Blackmore's Night

Civic Centre, Aylesbury

31 October 2005's Halloween and the streets are full of witches... no, hold on, that's just the audience for Blackmore's Night.

I'm four rows back with a perfect view of a nice open stage. The hall is packed. It's a modern hall, not massive but a nice venue for a band like this. My section of seating is on a flat floor but the stage is high enough that I can still see when the front rows stand up.

The set is similar to earlier shows. First of May (last played in Newcastle) is back in. The rest of the band take a break while Ritchie and Candice play it, and I don't know why she says she "dreads" it, and complains it's the wrong key, because she does it very well.

Fires at Midnight is also back in, and with a stunning solo that goes on for so long that Candice sits down on a hay bail to wait for it to finish.

Calling for requests, Ritchie decides to do Diamonds and Rust for the first time this tour, which takes Candice by surprise (she's wonderful again, despite claiming she can't remember all the words).

Apart from that, all the usual stuff. The band seem even more relaxed than on previous nights (I would almost say "cheeky" — making fun of Ritchie and Candice when they think they are not looking). Maybe because it's the last date of the tour, maybe they're celebrating getting through it without being fired (the bass player even makes a joke about that!). It made for a very nice atmosphere, a lot of warmth, and a lot of fun moments. And of course it goes without saying that the performances are flawless.

Best show of the tour...? I'm not sure, they're starting to blur a bit... where am I? What am I writing about...?