at The First Direct Arena, Leeds, U.K., November 19, 2022

WITHIN TEMPTATION (Live at The First Direct Arena, Leeds, U.K., November 19, 2022)
Photo: Mick Burgess

After more date changes than there has been UK Prime Ministers over the last couple of years it came as something of a relief to walk into the First Direct Arena in Leeds and see the place packed to the rafters to witness one of most hotly anticipated tours of recent times.

A spirited support slot from Tennessee Rockers, Veridia, fronted by the livewire Deena Jakoub, warmed things up nicely to the ever-growing crowd, with “Blood Diamond” and “I Won’t Stay Down” ramping up the atmosphere. When Evanescence singer Amy Lee joined on piano for “I’ll Never Be Ready”, the place went nuts.

As The Worlds Collide Tour was a co-headlining trek, Evanescence and Within Temptation rotated each night with one band closing one night and the other closing the following night. Tonight, on the last night of the UK Tour, it was Within Temptation’s turn to close the show meaning Evanescence took the middle slot of the night.

The tribal rhythms of Will Hunt’s drums heralded “Broken Pieces Shine” with singer Amy Lee silhouetted in front of an orange glow atop a platform behind the drums before descending to the front of the stage amid a mass of flailing black hair.

With “Made of Stone” with its granite heavy, deep groove riff and “Take Cover” swiftly following, Evanescence were up and running.

Having a couple of huge singles in their back pocket certainly helps to take a show a notch higher so when their Top 10 hit, “Going Under” cranked into gear the crowd responded accordingly as Amy’s voice soared around the hall.

Having a hefty back catalogue and a relatively shorter set always makes it a challenge to choose a setlist so a neat mini medley of “Lose Control/Part Of Me/Never Go Back” meant a lot of ground was covered.

A black grand piano rose up from the floor for Amy to deliver a hauntingly beautiful “Far From Heaven” and “Your Star” to show a different facet to the Evanescence sound.

With an impressively atmospheric lightshow and huge multi-level stage this was quite a spectacle, enhancing a well chosen setlist covering their whole back catalogue. Of course, the hits were welcomed like old friends with “Call Me When You’re Sober” eliciting a huge roar.

It was perhaps the closing duo of “My Immortal”, with Amy back behind the piano, bathed in a gentle white light, accompanied by ten thousand mobile phones and the mega hit “Bring Me To Life” that sealed the deal.

Following on from a Number One hit single is a tough call for any band but Within Temptation rose to the occasion magnificently with an opening salvo of the bombastic “See Who I Am”, a breath-taking “Faster” and “Paradise (What About Us?)”, this was the perfect response.

While Evanescence went for the atmospheric stage show, Within Temptation opted for bombast with a more is more attitude. More pyro, more smoke and more stunning visuals than just about any other touring act you’ll see this year. This was one jaw dropping production of the very highest standard.

This would all have been somewhat superfluous if they didn’t have the songs to back it up but here Within Temptation have them bucket load with every one being a major production number from “Stand My Ground”, the heads down Rocker, “In The Middle Of The Night” to the Ukrainian flag waving “Raise Your Banner”, each one a visual feast.

In Sharon den Adel, they have a singer with a voice so sweet and melodic, it’s as if she is the earthly incarnation of a Siren from Greek mythology, so beautiful to hear with so much charm and passion and when she performed “All I Need” suspended on a swing high above the stage, it was a moment of true splendour.

“What Have You Done” complete with onscreen duet with Keith Caputo positively rocked and the closing due of “Ice Queen” and “Mother Earth” closed the show in suitably grandiose style in what may well be the best arena performance seen in many a year. Absolutely stunning from start to finish.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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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