Support Acts: Stream Of Passion
Review by Yiannis (John) Stefanis
Photos by Yiannis (John) Stefanis
It was twenty years ago that the Rutten brothers decided to entrust the young and up-and-coming Anneke van Giersbergen with the position behind then mike in their band The Gathering – a decision that baffled a few people back in the day but one which was justified following the release of the band’s breakthrough third studio album “Mandylion”.
Six albums later, Anneke left the fold and embarked on a personal career which found her working with a variety of diverse bands/artists such as Devin Townsend, Ayreon, Napalm Death & Anathema, to name a few. The reason, however, which led to Anneke visiting London on the evening of the 23rd of April was the promotion of “The Diary” – the result of her latest and most fruitful collaboration with songwriter/producer Arjen Anthony Lucassen which is fittingly entitled The Gentle Storm.
Even though Lucassen’s commitment to perform material from “The Diary” in a live setting was restricted to a five date central European acoustic tour, Anneke decided to give the album proper justice by embarking on a full blown tour and to do so enlisted the services of a group of young but very impressive musicians, some of whom have worked with her on her solo material, while others are members of the well-respected Symphonic Metal sextet Stream Of Passion – a band that I have been trying to see live for quite some time now. Luckily my interview with Anneke finished in time to enable me to get into the venue and watch the performance of this much talked about opening act.
Most of us have had a fair share of exposure to female-fronted Metal bands over the years to the point that it is safe to say that we pretty much know exactly what it is that we can expect from bands of such musical orientation. While adhering to the main rules of the genre, Stream Of Passion manage to offer something slightly different from the norm and that really boils down to the interesting way with which Marcela Bovio’s colourful but, at times, also rather powerful vocals interact with Eric Hazebroek massive low-chorded riffs.
Opening with the technical and massive sounding “Monster”, featured in last year’s “A War Of Our Own”, the band lost no time in connecting with Anneke’s devoted fanbase and by the time equally heavy sounding “The Curse” was performed it is fair to say that a significant number of punters were clapping their hands rhythmically to the band’s cleverly crafted tunes.
Featuring a beautiful violin, expertly performed by the band’s frontwoman, “Deceiver” was the highlight of the band’s show, even though it was nearly topped by the masterfully presented rhythmical opus “Haunted” which concluded the band’s short but pretty intense and enjoyable set.
Having lived with “The Diary” for the best part of two months, and thus being well aware of its duality, I was quite eager to see which of the two versions (gentle/soft or storm/hard) Anneke (aka The Gentle Storm) would choose to present us with on the night.
It was mainly due to space and travelling restraints that the beautiful chanteuse opted for the latter, and a good thing this proved to be as the sound provided by the venue’s sound system on the night was fitting.
Opening with “Endless Sea” and following on with “Heart Of Amsterdam”, a smiling and fairly energetic Anneke provided us with performances that were terribly similar to those featured on the album, assisted in this difficult task by Stream Of Consciousness’ Marcela Bovio who did a sterling job on the operatic side of things.
Accompanied by various pre-recorded parts, the party continued with a killer version of “Brightest Light” and when Anneke introduced “The Storm” by asking the crowd: “Do you want to Rock?”, the audience was so loud that one would expect the roof of the venue to be blown away through its sheer intensity.
The ease by which material old and new blended together on the night was shown by the natural way with which “New Horizons” succeeded a moving cover of The Gathering’s “Eleanor” while an outstanding acoustic version of my personal favourite “The Moment” was sandwiched between the equally impressive & acoustic “Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd cover) and “Comatose” (Ayreon cover).
Throughout this time I couldn’t help but noticing what an impressive guitarist young Merel Bechtold (Mayan, Purest Of Pain) was, with her personal performances in both “Cape Of Storms” and “The Greatest Love”.
Anneke’s main set was concluded through a string of enjoyable covers, the most impressive of which were The Gathering’s all time classic “Strange Machines” and her return to stage was signalled by an impressive interpretation of Devin Townsend’s “Fallout” and her very own and much loved “Shores Of India”.
I have been following Anneke’s career long and close enough to know that on stage she’s a real ‘tour de force’, a seasoned artist which always gives 100% no matter the circumstances, but even I was blown away by the energy, passion and sheer professionalism which characterised this truly memorable show!
While I felt quite sad by the fact that tonight’s show was not sold out, something that still baffles me, I am content in the knowledge that those people who did decide to invest their hard earned money and made their way to north London on the day gave Anneke and her beautiful band the support and motivating energy needed in order to provide us in return with such a brilliant show.
This, my friends, was one of those “you should have been there” moments. What a show indeed!
Stream Of Passion Set List:
- “A War Of Our Own”
- “The Curse”
- “Don’t Let Go”
- “Street Spirit”
- “In The End”
The Gentle Storm/Anneke van Giersbergen Set List:
- “Endless Sea”
- “Heart Of Amsterdam”
- “Brightest Light”
- “The Storm”
- “Eleanor” (The Gathering cover)
- “New Horizons”
- “Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd – acoustic version)
- “The Moment” (acoustic version)
- “Comatose” (Ayreon cover – acoustic)
- “Cape Of Storms”
- “The Greatest Love”
- “Waking Dreams” (Ayreon cover)
- “Strange Machines” (The Gathering cover)
- “Isis And Osiris” (Ayreon cover)
- “Fallout” (Devin Townsend Project cover)
- “Shores Of India”
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