In advance, I’d just like to show this. This is how high the bar was set:
I stumbled upon The Gathering while I was in Japan only a few years ago and couldn’t stop listening to them. But then Anneke left the band and first there was a lot of silence and uncertainty then the announcement of Silje joining and some new songs posted to MySpace. Which, actually, failed to convince me.
My thoughts were mixed. Somehow the singing voice wasn’t distinct or powerful enough. The heavily guitar-driven sound a little mushy. I couldn’t pick a favourite song from The West Pole either. I was sticking to the old albums for a while.
Not that all this could stop me from going to their show yesterday.
The warm-up band, Autumn, was okay, but I haven’t done my research and didn’t know any of the songs. But then The Gathering took the stage and I was reduced to a fanboyish existence. I knew the rest of the band from all the live DVDs, but Silje was a surprise: she almost looked fragile, contrary to what I expected. She was much more likable at barely an arm’s length than on the band pictures. (Some people chose seats but I went right up to the stage, first line. Basically I was at Marjolein’s feet.)
About half of the songs played were not from The West Pole, rather from previous albums. I knew that they rehearsed old material with Silje but I wasn’t expecting this many. No complaints of course, it was beyond belief rocking out to Saturnine.
I’m also not really sure what transformed me… maybe listening to TWP tracks live or Silje’s non-studio voice… anyway for one I grew to like new material and I wholeheartedly accepted the lead singer swap. I’m Team Silje now.
Just listen to this:
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I disagree with @kelt that The Gathering only used to be cool five years ago. They are still going strong after twenty years and they are still very cool, thank you very much.
Surprisingly few attended though: the place was only a little more than half full. I wasn’t looking back too often, nevertheless I think we, the audience, managed to make up with enthusiasm what we lost with numbers. Time will tell, I hope the lower interest won’t prevent or delay a return. I can’t speak in anyone else’s name but I was left craving for more in the end, even though we got two encore songs (Leaves) not just Travel which was on the setlist.
Probably I was the only person wearing a turtleneck in the history of rock gigs.