LIVE REVIEW: Within Temptation @ O2 Apollo, Manchester

Tonight, the long awaited headline tour from Within Temptation (with support from Delain) has finally come to the O2 Apollo in Manchester. Having had to postpone the UK tour due to album conflicts, this night was highly anticipated by eager fans. Being the first night of the sold out tour in the UK, not one person in the room knew what to expect from any of the bands on the bill.

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Delain, a symphonic metal band from the Netherlands are the opening act for the night. Founded in 2002 by the former keyboard player (Martijin Westerholt) from Within Temptation, they were the perfect match. With the release of their fifth studio album ‘The Human Contradiction’, it was time for them to face their biggest UK crowd yet. Stepping out on the stage the red headed temptress, Charlotte Wessels (vocalist) gets the crowd raring to go! Combining rich, powerful vocals with great, melodic harmonies, Charlotte shows off her astonishing talent.

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(photo credit – Nigel Crane)

Dedicating their last song ‘We Are The Others’ to the Sophie Lancaster foundation (of whom, some were in the audience) proving to the fans their passion for music and showing their belief in supporting victims of hate crimes. Filling their set with songs off the new album such as ‘Army of Dolls’ and ‘Stardust’ but also performing a few crowd favourites such as ‘The Gathering’ and ‘Get the Devil out Of Me’, Delain prove to be a band to watch out for.

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It’s finally time for Within Temptation’s turn in the spotlight. Filling the stage with stairways, dragons and a big screen, it’s safe to say that these guys know how to put on a show!

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The lights dimmed and a short film began to play; promoting the release of their sixth studio album ‘Hydra’. Throughout the evening, the clips on the screen correlated with the songs which were being played; ranging from clips from music videos to newly recorded footage. The band also used this screen to show guest vocalists (Tarja Turunen, Howard Jones, Keith Caputo and Xzibit) who feature in some of their songs. This was cleverly done so that the audience had something to watch when there was nobody singing on stage.

There is a huge contrast in instrumentation and dynamics in most of their songs. Carrying a voice which is so angelic and pure, it gives Sharon Den Adel a chance to showcase her talent as much as she possibly can. This is shown in the song ‘Angels’, making it even more breathtaking with her wide vocal range which sends shivers down your spine. One of the things which I love about Within Temptation is that they don’t pull focus on Sharon all the time. Cleverly using a light show to focus on guitarists, Ruud Jolie and Stefan Helleblad, when playing solos, adding yet another unique feature to their performance.

In 2013, the band recorded covers of pop songs in their own style for ‘The Q-Music Sessions’. To treat the audience tonight, the band played a cover of Lana Del Ray’s ‘Summertime Sadness’. Also playing a variety of songs from ‘The Silent Force’, ‘The Heart of Everything’, ‘The Unforgiving’, ‘Hydra’ and ‘Mother Earth’, showing they haven’t forgotten the songs which made them who the band they are today.

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— –LIVE— –

16.04.14 – O2 Academy, Birmingham

18.04.14 – Jahunderthalle, Frankfurt, Germany 1

9.04.14 – Thuringenhalle, Erfurt, Germany

20.04.14 – Columbiahalle, Berlin, Germany 22.04.14 – Le Phare, Toulouse, France

24.04.14 – La Halle Tony Garnier Arena, Lyon, France

25.04.14 – Zenith, Paris, France

28.04.14 – Gothic Theatre, Denver, Colorado

29.04.14 – Lotto Arena, Antwerp, Belgium

02.05.14 – Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Netherlands

03.05.14 – Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam Netherlands

— —SETLIST— –

1. Let Us Burn 2. Paradise (What About Us?) 3. Faster 4. Iron 5. Edge of the World 6. In the Middle of the Night 7. Our Solemn Hour 8. Angels 9. Dangerous 10. And We Run 11. See Who I Am 12. Stand My Ground 13. The Cross 14. Covered By Roses 15. Mother Earth 16. What Have You Done 17. Whole World Is Watching (acoustic) 18. Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Ray cover) 19. Ice Queen

Review by Nikki Limbrick