Mittelarlterliches Fest 2012 - Blackmore's Night & Faun
21/07/12 - Schadenweiler Hof, Rottenburg Am Neckar


By Gaetano Loffredo

It’s another celebration weekend in Germany, one more in a summer filled with folk events. Blackmore’s Night take us back to those magical, fairytale, pure lands, and this year our destination is closer than usual: Rottenburg Am Neckar, the umpteenth beautiful German town located in Baden-Wurttemberg. The venue is Schadenweiler Hof, a sixteen century horseshoe-shaped building surrounded by green old trees, a perfect setting for this kind of events.


The Mittelalterliches Fest is an event organized by a big man with – guess what – curled moustache, called Ulrich, because in Germany even a physiotherapist in his fifties can choose to set up such an event without risking bankruptcy due to lack of audience. Still, you have to face the rain – damn weather, 450 km away from Como and its 32°C we were forced to a two-day, end of July experience with 10°C max… Never mind.


faun_400px_02The biggest surprise: shortly before our departure we realized that it was a three-day festival, with two days (Friday and Saturday) featuring onstage concerts. Blackmore’s Night were going to be the highlight of the most important day, while Faun were going to play on the previous day. You don’t know this band?! Go for them, right now! We immediately went and got our media pass, kindly granted to our website in no time, because Germany shows way more respect to high-quality press than Italy. More examples of this as you go on reading!


Departure on Friday, late in the morning, 450 km covered in not less than 5 hours with the help of Telmap, a free sat nav for Blackberry that will save you from being late and getting insulted if your Tom Tom won’t connect the gps to the satellite. A break to eat some Italian food at the hotel (beware of German motorway restaurants at least on your departure day, by all means avoid the Swiss ones), then time to go and see what was happening... even though the persistent rain was not encouraging.


DAY 1 – FAUN

faun_400px_01Our feeling was right: the concert area was wonderfully ready, by 7 p.m. the soundcheck echoed majestically up to the market area, where many beautiful coloured stalls were placed on a lawn of some hundreds square metres. But no kids were there running in the lawn, no bearded men swallowing Bratwurst, and no empty beer mugs on the tables: blame the rain for that. Shortly after the situation changed, even if not much: an itinerant folk band (think of the typical noisy guys with bagpipes and Celtic drums) drew the attention of many people in the audience, and by 9 p.m. about one hundred, maybe two, fans of the genre were waiting for Faun near the stage... a few minutes wait, and they would get the music they were longing for. We sat in the front row, a kind lady offered us a blanket to keep warm in the cold weather, and we impatiently waited...


Faun are one of the most interesting and important folk/medieval band in Germany. Their leader Oliver Sa-Tyr is a real artist, an excellent composer, and also has a stunning stage presence. Also, we were lucky enough to admire them in a completely acoustic set, focused on their latest masterpiece “Eden” as well as the other classics of a rich discography: “Totem”, “Licht” and “Renaissence” were well represented in the setlist, including two tracks from the beautiful “Aire” of Sava, side project by Oliver with the beautiful flute player of Schandmaul, Birgit, of which the third LP was released in May. Apart from the great Rudriger on drums and Stephan on hurdy gurdy, the attention was focused on Fiona and Sonja, two angel-like beautiful girl who nicely entwined their vocals: the blonde German girl also played a whole lot of wind instruments and the acoustic guitar, while the red haired girl from California (a new entry in the band) only did charming vocals. The show went flawlessly, the audience were also delighted by Beatrische’s brilliant performance with the magical balls (look at our photogallery) and started thinking of the following day...


