Cultivating great musical taste

Within Temptation at Wembley Arena

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Well, you may have already read my thoughts on the support, to sum it up they were bloody fantastic, but what about the main attraction? Upon seeing the Dutch symphonic metal giants for the third time it is safe to say that they are as good as ever. While Hydra isn’t their best album to date it’s still a strong offering and it hasn’t impacted on their live performance at all.

The set decoration was as awesome as usual, this time the stage was bookended by two hydra heads, and in between them a screen stretched out which took on the role of the various guest singers and displayed videos to the various songs. They drew on tracks from all across their back catalogue and brought forth a lot of the fan favourites.

The power they put into the performance paid off entirely and Sharon den Adel proved exactly why she is a master of her craft. While Robert might not have been on the stage it was still nice seeing him hanging around behind the scenes with his and Sharon’s children, supporting the band. A lot was based around the dragon theme, including the bursts of fire which emitted from the stage during Let us Burn and a few other tracks.

Speaking of which, Let us Burn was a brilliant opener to the show. As usual they built tension and atmosphere at the beginning of their set, lights flashing against the white curtain which boasted the album artwork. Music built up and the lights grew faster until the curtain  dropped and the band came on stage one by one. Without any further ado they went straight into Let us Burn and Sharon den Adel made her entrance at the top, making her way down the stairs confidently and moving right to the walkway that went into the audience. An explosive start for an explosive band.

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I always say this whenever reviewing a Within Temptation gig, but they went from strength to strength. It took a while before they went beyond The Unforgiving album, but when they did they pulled Angels into the show and the audience were ecstatic. It’s hard to say which song is their anthem, there are so many songs from across all their releases that need to be played. If any one of those tracks come on everyone goes wild and it happened more than once in London. Angels was a spectacular performance.

Stand my Ground also made its essential appearance and was met by as much enthusiasm. This time round it was introduced with a story from den Adel about the man who built the first computer and committed suicide because he was gay and he felt as if he couldn’t cope with people prying into his life. She dedicated the song to him and it really resonated with the story.

Of course, they played a lot of material from the new album including Covered by Roses, Dangerous, Whole World is Watching (as an acoustic track) and Paradise (What About us?). They balanced it well with other tracks from other albums, however it did mean missing some other big songs such as The Howling, Memories and Sinead. Understandable with a back catalogue such as theirs it isn’t possible to fit them all in.

As usual the encore didn’t disappoint. Starting with Mother Earth it covered a few more good tracks including their cover of Lana del Ray’s Summertime Sadness. In honesty they did a far better job of it than the original. Again the power was relentless and even though it was nearing the end their performance didn’t waver. Then it ended with their usual, Ice Queen, always a crowd pleaser.

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