For a decade, Candice Night, Ritchie Blackmore, and their fellow band of minstrels have crafted an enchanting folk/rock sound with Renaissance overtones that has earned them the devotion of fans around the globe. Over the course of five high internationally charting studio albums, several live and compilation releases, numerous awards and many sold-out tours around the planet, they have truly perfected their signature blend of music. The band continues to tour around the globe and this brand new DVD, filmed at the famous Olympia in Paris, France is a celebration of the past 10 years.
If you still can't deal with the fact that the dude who played the solos on "Smoke on the Water" and "Highway Star" is the same guy who now stands on stage wearing Robin Hood boots, plucking a lute, and cranking a hurdy-gurdy, it's time to get over it--the release of Paris Moon
roughly coincides with the tenth anniversary of Blackmore's Night, making it apparent that former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore is intent on sticking with his goal of bringing music with a Renaissance flavor to a wider audience. He and his troupe of lords and ladies are doing a swell job of it, too. There's a fine line between credibility and risibility here. The two-hour concert's Ye Olde vibe, what with song titles like "The Village Lanterne" and band members sporting names like Bard David of Larchmont and Squire Malcolm of Lumley (to say nothing of the fellow in a rabbit suit who wanders onstage during "Minstrel Hall"), almost invites ridicule. But the Blackmore's Night sound, which evokes comparisons to the likes of world musician Loreena McKennitt and acoustic Jethro Tull (indeed, Ian Anderson made a guest appearance on their first album, and his "Rainbow Blues" is performed here) and ranges from the 12th Century ("Fires at Midnight") to Joan Baez ("Diamonds and Rust") and, yes, Deep Purple ("Soldier of Fortune"), is often powerful and evocative, especially when its disparate elements come together on "World of Stone" and several others. Candice Night, Blackmore's partner in music and life (she makes a wry reference to his three, count 'em, divorces), is a likeable frontwoman and a good if not especially distinctive lead vocalist, and the musicians are all first-rate--especially Blackmore, who brings out his Stratocaster for some heavy riffage on "Ariel," "Loreley," and "Saint Teresa" but otherwise confines himself to acoustic instruments. The audience helps, too, clapping and singing along and turning the occasion into a veritable Renaissance Faire. A brief (about nine minutes) documentary is the principal special feature; the package also includes an 11-track audio CD with songs from the concert and two bonus tracks. --Sam Graham