When you think about Anneke Van Giersbergen, you relation her work with The Gathering, her collaborations with Devin Townsend, Moonspell, Amorphis, etc. or even her work with The Gentle Storm, Vuur or her solo albums, but a symphonic live show?
My first thought was, ‘This is going to be very interesting’, which indeed it was, and to say the least, I was very impressed and blown away with the results of the show itself. The work of the Residentie Orkest to adapt some of her pieces was astonishing and it allowed to see Anneke‘s music and live stage performance from a different light.
To make things better, as soon as I heard this gig was going to be at 013 Poppodium, I knew it was going to be just great. The day of the show I meet up early with my good friend Anthony who flew all the way from the US for both shows (Tilburg & The Hague). After a good lunch by Piushaven, we arrived at the venue around 5 pm as there were already people in the line, which was a first for a symphonic show.
Once there we immediately made friends with some of the people assisting to the show among them a girl that came from Austria just for this show. We talked about previous Anneke/Vuur/Gentle Storm & Ayreon shows and solo performances and how we thought this show might turn out. Doors opened at 7:30 pm and once we found a good spot in the first line in front of the stage we were ready to see what this show was going to be all about.
The performance started with a beautiful rendition of Feel Alive out of the 2013 solo album Everything Is Changing followed with the classic Amity from her The Gathering era. After that things go classical as we witnessed a rendition of Pavane in F-Sharp Minor original by Gabriel Faure. Even though many of the international crowd assisting to the show didn’t understand Dutch, we understand that the next song was one Your Glorious Light Will Shine – Helsinki from her new band Vuur, which it was a really nice symphonic rendition to such complex progressive song.
Two Souls original by Lorrianville and a beautiful rendition of Purcell‘s When I Am Laid in Earth were the next two pieces. It was here that the realization of how powerful and unique Anneke‘s voice is hit me, not only her versatile style or her tone but how it can go from a metal goddess to an angelical voice from 0 to 80 in the split of a second. After Anneke left the stage the orchestra delivered an amazing performance of Debussy‘s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune.
At this point, I should mention how interesting was the reactions from some members of the symphonic orchestra to see how a crowd composed of 80% of metalheads was behaving and going crazy of euphoria at the end of each song. Their faces of surprise and excitement were also part of how unique and interesting this experiment was.
Anneke returned to the stage and with her, an incredible version of The Gathering‘s song Travel followed by So Sweet and You Will Never Change our of her solo repertory. The versatility of the symphonic versions of this songs gave them a new perspective, and a new way to appreciate Anneke‘s music. Vuur‘s Freedom-Rio was next and again the way the song was brilliantly arranged it and performed gives you an idea of how complex and at the same time flexible Vuur‘s could be.
The Forgotten out of Anneke‘s The Gathering era had a great arrangement, but it was the symphonic version of The Gentle Storm‘s Shores of India that closed the event and the one that personally took my breath away. It was an interesting and innovative experience to see Anneke‘s different eras of her musical career reinvented on a symphonic perspective. I would definitely love to see her doing similar collaborations and experiments to her music in the future.
May 18, 2018 – 013, Tilburg (NL)
May 19, 2018 – Paard, The Hague (NL)