Within Temptation Wembley Arena 12-04-14

Finally after a near 18 month wait since the tickets went on sale and one postponement later we arrived at Wembley to hear Wigan score their penalty in the FA Cup semi final against Arsenal. Sadly they didn't hold on but seeing Gooners leaving after only an hour was very amusing.

Into the venue and a large crowd had gathered for this evening of Dutch female fronted symphonic metal heaven.

Fist up were Delain who were promoting their their recently released " The Human Contradiction " cd. Greeted like headliners their 40 minute set showcased all of their many considerable attributes.

Here is what they played

Go Away
Get The Devil Out Of Me
Army Of Dolls
Sleepwalkers Dream
The Gathering
Not Enough
We Are The Others

Led by the golden tonsils of Charlotte Wessels who also had a great stage presence and asked the crowd to join in at every opportunity. The band formed by ex Within Temptation keyboard player Martijn Westerholt , who must have had a headache after he headbanged through the whole set , are huge in mainland Europe but after this showing the venues in the UK will be getting bigger. Timo Somers on guitar riffed away all night and his few solos all showed a melodic style. 

"Stardust " and " Army Of Dolls " from the new cd went down well but old favourites " The Gathering " and set closer "We Are The Others " had the floor going nuts and it finished on a high with them promising to return soon. I'd love to see them in a small venue although I expect that could be difficult as their star grows in this country.

On their last visit to the UK we were lucky enough to see them at the 5000 capacity Brixton Academy and now this time round a near sell out at Wembley gives us the opportunity to see them in all of their glory in arenas as they do across Europe.

A huge set with a large video screen backdrop with 2 huge Hydra heads to either side along with an excellent sound and quite superb light show this was a top drawer arena show from a band that continues to grow.

Over the course of 1 hour and 50 minutes we were treated to a set that focussed on their last 3 albums but dipped back through their whole catalogue leaving no one feeling short changed.

Here is what they played

Let Us Burn
Paradise (What About Us ? )
Edge Of The World
In The Middle Of The Night
Our Solemn Hour
And We Run
Tell Me Why
See Who I Am
Stand My Ground
The Cross
Covered By Roses
Mother Earth

Encores of 
What Have You Done
Whole World Is Watching ( acoustic )
Summertime Sadness
Ice Queen

With the new cd " Hydra " having been out for 2 months we have all been able to devour it so with the band playing 8 songs off it every song went down went down a crowd favourite.

Starting  with " Let Us Burn " with the light show on overdrive and flames on the screen and leaping from the floor it was an amazing start to the show although with a muddy sound that did take a couple of songs to sort out. 

" Paradise " had the first of many guests on the screens and it shows how good the band are that it only added to the show and it all worked seamlessly. The sound on this one was like being hit by a bulldozer with guitarists Ruud Jolie and Stefan Helleblad riffing away madly and huge drum sound  from Mike Coolen. Add to that stabbing keys from Martin Spierenburg and Joroen van Veen's bass work and a wall of sound was formed.

I've not mentioned the star of the show yet. Sharon den Adel has a voice from the gods. On heavy duty rockers and ballads alike her god given tone and pitch are just a joy to hear. The fact that the soundman does such a great job so we can hear every note should be mentioned too.

She uses every inch of the stage including all of the stairs at the back and enjoys the use of the walkway out into the first 15 rows and is joined regularly by both guitarists.

A trip back to the " Unforgiven " cd for a couple of songs takes it up another notch. Sharon completely lost her place before the second chorus of " Faster " but the band carried on and guided her back in place.

Then a dip into the back catalogue and a chance for Sharon to show off her pipes with " Angels " and the gothic tinged " Our Solemn Hour " slowed the pace a little.

Before " Dangerous " and Howard Jones is on the screens takes the pace back up again.

A mention to both guitarists who when needed for solos do both have a real melodic style to their playing that just fits into the music so well. During the show I wondered what original guitarist and Sharons other half Robert Westerholt felt. He left the band in a live sense to look after their 3 kids but still writes all of the music and helps with stage production. I spotted him at the mixing desk leading the clapping and running between the lights and sound desks. Good to see him involved still as the band get bigger and bigger as he is still a huge part of the band.

The encores took it up another notch if that was possible. Starting with my favourite " What Have You Done  "  with Keith Caputo on the screens and everyone belting out the chorus before the band made my night. They had rarely played  " Hydra " 's closing track " The Whole World Is Watching " but had decided to add it to the setlist and playing it acoustically was stunning. 
With all of the bombast of the show to hear it picked and sung so beautifully by Sharon had the hairs on the back of my neck standing to attention. Quite wonderful. 

A quite brilliant show with a band who's music deserves to be played at arenas all over the world.

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