at O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., April 14, 2014

It’s been a long wait but Dutch Symphonic Rockers Within Temptation finally made it up North to Newcastle for their very first show since their debut album Enter was released 17 years ago. The scheduling conflicts which lead to the postponement of their proposed January tour just heightened the sense of anticipation prior to their show at the sold out O2 Academy.

DelainFellow compatriots, Delain, were the perfect opening act. With a new album, The Human Contradiction, literally only days old, this was the ideal chance to win over new fans and Delain seized their opportunity with both hands with a performance that was powerful and assured. Lead by Charlotte Wessels melodic voice, their Gothic influenced songs including “Go Away” and the inspiring “We Are The Others”, dedicated to the memory of Sophie Lancaster, impressed. Judging by the activity at the merchandise stall afterwards, their fan base will be increasing after each show. Delain may have been the opening act, but this was a commanding and headlining performance.

Their appearance at Wembley Arena two nights earlier demonstrated just how far Within Temptation have come over the years and with their latest album Hydra crashing into the UK Top 10, 2014 could mark their most successful year yet. Hydra may have less of the overt symphonic trademarks of the band but the harder edged, more direct approach first explored on their previous album, The Unforgiving, certainly seems to be paying dividends.

Within temptationThe triple opening salvo of “Let Us Burn”,” Paradise (What About Us)” and “Faster” certainly had the show off to a frantic start with the latter two in particular sure-fire hit singles if only daytime radio would broaden their playlist. What is there not to like about towering melodies, huge choruses and those absolutely drop dead gorgeous vocals of Sharon den Adel? Adel herself strikes an imposing presence on stage with cascades of dark hair and stunning Victorian bodices giving the look of someone who’s just stepped out of the pages of a Jane Austen novel.

Within Temptation’s sound was colossal, dramatic, grandiose and so much more. “Mother Earth” and “Ice Queen” were cinematic in scope and could quite easily form the backdrop to a Spielberg epic. The multi layered Sci-Fi stage set and atmospheric lighting along with the huge video screen created quite possibly the most impressive spectacle yet seen at the Academy. The video projections were particularly effective for Adel’s duets with onscreen guest vocalists including former Nightwish singer Tarja and Rapper Xzibit.

“Stand My Ground” and “See Who I Am” with their dark, romantic Gothic feel brought to life by Adel’s sweet voice and sweeping chorus’s while “In The Middle of the Night” was more of a heads down rocker without ever leaving the imposing melody behind creating a truly invigorating, uplifting experience.

Within Temptation

It wasn’t all symphonic bombast though. A simply beautiful “Angels” saw Adel in almost Kate Bush territory and “Edge of the World” was spine tingling stuff giving a real balance to the heavier songs in their repertoire. Adel’s stunning, pure vocals on the acoustic take of “Whole World is Watching” was breath-taking in its beauty.

Within Temptation

They say patience is a virtue and good things will come to those who wait. Well it’s certainly been a long, long wait for northern fans of the band and that patience was well and truly rewarded by Within Temptation’s stunning debut show in the region. Let’s hope it’s not a 17 year wait until their next appearance in Newcastle as this was a truly magical performance by a band right at the top of their game.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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