Live at The Wiltern Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
March 19th, 2019
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Within Temptation triumphantly return to Los Angeles for the final night of their North American tour entitled, "Resist". Taking the name from their latest album which was released last month, they brought their own brand of melodic, symphonic metal in epic and powerful form.
Led by the amazing Sharon den Adel, the band has become a phenomena world-wide thanks to her iconic charisma, genre-defining style and her legendary vocal skills.
Every member in the band is talented and important to their unique and moving sound, but Sharon lends a presence and exposes her soul which draws you in. From the huge smile on her face, to the cool wardrobe (that took elements from Wonder Woman's Amazonian training gear and a hooded robe that brought to mind the iconic Princess Leia) as she took to the stage the audience went wild.
The scene itself was set up with a number of "portals" at the back of stage. Rectangular windows framed each side of a large sphere behind the drum kit. These came to life showing landscapes, videos, and other thematic imagery giving insight to other realms of thought throughout the show.
Joining Sharon on stage was Ruud Jolie on lead guitar, Stefan Helleblad on additional guitar, Jeroen van Veen on bass guitar, Martijn Spierenburg on keyboards, and Mike Coolen on drums. In the studio, a lot of work is also done by Robert Westerholt, Sharon's husband, but I have not seen him on tour any of the times I have gotten to see them (this is at least number four counting an intimate acoustic night).
They started off strong with the lead track on their new album, "The Reckoning". Taking the global situation to heart, the album title is a rally call to "Resist" the stirring of hatred that has pushed into the light. There will be a reckoning one way or the other for these dark times and malicious movements.
"Endless War" follows suit and is an anthem for those in constant conflict with their own past and endlessly fighting their own demons. They continued with "In the Middle of the Night" from their album, "The Unforgiving".
A personal favorite of mine, "Stand Your Ground" is uplifting and empowering with its message of never backing down and persevering through whatever comes against your or tries to hold you back. You cant deny it, you have to face it and stand your ground.
They did one of their ballads next with "All I Need" from "The Heart of Everything". Within Temptation have often been cited as gothic metal and to be honest, their sound does not really fall into this realm but their lyrical content often crosses over into that melancholic-romantic side of things and this song definitely lies in this category.
When last Within Temptation visited us with a tour, it was in support of their previous album, "Hydra". This time around they only gave us a couple of songs from this release with "Covered by Roses" being one of them. Hitting upon a more commercial rock sound than the majority of their material this song would not be out of place in the mainstream world but still retains Within Temptation's signature symphonic backing elements and Sharon's beautiful voice.
The title track from "The Heart of Everything" is another one of my personal favorites and I love seeing it live. They followed it up with another great song from that same album, "The Cross". This song is more about a person's personal burden or cross to bear and how important love is in life and a plea to a lover whose relationship has grown cold. The one sided love has in fact, become that burden.
One of the songs that put them on the map many years ago was the hit, "Ice Queen". Sharon addressed the crowd and said that after touring so many years and always doing these early crowd favorites that they needed to spice them up and do them in different ways. Stefan Helleblad switched to acoustic guitar and they performed a minimalistic version of the song, building up with the rest of the band joining them on the final refrains.
The audience was enthusiastic for every song they played and sang along to many but when they hit upon "Faster" the crowd doubled down on their efforts, belting out the chorus with Sharon.
"Paradise (What about Us?)" was originally recorded with Tarja, the original singer from Nightwish. While Tarja did not come on tour with Within Temptation, they did have her image on the video screens for the portions of the duet that she performed with Sharon.
As the main set was starting to come full circle and draw to a close, they returned to "Resist" for two in a row beginning with "In Vain", which is a very somber reminder that we can't take it with us, we leave it all behind in the end and many of the trivial pursuits that consume us is just in vain.
They followed that up with "Supernova" which at its core is a love song but one with a touch of melancholy to it as well. Sharon's lyrics really are deep and serious and in that sense quite gothic-minded.
They concluded the main set with one of their most popular songs, "What Have You Done" which features Keith Caputo. Keith's image appeared on the video screens for the portions that were sung by him for this fan favorite.
The band took their leave but were called back out with the roar of applause. Anders Friden from In Flames joined them on stage for "Raise Your Banner" from the new album. An anthem of resistance and strength in the face of adversity, it is a powerful song with the refrain, "Blood for Freedom! So raise your banner, fight your war. Break the silence, no remorse. Won't die within!"
Within Temptation came to the final song of the night, the much loved "Mother Earth". A beautiful ode to mother nature and her unpredictably stating that she rules until the end of time and we are but just crossing her path as she makes her way.
Sharon graciously thanked everyone for coming and asked that we put our hands in the air for a crowd shot and then departed, leaving us all reflecting on the amazing performance of the evening.
It was a great show and cemented my love for the band even further. I highly recommend checking out their entire catalog but especially their latest, "Resist" as it is a poignant message and captures the zeitgeist of the world in this moment.
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