Within Temptation – HMV Oxford Street, London – 4th February 2014

Tonight was to be a very special show – Within Temptation doing an intimate acoustic set to 180 fans.  Tickets had been made available free of charge a week or two ahead of the show and had been snapped up in just 20 minutes.  There was to be a short acoustic set followed by a signing session for the lucky fans.
Happily I was online at the right time and managed to get a ticket, so the afternoon saw me queueing in the cold for an hour outside HMV before we were allowed inside to queue in the upstairs part of the store until the venue was ready and we were escorted upstairs to the room they have for use as a venue for these sort of sessions.  Another hour or so of waiting followed but at least it was warm and we had the new album, Hydra, playing through the PA while we waited.  Having got a spot on the barrier I was happy.

within temptation 0101Finally the band came out – well three of them anyway, singer Sharon den Adel, Ruud Jolie and Martijn Spierenburg.  It was a really simple stripped down set up, just Sharon singing, Ruud playing acoustic guitar and Martijn on keyboards.  It was only a short set – just five songs, but it was a truly special performance.  As an acoustic set with them sitting down just a few feet in front of us then there was nothing to distract attention from Sharon’s vocals which sounded truly amazing.  The quality, power and vocal control she has is truly impressive and a show like this really does show how good she is as the lack of a full electric band and backing tapes mean what you hear is all her voice.

They started with “Faster”, taken from the last album (The Unforgiving) before playing the first of the tracks from “Hydra” – “And we run” (thankfully performed without the rap from Xzibit).  This was followed by “Paradise (what about us?)” and even though we didn’t have Tarja there to add her vocals it sounded fantastic live and is bound to be a fan favourite before long.
They then threw in one of their favourite covers – “Summertime Sadness”, a Lana Del Rey song that Within Temptation did on their “Q Music sessions” album of cover versions.  Finally “Whole world is watching” from Hydra brought the short set to a close.

It was a great set – not just hearing the songs performed in such an intimate setting, but also how relaxed and informal the band were – laughing and joking and really looking happy, which can’t be easy when they’re at the end of a logn day on a gruelling promotional schedule that’s seen them travelling between countries to promote the album.

After they finished playing they moved over to the signing table and signed stuff for fans.  A great evening for fans.

Setlist:

Faster
And we run
Paradise (What about us?)
Summertime sadness
Whole world is watching

within temptation 0100

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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