The Manchester Academy floor was filled with the lucky spectators who were able to get their tickets for this sold out show for the power symphony that is Within Temptation. The only space that could only be seen was the small space of either left and right of the stage.
The first outfit to entertain their viewers was alternative rock lady Anneke Van Giersbergen [ex The Gathering vocalist],and her comrades Joris Dirks [guitar/vocals], Jacques de Haard [bass] and Rob Snijders [drums], beginning with vibrant hard rock shaker ‘Fury’ and followed with the familiar ‘Saturine’ from previous The Gathering work. The track was spine-tingling with the drama kicked as Anneke delicately raises her arms. Next track to please was ‘Circles,’ a slow number that is quite haunting to the ear and ‘Feel Alive’ goes to the exact opposite with its tinkles of softness and hard rock poppy notes. To end their quite versatile performance was the dark ‘Witnesses’. Its blasts transports itself into darker sounds that satisfied and gained great approval from the masses.
With a massive screen covering the length and breadth of the Manchester Academy stage depicting Mother Maiden, it was time for Within Temptation to take centre stage. The audience was entertained by the theme of their currently appealing “The Unforgiving” album. Manchester were taken on a journey with grand hits ‘Shot In The Dark’, ‘In The Middle Of The Night’, ‘Faster’ and ‘Fire And Ice’. What a great way for the show to commence with its intricately theatrical power. It can instantly be heard by the audience firing their words back that add the extra hint of awe. Sharon den Adel did appear to be having problems with her voice with the first four songs. Despite of this, the watchers were extremely supportive by singing the words back even louder to help their leader regain composure.
Her strength shone through like the angel Sharon naturally is, through the majestic ‘Ice Queen,’ enchanting ‘The Howling’ and mighty ‘Our Solemn Hour’. All control in the room was lost into oblivion as soon as the orchestra and choir filled the room. All senses were together in unison and tingles deep in the spines can be visibly felt by all. To complete the superiority of the tracks was ‘Stand My Ground,’ the hit that signified why they are here selling out Manchester and their shows all over the world.
The crowd got the chance to chill by witnessing the Sinéad short film on the big screen. Everyone was so glued and lost in the moment until a fan exclaimed “NO!” It shook the crowd with raucous applause and plenty of laughs. With the film finished, Sinéad blasted turning the room into a dance floor, but only better. The sight of Keith Caputo on the screen drove the audience wild when the very popular ‘What Have You Done’ exploded from the speakers, whilst the fierce ‘Iron’ turned the place into an heroic battle scene. The hum of keyboards leading to ‘Angels’ once again grabbed Manchester by their hearts, who sung every word, even the high notes!
Now, everyone needs a rest from so many grand tracks. So, Within Temptation took us into two eerie epics through anthems ‘Lost’ and ‘Deceiver Of Fools’. This was a great opportunity to witness the band playing as a whole and to appreciate Jeroen van Veen [bass], Ruud Jolie [lead guitars], Martijn Spierenburg [keyboards] and newcomers Mike Coolen [drums] and fellow Swede Stefan Helleblad [guitars]. Another classic from their catalogue that got Manchester harmonising for the last time, was the powerful ‘Mother Earth’ and the slow but bold ‘Stairway to the Skies’ to put the wonderful performance to a stunning end.
Sharon graciously thanked the audience for supporting her through trouble early in the set and a dignified bow to Manchester as a strong unit. As Sharon described Manchester as a beautiful city when she first visited as a teenager, TINAS can safely say that with a great mixture of songs from their new and with their classics, it was a gig deserving to be sold out and a beautiful night for all to witness.