DAY 2 – BLACKMORE’S NIGHT


bn_400px_02The day has come. We couldn’t miss a walk in Stuttgart (a nice, welcoming town – which is not surprising!), still some rain, then finally some afternoon sun, and we went back to the Schadenweiler Hof park. The view was just the opposite of the previous day: it was a real celebration day, and the market was finally crowded with people shopping, eating, drinking, singing and having fun together. We just did the reporters and joined the short queue that was appearing before the entrance of the show area: it was 6 p.m., by 7 p.m. the number of people in the queue (who were queuing for real, without walking past the others) had increased by hunderfold and the gates finally opened. We sat in the front row again (million thanks to our friend Susanne Gueth of the German fanclub of Blackmore’s Night) and looked behind: sold out, not even a merchandise stall of the band would have found some room. The promoters were gloating... it’s wonderful to be a professional physiotherapist... in Germany!

The opening act was Brigandu, this time featuring Gaby Koss (ex Haggard and now Cantus Lunaris)... nothing extraordinary, to be honest, especially a few hours after seeing what a band like Faun can do in a genre not so different from what these girls are playing.
Blackmore’s Night got onstage at around 9 p.m., at sunset. “God Save The Keg” was the usual opening track before the great opener, so successful in the past few years, “Locked Within The Crystal Ball”. Audio, sounds and Ritchie Blackmore were perfect, until Candice Night took up the role of stage queen with “Queen For A Day”. “Under A Violet Moon” set the show on fire, and Candice paid homage to the Italian audience: she knows we’re waiting for her with her band, and asked twice how many Italians were there: there were many, most of them in the front row… the Germans even let us to the front rows to make us happy. Will it ever happen in Italy?


bn_400px_01The setlist was precise, flawless, going from a highlight to another without forgetting the first masterpieces, alternated with the newest songs. Only three tracks from the latest album Autumn Sky were played, “Darkness” (masterpiece) followed by “Dance Of Darkness”, “All The Fun Of The Fayre” and “Barbara Allen”, where Candice’s perfect performance almost matched the studio version. The usual sketches were there too, they won’t drop the damn one of Lady Gaga, and the drinking songs have become cult songs by now... the Germans seem to like them a lot, who knows why...


On to serious things now. “Wind In The Willows”, “Soldier Of Fortune”, “Ghost Of A Rose” and “Renaissance Faire” were worth the whole travel, all of them perfectly performed thanks to Ritchie Blackmore at the very top, always focused as well as in a good mood: he really felt like playing, he teased Candice more than usual, and also joked with the audience very often. An example? After the umpteenth present to Candice, a puppet, someone in the audience joked: “It’s for you, Ritchie”, and the man in black smartly answered “Yes it’s for me, but it looks like you”… English humor.


Very good performance of the new band members, especially the drummer Trobaudor Of Aberdeen who met Ritchie’s requirement each time he glanced at him. The bass player Earl Grey Of Chimay fits in the band more and more too, performing some extraordinary solos with the great Bard David Of Larchmont on keyboards. A new violinist and, finally, a back vocalist are the icing on the cake. Final madness on “Home Again”, danced and sung by everyone, medley included (for example the German national anthem), then after a 2h 30min excellent show the band said goodbye to an applauding audience.


The third day saw us going back to Italy – and that was it. A weekend like this can bring you back to life, if not physically, at least on an emotional level: Blackmore’s Night have become an essential feature in the life of many children, young people, adults and old ones... some wait for Ritchie’s solo with the Stratocaster, some for Candice to sing a moving song. Everyone agrees that Blackmore’s Night bring you back in time, and if experienced with the right spirit, they also increase your willingness of having music in your life… regardless of where you come from, Italy or Germany. Auf Wiedersehen, friends.

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Setlist Blackmore's Night:

God Save the Keg
Locked Within the Crystal Ball
Queen for a Day, Part I
Queen for a Day, Part II
Under a Violet Moon
Soldier of Fortune
Durch den Wald zum Bach Haus
World of Stone
All the Fun of the Fayre
Renaissance Faire
Darkness
Dance of the Darkness
Band Solos
Ghost of a Rose
Wind in the Willows
Difficult To Cure - Beethoven (Strat)
St. Teresa (Strat)
The Circle (Strat)
Peasant's Promise
Toast to Tomorrow
Bad Romance (Lady Gaga cover)
Barbara Allen
Home Again (with drinking songs)




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