Delain, Amorphis, Anneke van Giersbergen – The Palladium, Worcester, MA 9/21/19
09 Sep. 2019

Delain, Amorphis, Anneke van Giersbergen – The Palladium, Worcester, MA 9/21/19


It was an unseasonably warm autumn day as the tour package of Anneke van Giersbergen, Amorphis, and headliners Delain rolled into Worcester, Massachusetts on their 2019 Fall tour. A week prior, I had just returned from The Netherlands, where I was lucky enough to witness Ayreon’s performance of Into The Electric Castle and Other Tales, so I hadn’t quite come down from that high yet and I was looking forward to getting another opportunity to see the always amazing Anneke perform live, as well as te mighty Amorphis, and of course, Delain.

It was an interesting choice to start a night of metal with a solo acoustic set from van Giersbergen, yet it was also the perfect choice, as Anneke is wildly popular among the metal crowd due to her beginnings as the original vocalist for The Gathering and her duets with Deven Townsend and Amorphis (more on that in a bit). Anneke also threw in a few cover songs as well to the delight of the crowd. The set started with an enchanting cover of Ih-Ah from Devin Townsend. Anneke immediately had the crowd eating out of the palm of her hand as she had everyone singing along. Next up was a song I had just seen her perform in Tilburg, Valley of the Queens from Ayreon. Whether it is with the full production of Ayreon or the stripped down acoustic version here, this song and Anneke’s vocals are pure perfection. Anneke then took a poll as to what the next song should be. The crowd were given a choice between a Kiss song or Dolly Parton. The crowd overwhelmingly chose Dolly’s Jolene. Apparently Anneke had been performing Sure Know Something from Kiss and received a lukewarm reaction due to being such an obscure KISS song from their “disco” period. While her cover of Jolene is always amazing, I was really interested in hearing what she would do with such a great KISS deep cut. Mid-set, someone in the crowd yelled out “The Gentle Storm!” (one of Anneke’s side projects with Ayreon mastermind Arjen Luccasen), to which she replied “that’s a little too complex for me to play. I need a full band for that!”, which got a laugh from the fans. Anneke’s time in The Gathering was represented with Saturnine and her solo career with Circles. Anneke rounded out her set with a stunningly beautiful rendition of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Cloudbusting from Kate Bush, and a surprising set closer, Wasted Years from Iron Maiden. Not a song you would expect Anneke to cover, but the crowd sang along to every word and it was the perfect ending to a magical acoustic set.

Amorphis took to the stage next with a pummeling set of Finnish heavy metal that drew heavily from their latest album Queen of Time. Beginning with The Bee and The Golden Elk, lead vocalist Tomi Joutsen is the consummate frontmant, charismatic and captivating with his vocal delivery, switching from clean vocals to death growls. The band, consisting of guitar duo Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari, bassist Olli-Pekka Laine, keyboardist Santeri Kallio, and drummer Jan Rechberger (more on him later), are a well oiled powerhouse churning out blistering molten metal, beautiful melodies, and incredible musicianship. The crowd was whipped into a frenzy with Sampo from the brilliant Skyforger album, The Four Wise Ones from Under The Red Cloud, The Smoke from Eclipse, and two songs from the bands classic Tales From The Thousand Lakes album (Into Hiding and the set staple Black Winter Day). Wrong Direction and Daughter of Hate from Queen of Time got a massive reaction from those in attendance but the true highlight of the set was when Joutsen welcomed back Anneke to the stage to do a jaw-dropping performance of Amongst The Stars. Seeing Anneke and Tomi trade off vocal lines and interact with each other was pure magic and well worth the price of admission alone. You could see the delight on every fans face as they sang along and raised their horns in the air in the metal salute. The band closed their set with House of Sleep from the Eclipse album. By the end of the set, the crowd was exhausted from the unrelenting metal assault they had just witnessed, but there was still one more band to come, the evenings headliners, Delain.

I have seen Delain live (including their U.S. debut at ProgPower USA in 2010) and had the opportunity to interview lead vocalist Charlotte Wessels and guitarist Timo Somers many times over the years, and it is amazing to see the progression they have made as a live act as well as a recording artist. The big takeaways from this latest tour were the first time seeing the band perform without longtime guitarist Merel Bechtold, who left the band earlier this year, leaving Timo Somers as the sole guitarist, also the return of bassist Otto Schimmelpennick to U.S. stages (Otto had to sit out the last U.S. tour due to personal reasons and a backing track was used instead). Otto’s energy, stage presence, and enthusiasm was sorely missed and it was great to see him back where he belongs. Finally was the fact that new drummer Joey de Doer was unable to join his bandmates on the tour due to “VISA delays” (an issue that has become increasingly and frustratingly more prevalent with bands from overseas trying to tour the U.S., but that is a story for another time). In his place, Amorphis drummer Jan Rechberger was on double duty, doing a more than admirable job behind the kit with minimal rehearsal time.

In a surprise move, Delain started their set with a brand new song, Burning Bridges, which is the first single from their upcoming sixth studio album. The song shows a stylistic shift into heavier, symphonic sound with crushing riffs and heavy rhythms, complimented by keyboardist Martijn Westerholt’s massive orchestrations. Lone guitarist Timo Somers proved that less can be more as he stalked the stage and showed his considerable chops on the fretboard. Over the years, singer Charlotte Wessels has become a more confident and powerful frontwoman with the ability to draw energy from the crowd like few others in the genre. She is right up there with Floor Jansen, Tarja, and Simone Simons in terms of stage presence. The band mixed up their set with a varied selection from their extensive back catalog including Suckerpunch from from 2016’s Moonbathers, the title track from the April Rain album, Stardust and Don’t Let Go ( always a fun moment in the set as the band and fans bounce up and down in unison to the beat of the music) from 2014’s The Human Contradiction. We Are The Others has become a Delain live staple and an anthem for social outcasts among the Delain faithful. The set ended with the symphonic metal classic The Gathering, which sent the devoted Delain fans happy.

All in all this was a varied tour package that has something for everyone. If this show comes to your town I urge you not to miss it!

 

All photos courtesy of Carl Frederick of Blazing Metal Photography and C.R.O.M. Magazine

About the author

Honey Badger
I am a lifelong fan of hard rock/metal since I discovered my childhood idols KISS. Music is my passion and progressive and power metal are my favorites in the sub genres of heavy metal. I also work for the premier metal festival in the U.S. ProgPower USA as a co-admin for their official Facebook page. In my spare time (what little i have of it!) I enjoy working out

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