A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Within Temptation was formed in 1996. They have released six studio albums, including a concept album which was accompanied by comics and short films titled The Unforgiving, and in 2012 they celebrated their 15th anniversary with the people of Belgium with an enormous event titled Elements, in which they were joined by the Il Novecentro Orchestra and other special guests.
After giving the people of Belgium such an enormous show two years ago, it was clear that the band had very big expectations to live up to this year when they returned to Antwerp to perform at the Lotto Arena, following the release of their new album, Hydra. Being experimental as with every new release, Hydra has taken the band into yet another new direction, with catchy feel-good beats and the participation of numerous guest-singers, including rapper Xzibit and Tarja Turunen, the soprano. The album, though taking some risks with their new and experimental sound, has received almost entirely positive reviews and has been a huge commercial success.
The concert catered both to those who had come to hear the new singles and some of their all time classics such as Angels, The Cross and Ice Queen - the single that sparked the group's international success. Within Temptation is one of those bands that doesn't give you the feeling that they're simply touring because it makes more money than selling CD's and they generally seem to enjoy performing their work to a live audience. They have good presence and developed ways to inspire audience participation. The song that stands out the most would probably be “Stand my ground” with Sharon del Adel giving the mic to the audience for the chorus in the powerful chant of “Stand my ground I won't give in”. Other spectacularly performed songs included the powerride “Jillian” and the more tuned down acoustic version of “Sinéad”. The presentation of the concert was excellent, consisting of the support band Delain and then blasting the audience into the conceptual world of Within Temptation's work, with well-timed special effects and never-been-seen videos tying together the tales that the band relays through their songs.
Obviously, the concert was on a smaller scale to Elements, but even with less to work with, the group did not disappoint their fans and were in good spirits, raising their glasses to their fans and telling jokes in between songs in their native Dutch. The only complaint would be the long time that passed between the opening act and the main act. Overall the concert was a great experience for all fans - old and new, and left everyone satisfied and in high spirits, earning them 4.5 stars out of 5.