Delain - Paradiso, Amsterdam (Netherlands) - 13 December 2016
Last summer, Delain announced that they would play a very special show for their 10th anniversary at the legendary Paradiso in Amsterdam. This show would be recorded in order to release later on a live DVD/CD, the first of their career, ten years after their debut album 'Lucidity'. What a nice way to end their European tour promoting the release of their fifth studio album 'Moonbathers'.
In order to make it as spectacular as possible, they opened a PledgeMusic campaign to enable the fans to contribute to the show; that included limited and signed CDs, signed posters and more surprisingly, for example, Instagram takeover or guitar Skype lessons. The Dutch band is known for being very close to its public, and once again, such events (together with a donation for the Sophie Lancaster foundation) make them definitely sensitive and careful regarding the expectations that their fans have.
Thus, on the 13 December, it's a sold-out gorgeous Paradiso that hosted the Dutch crew. No support band, straight to the point: Delain warned the fans couple of weeks before, they have to respect a schedule because of the recording. Indeed, at least three moving cameras, an elevated one and four fixed ones are here to catch every single moment of the show.
After having waited outside in the middle of an impressive queue full of fans apparently coming from all over the world, I was thrilled to see Delain play at home, but with a multinational patchwork of very enthusiastic people in the audience.
20:30, beginning of the show with a very impressive video-projected animation on the ex-church windows covered by the intro song 'The Monarch'. The atmosphere becomes immediately magical. The show starts with the opening song 'Hands Of Gold' and here starts singing a stunning Charlotte Wessels, joined by the now well-established crew of Martijn Westerholt, Timo Somers, Otto van der Oije, Ruben Israel and relative newcomer, Merel Bechtold. The sound is heavy, the lights impressive, the projected animations captivating, the complicity between the band's members charming; it's impossible to focus only on one detail only.
As announced through the PledgeMusic, during the second part of the song, Alissa White-Gluz jumps on stage! Growling but clear voice as well, she brings such a powerful dimension to the band and definitely elevates the show (maybe too much?). The audience is now on fire and a shower of confetti ends the song, in a loud clapping noise.
The set-list is well organized and is slightly different from the routine shows of the 'Moonbathers' tour; 'Suckerpunch', 'The Glory And The Scum', 'Get The Devil Out Of Me', 'Army Of Dolls' and 'The Hurricane' are all played, the last of these ending with a rain of confetti once again, simulating a proper 'Hurricane' through which Charlotte Wessels is singing intensively with deep emotion. Right after, 'April Rain' and then 'Where Is The Blood' are performed, this latter one being a live premiere and the band welcomes on stage Burton C. Bell for a delicious and powerful duet.
After a short intermission, the formation keeps going with 'Here Come The Vultures', 'Fire With Fire' and 'The Tragedy Of The Commons' during which Alissa White-Gluz comes back on stage. This is followed by 'Danse Macabre' and another short intermission. Otto van der Oije, Timo Somers, Merel Bechtold and Ruben Israel all vacated the stage in order to let Rob van der Loo on bass, Guus Eikens on guitar and Sander Zoer on drums play 'Sleepwalkers Dream'. The former Delain team, ten years old, definitely reminds us that this is their anniversary and that brings back memories of an already efficient and highly professional team, even at an early stage of their popularity. It's a shame therefore that a technical issue with Charlotte's microphone affects the song. She looks confused but keeps going despite the glitch.
Then it's back to the current band formation, to initially play another live premiere, 'Your Body Is A Battleground', with (as anticipated) Marco Hietala onstage. Unfortunately, the audience has to deal with a projected video of him as background for his vocals. Next comes 'Stay Forever' and 'See Me In Shadow' featuring Liv Kristine plus Elianne Anemaat on cello. Both an emotional and sweet moment. Then it's time for 'The Gathering' and 'Pristine' with George Oosthoek. However, it was a huge disappointment for the band and the audience who expected confetti during 'The Gathering', but because of another technical issue, the cannons had to be disabled and no stage effect occurs at the end of the song.
The encore features 'Mother Machine', 'Sing To Me' (again with Marco Hietala as background), 'Don't Let Go' and finally, 'We Are The Others' during which Charlotte Wessels wears a gorgeous paper dress similar to the one in the video clip!
22:30, end of the show and 'The Monarch' is played as outro song and the whole crew comes on stage to immortalize the moment with some pictures. Hugs, smiles, signs of good vibes and good-bye, the band disappears in the backstage. The audience is now quiet, just realizing how incredible the two past hours were.
After couple of hours, it is time for me to cool down, I realized how intense and professional this gig was. The Dutch crew really tried to do their best to set up onstage a spectacular show. This has been a successful challenge. Thanks to the big set-list (twenty-two songs!), perfectly mixed among all their albums (except perhaps 'April Rain' being a little under-represented), the guests, lights and visual effects, the audience dived into Delain's history through two full hours of music and appearances by every single member of the band. The energy provided on stage was definitely impressive and all the production of this gig, despite of couple of technical issues, had been outstanding.
This was an exceptional way to end an already-successful 'Moonbathers' European Tour of which I caught numerous dates (including Manchester where I met former Fireworks/Rocktopia Reviews Editor, Paul Jerome Smith) and I am already waiting for the live DVD/CD which will be released next summer. Happy Birthday Delain!