Within Temptation – Koninklijk Theater Carre – Amsterdam, Netherlands – 2nd March 2015

within temptation - amsterdamTonight was the second night of Within Temptation’s Hydra Theatre tour which started a few nights earlier in Almere.  As with previous theatre tours, the only dates are in the Netherlands – partly due to the fact the tours require a proper theatre rather than standard music venue. Why? Well that’s all down to the setup they have. At the back of the stage is a video screen, but behind the band, and well forward of the screen is another screen – this time see-through. As the show begins, the reason for this becomes clear. Smoke forms before morphing into an orchestra sat on a balcony above and behind the band. These aren’t static images though – it’s video that is timed to perfection – as the drummers with the orchestra strike their drums it coincides with the real drum strokes of Within Temptation’s drummer. There are two live musicians on the balcony too – a violinist and a cellist, and at times it’s hard to tell the real musicians from the video ones – this show really does blend fantasy and reality together.  The show is split into two fifty minute sets plus an interval.

Unlike previous theatre tours which were largely acoustic, this is a full on electric performance – albeit with a few acoustic songs.  The band are really fired up and they all give it everything they’ve got – the two guitarists in particular race around the stage, headbang furiously and generally rock as hard as possible.
Sharon too gives it everything as she moves around the stage, spins or jumps, but at other times she’s more still – all depending on what works for the mood of the song.  She changes costumes several times during the show but there’s so much going on that it never slows the performance.  Sharon also “interacts” with the projections – stands behind the clear screen as she duets with a singer on the screen (Anneke van Giersbergen) and even touches hands with her (some extremely accurate positioning there), and in another part of the show, throws her arms down which causes spouts of water to fly up around her on the screen. It’s stunningly well done.

Ignoring the visuals, this was a superb show – Within Temptation were in great form and the use of a violin and cello sounded great. The setlist was packed with their hits with only a few songs from Hydra. I’d expected the setlist to be far more heavily weighted towards the Hydra material since this is the Hydra theatre tour, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed by what they chose to play.
The visuals though took it to another level and at times had a really effective 3D look. Visually it’s got to be in my top five gigs of all time if not the top two. They do a fantastic job of blurring the line between what’s real and what’s virtual.
The Cross
Hand of Sorrow
Shot in the Dark
And We Run
The Heart of Everything
Towards the End
Jillian (I’d Give My Heart)
Mother Earth

The Last Dance
Paradise (What About Us?)
The Truth Beneath the Rose
Stand My Ground
Covered By Roses
Ice Queen

Stairway to the Skies

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.