This concert was announced as Special Halloween Night in Amsterdam. And was it a special night? Yes it definitely was! The Man In Black was in a good mood, resulting in an extended second encore showing off he still can handle the strat like in the good ol' days and ending in a great long version of "Smoke on the water".
The night started after the "Way To Mandelay" intro with Cartouche followed by "Play Minstrel Play" with Lord Marnen of Wolfhurst on flute. "Minstrel Hall" was announced as the "Coughing Song", here it became obvious that the keyboards were too low in the mix, unfortunately it would stay that way through the entire show. Apart from Ritchie the stage presentation of the other members is not extraordinary, Candice and Sir Robert of Normandie, the bassplayer, are OK but the rest is very average at best. Just before "Past Time" started Lord Marnen showed us that with dropping his instrument.
Candice told that Ritchie had been in two other famous bands, and no they were not Abba or Marilyn Manson, and they wouldn't deny the past. So it was time for the song Ritchie wrote with David Coverdale "Soldier of Fortune". After which the balance had to brought back with a Rainbow song. Ritchie picked up his white Strat and we were treated on a heavy version of "16th Century Greensleeves". The Strat was pretty loud, the other instruments were drowning. Although in the second part of the song the bass was quite loud as well. The middle part in the song was great, just like the backing vocals by the bassplayer.
Candice got the spotlight in "Diamonds and Rust", great version. In "Bach Haus" there was a boring solo by Lord Marnen. "Hava Nagila" was included in "Home Again". After "Mr Peagram" Ritchie picked up his black Strat for an excellent "Storm", the white Strat returned in "Village of the Sand" and the audience was invited to do the na-na-nas. It really got going and there were good versions of "Fires at Midnight", "Renaissance Faire" (Ritchie's favorite song with Thomas Roth and Albert Dannenmann of The Geyers joining them on stage) and "I still remember".
After Candice introduced the band, it was Richard The Difficult who started "The Clock ticks on" on the hurdy gurdy. The violin was just too loud on this song while The Geyers duo came on stage again, this time with their bagpipes but they were hardly to be heard. And then after 1 hour and 45 minutes it was over.
But not for long, the band returned almost immediately for a stunning version of "Ghost of a Rose", at the end Candice was given many roses by the audience. This time it took them a little longer to return for another encore. But what an encore Ritchie had lined up for us. They started off with "All For One", they were steamin' and the Geyers joined in again as well. It was rockin' like hell all of a sudden, the crowd moving towards the stage.
There was "Difficult To Cure", "Self Portrait" "Rainbow Blues" (again with the Geyers duo) and they went on and on. "Black Night" was next, Candice was strugglin' through this violence of sound. Sir Robert did the vocals on the second verse, pretty well too. Then there was the "Woman from Tokyo" riff followed by a fast rockin' "Smoke on the water". And then Ritchie slowed down the song leaving the audience singing it. The band left the stage and the crowd kept on singing it quite some time till Ritchie returned on stage and gave us the riff once more before ending the show with the slow "Now and Then". It had been indeed a Special Halloween Night....
Amsterdam, Holland 31 October 2003
In a surrounding – a fake old theatre - obvious not very suitable to create the right ambiance for Ritchie and his company, to my surprise it was a great concert.
Although limited as a singer, Candice is getting better and better. Ritchie was in a very good mood, often rousing on his white Strat. He even dared to play SOTW, a song he didn’t wanted to play anymore in his Deep Purple days.
Highlights of the evening were Minstrel Hall and Diamonds and Rust. Just at the end of part one, I found my way to the front of stage. Watching Ritchie from a very short distance as an unbelievable experience. Candice was really moved by all the white roses she got from us after the song Ghost of a Rose.
A great evening!