.
Yes, it's true - RB spoke to the crowd for all of a minute !!
There was a general air of happiness and contentment within the BN camp
which was really quite moving. Candice and Ritchie are obviously very good
for each other. The atmosphere wasn't spoiled, thankfully, by the inevitable
brain-dead drunk at the back shouting out for SOTW....
"Soldier of Fortune" was gorgeous - CN handled it pretty well I
thought.....and so to the encores (2 of 'em !!! 4 songs !! - I remember
being at a Rainbow gig where there was *no* encore at all and the crowd were
baying for blood at the end..)...I was waiting for Black Night as posted by
someone else but we got another couple of BN tunes and......Mr. Tambourine
Man !! As if tonight wasn't incredible enough already, TMIB stayed on the
stage for a good 15 minutes after the show - signing autographs and shaking
hands....eventually he brought the entire band out to do the same.....
What more can I say? I first saw TMIB at his 'peak' in the 70's and, I have
to confess, my interest in his work has dwindled ever since THOBL. I wasn't
expecting too much from him tonight but I was totally wrong. I've NEVER seen
him play better. Mr. Blackmore, I humbly ask you to return to position
number 1 on my favourite guitarists top ten....- you're a bloody genius.
Can't wait for next time.....
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