One thing that can elevate or destroy a band’s reputation is their live performances, especially in this day and age. Concerts have always been a very important medium for a band to promote themselves and now, when the industry having issues with the lack of album sales, it has become even more important to make a good impression on the live stage and give the fans their money’s worth.
Within Temptation is a band with a highly-regarded reputation as a must see live act, so when I had the opportunity to go watch them recently in Chicago promoting their latest album, Resist, with In Flames, I was more than interested. Live performances are, at least in my view, the best way to measure a band, especially in the Metal realm: this is the moment when you can tell if they are the real deal or not. And I can now tell you, that seeing them live, will give you one of the best concert experiences you will ever have.
The place was pretty packed and that’s always a nice feeling, which of course that was going to happen because you have two legendary bands, and it’s safe to assume you’ll get a pretty interesting offer for a night like this one.
In Flames showed themselves as what they are: a pretty seasoned group that has been in the trenches many times and delivered a professional, effective performance. Anders Fridén has the charisma and a great interpretation of many of the band’s songs.
One of the things that always got my attention from Within Temptation was the great use of cinematographic; their projections, along with their use of lights, that make for a very effective and dramatic ambiance, which truly fits their music quite well. I have seen the bands live performances multiple times on videos and I have to say that they seem to grow bigger with the theatrics every tour.
As far as the set list goes, it has to be said that when you have a career and discography as extensive as Within Temptation’s, it’s pretty easy to miss a few key songs, but they managed to gather songs from many eras to have a little bit for everybody and that’s always a pretty useful strategy.
Of course, Sharon den Adel’s vocal performance has to be praised. I think I stood there with my jaw dropped watching her go song after song, reaching higher notes and adding a bit more drama than in the studio version–her vocal performance in Stand My Ground, for example, was absolutely breathtaking.
This being Within Temptation, some of their biggest songs like The Promise and Mother Earth can’t be missed, and I have to say they did a fantastic service to these songs; the audio was excellent there and every instrument was sounding quite, which is something that must be remarked.
The whole performance was a blast and you can clearly see a band that are enjoying themselves and at the same time performing with the professionalism that only the years on the road can provide, much like In Flames. The work in tracks like The Reckoning or Faster was also a great example of what I was saying: they sounded beautifully, but also with the raw and energetic vibe that only live shows can inject to music. Something that I personally found great was the fact that this band has a little bit for everybody because they are so musically flexible; this is why they can shift from classical Rock to Pop Metal to Symphonic Metal with ease and still leave a very positive impression.
I have been watching live bands for a while now and you tend to become much more demanding as you progress–I’m happy to say that Within Temptation lived off to the expectation and delivered a fantastic live performance, which is great news for all of us that enjoy their work.