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The setting for the show was a small leafy grove just outside the main castle walls. Behind the low platform stage was the back drop of the rooftops of Abenburg, with the low parapet walls adorned with flame torches.
The band came on around 9-ish and patiently waited for the intro tape to finish. Ritchie quietly started into Shadow of the Moon with gentle percussion from Malcolm helping the tune move along. The solo was stunning, very gentle and flowing with subtle changes of course, leading to the band coming back in to end the song. A truly great way to start the show.
The show moved on with two songs from Ghost of a Rose, before the crowd of less than 100 join in for the chorus sing-a-long of Violet Moon.
Past Times has the benefit of the sunset for a backdrop, and the addition of a man blowing flames out over the walls, probably had the beef at the buffet. Soldier is gentle and taken at a slightly slower pace than normal, and again Ritchie takes the solo to place only he could take a solo to.
Avalon is a request from the crowd, Candice and Ritchie are constantly chatting and joking with people in the crowd, mostly blaming Sir Robert for everything that could be thought of. The song is a bit of a low point and does not really do anything. Diamonds and Rust does work very well however. Candice really puts everything into it and gets a rousing cheer from the audience at the end.
Bach Haus allows the violin player a chance to show off, but she aint no Chris Devine and the solos don’t really go anywhere interesting.
Home Again is extended by several extra choruses and has much of the audience joining in enthusiastically, a lively song at the best of times, this was a really good version.
Fires at Midnight was to prove the highlight of the evening. Ritchie’s solo spot, all done on acoustic was incredible. At times played with a slide, other parts without the band, the solo was just so good. The band came back in on cue and the audience stood up and cheered.
The next couple of songs just passed by, not really leaving much impression, I Still Remember was pretty disappointing. The addition of Child in Time to Mond Tanz was adventurous and did work after a fashion.
Clock Ticks On was very good indeed, it was almost like Ritchie had come back to life again. However the two new songs came next and neither of these was that good.
Wish/Ocean medley was ok, and Times picked up the tempo again. The last song was another highlight, just Ritchie and Candice at the start with the band joining in towards the end.
A quick “thank you and join us for at the bonfire in 10 minutes”, and they were off.
Next up was the filming to playback for the video for Christmas Eve. A nice director thanked us for our patience as we mimed through two playbacks. Then Ritchie picks up a drum and the bonfire set continues with Des Geyers playing a couple of tunes. Following that and another couple of songs with Candice and the backing singers encouraging the crowd to join in. Al the time Ritchie is playing the drum, and laughing away at Sir Robert and Thomas from Des Geyers. The pair seemed constantly at odds about what key a song should be in, but it was all very good natured.
A much needed comfort break, turned into a photograph/autograph marathon for Ritchie and Candice, but the talked to everyone, and stayed on. It looked like the show was finally over, but from somewhere Ritchie picked up a guitar and sat on the nearest park bench. With Candice sitting next to him, we got about 40 minutes of requests. I recall Lily Marlene, Hanging Tree, and Dandelion Wine being played, but there was a lot more. Eventually the night is over and we all leave at around 5 in the morning.
Other points of interest:
The night before the show the band mingled with those fans that had already arrived. We all spent a very enjoyable evening in the beer garden of the hotel, well enjoyable apart from the slow service, but to be fair the two barmaids had to cope with six or seven languages and a rate of consumption of beer that far outstripped the means to keep up with itself.
Another point from this night was the astonishing four or five minutes of stunning electric guitar. Very loud indeed, a conversation stopper.
The Buffet was set in the hall of the castle, with a vast array of choice cut meats served on a wooden platter. Salad and some stuffed dumplings proved to be the vegetarian option, but thankfully there was a huge amount of food to go round. Albert from Des Geyers played a few tunes on his penny whistle and the beer and wine flowed amid the conversations. It was really at this point you became aware of just how few people were at the show, and that they had travelled form many countries to be there.
Once the buffet was done, we were asked to make our way to the concert venue.
I must say that the whole organisation was really well done, the security was present but just were not needed.
However it would be wrong to finish the review without mentioning our hotel and the wonderful Hans, who went out of his way to make us all very welcome. And finally the last tale involves me and Mr.Gillit and our trip to the open air swimming pool opposite our hotel.
After paying the entrance fee of 1.5 euros, we walked around the pool to a quiet area. We approached the edge of the pool and being satisfied it was not going to be too deep, Mr.Gillit gingerly tested the depth with his foot, then his ankle, shin, knee and pretty soon the momentum is unstoppable and he has crashed into the chilly depths. He surfaces and assures me he is fine, but it’s no use, the laughter is just too much and we spent most of the time at the pool in hysterics. Top bombing as the advert says.
Shadow Of The Moon
Queen For A Day (part 1&2)
Under A Violet Moon
Past Times With Good Company
Soldier Of Fortune
Diamonds And Rust
Durch den Wald Zum Bach's Haus
Fires At Midnight
I Still Remember
Mond Tanz/Child In Time
The Clock Ticks On
Once In A Million Years
Christmas Eve (new song)
Wish You Were Here
The Times They Are A Changing
I Think It's Gonna Rain Today
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