LIVE REVIEW: Evanescence, Within Temptation, Veridia, O2 Arena, London, 14/11/2022
Photo Credit: Stu Garneys
Over the past couple of years, we have all had to learn to be patient and that is certainly the case when it comes to tonight. Originally the Worlds Collide Tour was scheduled to take place in spring of 2020, however with multiple delays owing to COVID-19 it has taken until winter two years later to finally bring one of the biggest tours in years to the famous O2 Arena in London tonight.
Tasked with opening tonight’s proceedings are Veridia. The Tennessee natives take to the stage and give it everything they’ve got. The band are full of passion and energy, getting the slowly filling crowd involved as often as possible with their polished rock sound. The use of handheld lighting effects from vocalist is a cool addition to the set and the bold power move to bring out Evanescence’s own Amy Lee for a mid-set ballad gets the first big cheer of the night. The band have most probably made a few new fans tonight, but perhaps lack the memorability that would see them headlining this sort of venue in the future. 6/10
Next up are the Dutch titans Within Temptation. The band know that they have to come out of the gates swinging tonight in order to match their co-headlining counterparts and they do exactly that and then some. From the triumphant introduction of Our Solemn Hour complete with a one of Sir Winston Churchill’s many famous wartime addresses to the nation (fitting that this show is so closely following remembrance Sunday) the band show that they are more than deserving of headlining venues of this scale. The production being witnessed on stage tonight would have you believe that this is a festival headlining slot, complete with a giant flashing head/podium, more fire and explosions than a Michael Bay movie and an LED board at the back of the stage that shows cinematic videos throughout the bands sixteen song set.
The group have planned every aspect of the setlist with surgical precision and roll out all of the classic tracks from their illustrious career in an almost greatest hits style. From the impossibly catchy Faster, through the massive single Paradise (What About Us) to the songs that broke them into the mainstream metal charts such as Stand My Ground and Angels the band are firing on all cylinders. It comes a surprise to most when Sharon Den Adel concedes that she is feeling under the weather with a cold, given that she has not missed a note all set. In a moment of solidarity against tyranny the band perform the song Raise Your Banner as a tribute to those fighting in Ukraine, with Den Adel swinging a Ukrainian flag for the duration of a song. A notion that is greatly received by the fans.
The inclusion of a new song is a welcome addition. The song sounds heavier than the band have been in years and shows some real promise for the forthcoming album. Later in the set the group perform a stunning rendition of All I Need with Den Adel being raised high above the stage in a ring as she nails the beautiful ballad without missing a step, proving that they can shift gears without it ever feeling jarring or ruining the flow of the set.
To close out the set the band play the tremendous What Have You Done, featuring a playback of the guest feature from Mina Caputo. The chorus to this song is dynamite and is sung back emphatically by the now-full arena with the volume being almost deafening by this point. As if to put the icing on the cake the closing track is Mother Earth from the bands hallowed second album of the same name.
Within Temptation are a band that are born for this kind of show and the occasion has not been lost on them. A tremendous set, more than befitting of a headline slot at any venue or festival around the world. 9/10
By the time Evanescence take to the stage the fans are in a raucous mood. Within Temptation have set the bar to a level that seems almost impossible to meet. Yet from the moment the band hit the stage they have the crowd in the palm of their hands. At a glance you would be hard pressed to pick Evanescence as the closing act tonight. Where the previous act brought with them the kind of production that looks like it should be on the main stage at Download Festival, the American outfit seem to be travelling a lot lighter, relying on only led backboards and lights to provide the stage show.
The band hit the stage bathed in purple light and uppercut the awaiting audience with a heavy rendition of Broken Pieces Shine. They sound as tight as ever and well-choreographed in what they are doing, with Amy Lee performing with the same confidence and presence that she did twenty years ago when they first exploded over here. The band then follow this up with two more new songs in Made of Stone and Take Cover and although these are delivered with plenty of energy and efficiency, the choice to play three new songs straight out of the gate is a strange one to say the least.
However, the band quickly rectify this by opening their back catalogue and playing Going Under, sending the capacity crowd into a frenzy and culminating in one of the biggest singalongs of the entire evening. After a rendition of another new song Wasted on You the band then play something that is somewhat of a curveball, a medley that includes Lose Control, Part of Me and Never Go Back. A calculated risk that pays off big time with the audience lapping up every second, collectively losing their minds and singing back every word that comes from the stage.
Far From Heaven is a set highlight. The song is among the finest ballads that Amy Lee has penned to this date and she performs it with the kind of heartfelt candour that people have come expect from the frontwomen after all of these years. Showcasing her immense talent at song writing, particularly in this particular style.
Despite the set leaning so heavily on the new album, it goes without saying that the older songs stand out from the rest and receive the warmest welcomes. Songs such as Call Me When You’re Sober and Imaginary standing heads and shoulders above the rest of the set with regards to fan response. Making you wonder why the band have decided to omit so many classics for the sake of playing songs off of an album released more than eighteen months ago in the height of the pandemic.
However, all of that is quickly forgiven when it gets to the business end of the set. The band then roll out the classics that everyone has come to see. My Immortal sees Lee sit at her piano, bathed in light as she sings the hauntingly beautiful lyrics the adoring crowd with their phones and lighters held aloft. A sea of emotions washes over the London crowd as one of the finest rock ballads in recent memory echoes around the massive arena hall before the band come in together at the crescendo of the song to ensure that is driven home with the full raw power that it deserves. They then close out the night with the song that made the band what they are. The colossal Bring Me to Life is an undisputed rock classic and shows one of the coolest moments of the night when the music cuts out and Lee belts out the refrain (you know the part, before Paul McCoy sings his verse). At the end of the song confetti fires into the crowd and the band sign off on a wonderful evening of music in the capital. 7/10
Written By: Richard Webb
Photo Credit: Stu Garneys