Ritchie Blackmore and his Candice Night have released their debut Christmas EP Here We Come A-Caroling via their band Blackmore’s Night. The EP was released on their label earMusic. Watch the video for their cover of “Silent Night.”
Iconic guitar god Ritchie Blackmore and his award-winning vocalist and wife Candice Night released their new debut Christmas EP Here We Come A-Caroling. Thye duo also shared a new lyric video ‘O Little Town Of Bethlehem” on Earmusic’s official YouTube channel. Check it out!
Like Earache, Nuclear Blast was initially known for their roster of heavier metal, but have widened their net in recent years to include vintage rock acts like Black Star Riders, Tax The Heat, The Night Flight Orchestra, Blues Pills and the focus of this review, The Vintage Caravan. From Iceland, they formed in 2006 and have their fourth album Gateways, which is forty-eight minutes of bluesy Hard Rock straight from the annals of the late sixties and seventies. Continue reading
It was unfortunate that the first thing I noticed after entering the impressive Genting Arena for Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbowwas a seriously poor collection of t-shirts at the merchandise stand. How difficult would it have been to produce a nice black shirt with the Rising cover on the front and the single NEC date splashed across the back for a smugness level of 11? Mind you, you did get a free Blackmore’s Night CD with every purchase, so there was that, I suppose.
Support act Mostly Autumn were up first, and shorn of a member or two, could realistically have been called Mostly Mostly Autumn for the evening. Hard rock with a celtic edge, singers Bryan Josh and Olivia Sparnenn sounded fantastic, but you felt they would have been far better suited to a much smaller stage.
And so to the only reason people were in attendance. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Arriving on stage to a recording of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ the lengthy intro was completed by a sound clip of Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz followed by Blackmore playing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ while accompanied by the loud and rapturous applause of everyone inside the sold out venue.
Opening properly with Deep Purple‘s ‘Highway Star’, it was lift-off inside the arena as everyone sang along with relatively unknown vocalist Ronnie Romero at the top of their voices. However, even at such an early stage in proceedings it was clear that Ritchie was not on top form. Well, how could he be? He’s 71 with the onset of arthritis and recovering from a recent operation on one of his fingers. This wasn’t Blackmore at the height of his pomp, this was an ageing Blackmore doing his very best his fingers would allow. His guitar sound wasn’t great, he stayed pretty much rooted to the spot, steadfastly refusing to move to the other side of the stage even for a couple of minutes, and he appeared to be playing everything a little slower and a lot more staccato than the studio material everyone knows so well. But he was there. It’s a distinct possibility that Black Sabbath won’t sound their absolute best when they play their final show here next year, but you know it’ll go down as a classic regardless of their performance, and it was the same for Rainbow last night. Blackmore might not be able to let his fingers fly like they used to, restricting his solos to bluesy licks and scales, occasionally throwing in short bursts of speed when needed, but he still gave it his all and the gig will still be talked about for a long time to come.
If it wasn’t for Blackmore, vocalist Ronnie Romero might well have stolen the show last night. I’d never heard of him or his band Lords of Black until very recently, but if there’s any justice in this world then he’ll have a big future ahead of him. He belted out Ronnie James Dio‘s Rainbow tracks with complete authority and his voice was nothing short of spectacular. He handled the IanGillan stuff incredibly well too, showing the right amount of power and emotion, with only ‘Child In Time’ being a bridge too far for his ability as he let the two female backing singers take the ridiculously high notes for him while he continued in a lower register. Keyboard player Jens Johannson, stolen for this brief run from Finnish Power Metallers Stratovarius excelled in his role as Ritchie’s foil, playing off the guitar parts and taking over when he needed to. His playing even turned a predictably tedious drum solo into something actually worth listening to.
Mixing just about the right amount of Purple and Rainbow material, Blackmore always had the audience on side, and God help me, I’m sure I even saw him crack a smile on a couple of occasions. ‘Man on the Silver Mountain’, ‘Spotlight Kid’, ‘Mistreated’, ‘Perfect Strangers’, and ‘Soldier of Fortune’ were brilliant. ‘Long Live Rock and Roll’ turned into a massive sing along, and ‘Stargazer’ was phenomenal. However, ‘Black Night’ sounded a little twee, and you’d think the guy who wrote ‘Smoke on the Water’ would be able to play it in time. The few first bar was off by about half a beat and it took a few seconds to get back into it. ‘Since You Been Gone’ was another huge sing along and ‘Catch The Rainbow’ although played well, just wasn’t as good as when Opeth played it at Bloodstock Open Air shortly after Ronnie James Dio died. That version was a serious shivers down the spine moment, while last night it just lacked something special. Thankfully, the omission of the hugely overrated ‘I Surrender’ helped make up for this.
