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In a long while hasn’t there been a concert in Helsinki of this kind of magnitude, when the seated audience would be applauding, standing up, by the third song only! And the further it went, the more of the hall stood up and sung along and moved – security didn’t even attempt to put anyone back on their seats. Even after the encore, the band was supported so genuinely, with ongoing applause, not letting the singer, the beautiful Candice, leave. She was kept on stage for maybe even longer than the concert itself, with autographs and photos, flowers and souvenirs delivery and other such gestures of admiration. Impressive and very touching, and she was in response, very attentive and communicative to all as well.
Before the concert I’ve heard that apparently the front rows of Finlandia Talo’s auditorium were reserved for those dressed to match: renaissance and medieval in particular. And we all know that Finnish concert-goers just don’t do that, headbang – yes, but costumes?! Having arrived to the venue, I was soon reassured of the opposite: there were appropriately styled, period clothing, couples that matched, leather, linen, velvet, some were practically barefoot and I almost smelt the Heidnisches Dorf of past WGT festival… In Helsinki!
A very unexpected scene, and at Finlandia Talo?! The entire Blackmore’s Night experience was slightly surreal, that now I am not sure what exactly was it altogether, but something magical for sure.
Beautifully set stage resembled a town of some 16th century, on a fine Summer’s night, with endless starlight, violet moon and intense smell of nocturnal blossoms – pure romance!
Blackmore chose their own support band, a medieval folk-quartet from Czech Republic, called Gothien. Two maidens and two minstrels played tunes from Serbia, Mexico, Spain and Germany, singing in all those different languages, accompanying by just as multicultural instruments and very catchy dancing. The most impressive was a bagpipe-playing girl, skillfully dancing along, as she maneuvered this heavy instrument at the same time. Classic “In Taberna” at the end was very difficult to resist not to jump up and just give in to all the dancing.
A while before the long-awaited Blackmore’s Night came on stage, the hall was already clapping and cheering for their sooner arrival. The atmosphere was really somehow magical and if it could be seen, even sparkling. Darkened hall, glowing lanterns, moving starlight and shadow of the early moon… The lights dimmed, and one by one they appeared. As later Candice said herself, the band’s lineup changed and not once, but still, every member of it, as well as the band’s guests, were cheered so wholeheartedly and loudly.
Mr Blackmore remained quiet and very serious, almost in the background, whereas peppy, flirtatious and very talkative Candice entertained us with stories and comments. This woman is ageless! So I am convinced that her birthday given in Wikipedia is a misprint, because when you see and hear her, you’re completely disarmed and charmed with her cheerful and thus very appealing persona, even if you have never heard any of the band’s songs.
And the songs so lovely! The new album, Secret Voyage, is still to be released in July, but we have already heard a few songs (“Locked Within The Crystal Ball” opened the night) from it and can be surely said, this guaranteed some good sales for this new piece! Among the all-time loves, were “Ghost of a rose”, “Fires at Midnight”, “Queen for a day”, “Dandelion Wine”, “Under the violet moon” and Joan Baez’s very touching, personal “Diamonds and Rust”. Candice revealed some stories behind a few songs, how they came about and her very girly and emotional manner of speech was just all too captivating, so no wonder that even after the band left the stage, she was kept on by all the grateful listeners. How adorable was it to see so many children among the audience also: one thing certain that Finnish youth is growing up with excellent music taste!
Stalker thanks Ramona Forsström for her assistance!