Blackmore's Night

Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline

26 June 2013

When you're walking round in circles in Dunfermline and can't find the venue for the Blackmore's Night gig, the best thing to do is follow someone dressed like a fairy princess. It doesn't matter if she doesn't know the way either, the important thing is that you're following someone dressed like a fairy princess!

Because that's what makes a Blackmore's Night gig unique. It doesn't matter how daft it sounds, when you're actually there the dressing up does add to the atmosphere.

The other thing that makes a Blackmore's Night gig unique is that it's the only place you can go to hear the greatest guitar player in the world.

And he still is. Even if he never picks up a Strat all evening (and he didn't), he still makes a better sound than anyone else in any genre. Even when he plays the hurdy gurdy (as an intro to The Clock Ticks On), he somehow makes it sound unlike any other hurdy gurdy I've heard. In fact, he makes it sound exactly like Ritchie Blackmore, greatest guitar player in the world.

So if there's one complaint about the gig, it's that the guitar was too low in the mix, and sometimes hard to pick out when the band was in full flight. Consequently, the best parts were the quiet numbers, where you could actually hear Ritchie—Soldier of Fortune early in the set, Barbara Allen, a medley of Midwinter's Night and Dandelion Wine to close, and Diamonds and Rust in the encore. And when he carried a stool on to sit down to play one one song, it really didn't matter what Candice was introducing, you knew it was going to have the best guitar solo you have ever heard (and it did). The fact that it's Fires At Midnight, their best song, just makes it perfect.

For all these reasons, this was the best gig I've ever seen.

But if the guitar solos are the highlights, that in no way detracts from the rest of the material or the rest of the band. The whole set is a string of beautiful, classic tunes played with such energy by a top-class band who are clearly enjoying themselves, that the whole gig is... "uplifting" is the word, I think. You come out of a Blackmore's Night gig with a smile on your face.

And yes, the fairy princesses help.

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