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Within Temptation - Live in Philadelphia

Within Temptation - Live in Concert
September 13, 2011 - Electric Factory Philadelphia
Within Temptation

For nearly three years, I’ve envisioned attending a Within Temptation concert ever since first listening to and thoroughly enjoying "Our Solemn Hour." Initially, I was taken aback by their bombastic sound and the power of Sharon’s voice in either her soprano vibrato or her glorious belted notes. While, Evanescence seems to be the first band that people commonly find to be comparable to Within Temptation in sound. For me, Within Temptation bolstered the symphonic elements that are muter in Evanescence’s music and made the sound more sophisticated overall.

My journey was somewhat perilous as I bravely crossed the four-lane intersection where traffic speedily drove onto Philadelphia’s infamous highway: the Schuylkill Expressway. Coming onto the back-lot of the Electric Factory which looks like an abandoned warehouse, I discovered that there were two people in line and one of them was my friend, Lauren. Catching my breath from the nerve-wracking walk to the venue, I patiently waited with many others for my most highly anticipated concert this year.

When the concert doors finally opened, queuing fans ecstatically stormed the doors and entered into the cavernous interior of the Electric Factory. At this point, containing my excitement was becoming increasingly difficult. While 3 performed, I respectfully tried to pay attention and cheer for them at the appropriate moments.

Within Temptation

Overall, 3 really surprised me because for once, a band finally chose an opening act that fit with their style. Personally, most music takes me a bit to adapt to therefore it is hard to rock out to it without feeling awkward. But from listening to them, I was surprised to find that their sound was definitely not discordant or was filled with too many purposeless growls. Yet, it strangely was reminiscent of Dream Theater at certain points. Even so, they were definitely one of the better opening acts that I’ve had the experience of listening to. From my concert experiences, the openings acts are often a bunch of talentless screamo bands that you are impatiently waiting to vacate the stage.

Suddenly, it was time for Within Temptation to take the stage. I started to become aware of people’s stuttered breaths around me. Feeling the anticipation, my heart was hammering furiously against my rib cage much like the uneven drumbeats that underlies the otherworldly melody within "Mother Earth." Once the lights dimmed and the "Mother Maiden," short film appeared upon the screen, the crowd regained control of their breathing and braced themselves for the start of the much anticipated show,

Once the footage ended, the recognizable beginning audio track alerted the crowd that "A Shot in the Dark," was beginning. As the stage lights poured on the band, Sharon began signing the first few lyrics: "I’ve been left all alone like a damn criminal." When the first verse ended, the staccato notes of the guitars stalled and suddenly a rampaging drum beat entered the fray of the sound. Sharon and the sound of the three guitars reentered the sound as the passionate main chorus began. Some people found "Shot of the Dark," to be too lackluster to be the first beginning track of this concert. In my personal opinion, this song has an ominous sound that elevates the audience’s suspense level. It works very similar to the foreboding orchestral piece that plays at the beginning of countless films that piques the audience’s interest.

Following "Shot in the Dark," the band follows with three more tracks from "The Unforgiving." During "In the Middle of the Night," the audience is treated with the glory of Sharon’s beautifully belted notes. By Faster, the crowd was beginning to feel like they’ve expended all their energy while rocking out to these first three tracks. Thankfully, the softer "Fire and Ice," provided us with a short-lived reprieve until the sound picked up pace and soon enough, we were rocking out with no reserve to Ice Queen, Iron, Our Solemn Hour, and Stand My ground.

Then, the Sinead short film was shown which symbolically represented the first interim between two portions of the concert. Following this, the band performed what I aptly titled the "dance-metal," track. While this song played, I couldn’t decide whether to foolishly dance or pump my arms in the air like any dutiful metal-head. "What have you done?" offered fans an opportunity to hoarsely yell "What have you done?" as though defending ourselves against Sharon’s inquiring words. "The Howling," Memories," "Angels," and "Deceiver of Fools," appeased fans who begged to hear their favorite oldies performed.

Within Temptation

Far too soon, the ending piece "Stairway to the Skies" began. The festive" Ice Queen," is usually the requisite ending to their set. Yet, the more soulful "Stairway to the Sky" filled that role instead. At this point, we were all thoroughly exhausted so maybe this really was the perfect candidate for the ending. Throughout the song, the audience felt all their worries being quelled by Sharon’s angelic voice. By the end, we are then further swept away by Ruud’s deftly played guitar solo.

As the guitar solo faded, I remember what Ruud had earlier mentioned when he conversed with a number of the fans in line. He had fretted that "he might fuck up tonight." When the audience cheered loudly and expressively at the end, we were unanimously disagreeing with Ruud: "Neither you or the band happened to fuck up. If you did, you guys have so much fun performing that none of the crowd notice. We were entranced and forgot to analyze your performance like a scrupulous critic."

After the concert, I was offered the unforgettable opportunity to meet with the band backstage, all thanks to a deal made with Ruud. Supposedly, his currency is Vintage Star Wars figures and for having them, he allowed one friend and me to venture backstage. When talking with the band, I was struck by their humility and authentic interest in their fans. I’ve met many bands, authors, and actors before this. The only instances where I’ve felt nervous were if the person I was meeting was completely disinterested in talking with you. Or, they condescendingly talked to you if required.

Thankfully, Within Temptation took the time to hang out with us though they were probably very exhausted by this point. My friend and I again felt very comfortable with them and this really helped debunk any myths that all musicians are egotistical and rigid in person. Conversely, Within Temptation truly loves producing music and staying in contact with their large fan base. If the "Black Symphony," was any indication of their skills in putting on a brilliant, bombastic live performance, their concert in Philly was further proof that this band knows how to still put on one hell of a show when the orchestra and pyrotechnics are stripped away.

Set list:
Intro - Mother Maiden Short Film
Shot In The Dark
In the Middle of the Night
Fire and Ice
Ice Queen
Our Solemn Hour
Stand My Ground
Sinead Short Film
What Have You Done
The Howling

Encore #1:
Deceiver of Fools
Mother Earth

Encore #2:
Stairway to the Skies

A VERY SPECIAL THANKS to Roadrunner Records USA and AT Productions/Germany
For more Information about the band:

Official Website
Roadrunner Records