As I arrive at the venue tonight a full hour before it opens the draw of the bands is evident as the queues are already stretching up the road for this rearranged show.
The tour originally due to be in January was rescheduled for a month later so Within Temptation could add extra touches to their new album Hydra and get rehearsed properly for the tour which kicked off back in late-February.
Both bands tonight have close ties not only in the fact they are both Dutch symphonic/melodic metal bands but also Delain was formed by ex-Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt back in 2006 along with vocalist Charlotte Wessels.
Last time I saw Delain was when they headlined Dames of Darkness last year and they kept a capacity crowd mesmerized for an hour-plus set and tonight they did the same.
Kicking off with ‘So Away’ and ‘Get The Devil Out Of Me’, both tracks have a rockier feel and get the crowd and the band bouncing and into the gig. Charlotte as ever is upfront and enticing the crowd with effortless vocals which sit nicely within the waves of keyboards and as much riffage as guitarist Timo Somers could muster. I did feel, though, he could add a bit more of a harsh edge to make it stand out more.
After a couple of tracks from the new album The Human Contradiction in the form of ‘Army of the Dolls’ and ‘Stardus’t which go down very well, we have one of their main anthemic songs ‘The Gathering’ and although more melodic than some it really hits the spot with the crowd.
As we glide melodically to the end of the set we have time for one more blast in the form of ‘Not Enough’ which starts with the whole band windmilling along with the crowd before the final song of the evening ‘We are the Others’, inspired and dedicated to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation in memory of Sophie Lancaster. A really good set that shows that there is a nice rockier side to the symphonic metal genre.
The Apollo stage has now being transformed for Within Temptation and as the huge Hydra embossed curtain drops it reveals the drum and keyboard risers either side of the dramatic center stairs all backed by the huge video screens.
They don’t waste any time introducing us to the new material off Hydra as we are hit by ‘Let Us Burn’ and ‘Faster’ and what is evident is that they have moved more towards the heavier side of melodic rock with big catchy riffs from Ruud Jolie and Robert Westerholt, very powerful, and fitting perfectly with the sweeping and punchy keys from Martijn Spierenburg.
Sharon den Adel effortlessly delivers the soaring vocals along with her stage show all backed by the on screen videos. I had not seen the band before and was a bit unsure what to expect but the overall sound for me was generally towards the punchier rockier side of the melodic rock rather that the more symphonic sound of some of their peers and this gives them a wider audience base, especially with tracks like ‘Dangerous’ which on the album features Howard Jones on vocals.
With a finale including the title track of their 2000 album ‘Mother Earth’ the stage was set for the encore – two trimmed back songs in a cover of ‘Summertime Sadness’ and an acoustic version of ‘Whole World Is Watching’ – before the final song of the night ‘Ice Queen’.
A great night – and even for someone like me who generally doesn’t follow too much symphonic/melodic rock.
Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley
Delain: Intro, Go Away, Get the Devil Out of Me, Army of Dolls, Stardust, Electricity, Sleepwalkers Dream, The Gathering, Not Enough, We Are The Others
Within Temptation: Dragon (Short Movie) , Let Us Burn, Paradise (What About Us?), Faster, Our Solemn Hour, Iron, Edge Of The World, In The Middle Of The Night, Angels, Dangerous, And We Run, Tell Me Why, Elements Intro, See Who I Am, Stand My Ground, The Cross, Covered By Roses, Mother Earth Encore: What Have You Done, Whole World Is Watching(Acoustic), Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey Cover), Ice Queen
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 20 December., imbued with a festive flavour to raise the spirits
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