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Review: Blackmore’s Night, Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre

Guitar legend Richie Blackmore brought his medieval rock to Newcastle. Simon Rushworth was there to join the perfect celebration of all things Middle Ages

The Tyne Theatre in Newcastle
The Tyne Theatre in Newcastle

For long periods of a Blackmore’s Night show it’s impossible to imagine the lead guitarist is responsible for many of classic rock’s greatest riffs.

Favouring Mandolas over Stratocasters and finger picking ahead of fret burning, Ritchie Blackmore has long since ditched his past for the far distant past. But is the former Deep Purple and Rainbow star brave or foolhardy? The jury’s out.

Ironically the one Purple song played in full was Soldier Of Fortune from the seminal Stormbringer album. Blackmore can’t be accused of cashing in on his legacy, but by remaining a firm favourite of the ‘renaissance scene’, the talented musician is robbing himself of untold riches.

In his own, idiosyncratic way Blackmore appeared to be happy whispering in the ear of his wife (vocalist Candice Night), fiddling with his archaic audio equipment and sidestepping every opportunity to revisit his celebrated roots.

Bar the odd note of Black Night, that bizarre version of Soldier Of Fortune and mentions of the late Ronnie James Dio, Jon Lord and Cozy Powell, this was a show short on Purple/Rainbow nostalgia.

The medieval rock, however, came thick and fast. Complemented by flutes, horns, an organ and an American lady purporting to be the Queen, Blackmore and Night delivered note-perfect versions of Under A Violet Moon, Troika and Renaissance Faire.

This was the perfect celebration of all things Middle Ages.

Blackmore remains a legend, a genuine innovator and inspiration. Yet as one half of Blackmore’s Night he seems content to see out his career in relative obscurity. It’s the prerogative of genius and a shame for classic rock fans.

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