Manchester Academy - 9th November
I had been looking forward to this show for quite some time as, although this would be my third encounter with Within Temptation live, it would be the first where they were the main attraction, as the previous times had been at the Download Festival.
In any case, things have changed since then as Robert Westerholt no longer tours with the band since partner Sharon Den Adel gave birth to their third child earlier this year, and has been replaced by new guitarist Stefan Helleblad. We also had the new drummer, (Mike Coolen) finally unveiled. So, after support act Anneke van Giersbergen - who wasn’t bad at all - gave us her energetic 30 odd minutes, W.T. came out to a sold out Academy, starting with ‘Shot In The Dark,’ followed by ‘In The Middle Of The Night,’ ‘Faster,’ ‘Fire And Ice’ and ‘Ice Queen.’ Sharon did appear to have a problem while singing the second song, (which she did mention later), but she soon overcame the problem. ‘The Howling,’ ‘Our Solemn Hour’ and ‘Stand My Ground’ followed these, and then another new song ‘Sinead,’ which really seemed to get the crowd going, which is quite odd when you think about it; a rock crowd really getting into a disco based song. ‘What Have You Done’ was one of my favourites, despite incorporating backing tracks, before the main set came to an end after ‘Iron,’ ‘Angels’ and ‘Lost.’ There were two encores, ‘Deceiver Of Fools’ and ‘Mother Earth,’ and the second being ‘Stairway To The Skies.’
The set list was strong, and it was heavily weighted towards the new album, with seven songs from ‘The Unforgiving’ in total, which indicates how confident they are in the new material. There was one little disappointment for me however. When I spoke to Sharon and Robert earlier in the year, they told me that, due to the pregnancy, it gave them more time to plan a bigger show. Now I was expecting another Black Symphony outing, with a little more theatre and costume changing, which was probably a little ambitious of me. (It was only the Academy after all). Having said that, the light show was good, and the band has not suffered at all after the line up changes.