A massively enjoyable evening where everyone went home with daft grins, thoroughly happy that they’d seen someone called Ronnie sing Rainbow songs with Ritchie Fucking Blackmore on the stage.
Land of Hope and Glory/Over the Rainbow (intro)
Since You Been Gone
Man on the Silver Mountain
Soldier of Fortune
Difficult to Cure/Drum Solo
Catch the Rainbow
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll
Child in Time
Smoke on the Water
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If the surfeit of Christmas tinsel, chocolate and nostalgia is enough to drive you to immerse yourself in a VAT of Jaegermeister, or if you have already had enough of Christmas “specials” of television programmes that weren’t actually that special to begin with then, during this holiday season you could while away some hours with some of the really rather excellent music DVDs that are available from your local emporium of choice.
Here at Ghost Cult Towers we have literally toiled hard from our sofas to check out the ones that are worth parting you from your hard earned cash. Top of our proverbial pile is, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, The Rolling Stones. Those lovely folk at Eagle RockEntertainment have been slowly but surely releasing some terrific footage of Jagger and co at various points in their historic pomp. Live from The Tokyo Dome 1990 and Live at Roundhay Park 1982 are two cases in point. Filmed in 4:3 ratio (and considerably pre internet) the first is a spruced up version of a TV special that celebrated the band’s arrival in Japan and the culmination of their Steel Wheels Tour. ….Roundhay Park, filmed eight years earlier when the band were battling to retain relevance in a world dominated by post disco and New Romantics, is equally compelling. What could have been exercises in simple nostalgia actually turn out, thanks to the wonders of remastering, upscaling and a new audio track (thanks to sound wizard Bob Clearmountain) to be performances of considerable panache and verve, mainly thanks to Jagger and Richards being on particularly good form and yet more evidence, should it be needed, as to why this band are regularly regarded as the best live experience on the planet. These are the sort of DVDs that PR companies will say are “a must for any fan”. In this case, they might actually be right for once.
About The Young Idea is a quite brilliant documentary about UK mods The Jam and, in particular, frontman Paul Weller. This is very much a warts and all documentary, ultimately sympathetic to the threesome, placing them appropriately in the canon of great British bands of the late 20th century. What resonates in this film is how diverse the band were in terms of influence and inspiration before what now seems like an inevitable breakup in 1982. Packed with brand new interviews with the band’s principal protagonists, About The Young Idea reveals itself as part insightful documentary, part labour of love, all fabulous music. If you remain sceptical after watching the film, then have a look at the accompanying live concert footage from 1980 where the band’s energy, anger at injustice and clarion calls to the youth to change the world around them can be seen in full effect. Indispensable.
Shifting decades and gear somewhat, Black Stone Cherry are the hard rock underdogs made good and this energetic live concert film, Thank You shows just why. Their early career saw them somewhat unloved in their home country (USA) but they were soundly adopted by the UK and Europe and have subsequently built a fairly decent career, including notable performances at Download festival and their own sell-out arena tour, which this film documents. Black Stone Cherry are one of those bands that tend to divide audiences but, for the uninitiated, this is a standard concert film where, if nothing else the band are ridiculously hardworking, highly energised and pretty much adored by their fanbase. As souvenirs of their well received 2014 tour go, this is the one to own – it’s miles better than their over-priced t-shirts anyway…
And so we come to The Ritchie Blackmore Story, which is a well-produced, insightful and fascinating talking heads style documentary about one of hard rock and heavy metal’s most revered and talked about characters. This is a DVD worth owning, not just for the vintage footage but thanks to brand new and exclusive interviews with the main man himself. You get a rounded picture of what drives and inspires one of rock’s most feted players. Pretty much everyone and anyone turns up to pay their respects- there’s Queen’s Brian May, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson and Gene Simmons all saying very nice things and Joe Satriani and Toto’s Steve Lukather revelling in being true fan boys but it’s Ritchie himself, entirely appropriately, who is the star of this. It’s the kind of DVD that you’ll watch time and again and the kind of DVD that will make you want to rediscover or (in my case) discover the man’s music.
Job done, then. Merry Christmas.