Delain/Amorphis – September 22, 2019 – Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, NYWednesday, 25th September 2019
It’s nice to have concerts that are announced way in advance in order to make some future plans sometimes, and it gives fans something to look forward to. This Delain/Amorphis/Anneke van Giersbergen tour was announced last year, so it’s been quite some time coming. While the Delain and Amorphis combination isn’t one that seems immediately obvious, it provided a nice crossover of fans who may pick up on something new, and an acoustic performance by Anneke van Giersbergen provided the icing on the cake so to speak. With no local openers and only three acts, it was a breath of fresh air for high, consistent quality being emphasized and meant a enjoyable lack of fatigue when leaving the venue.
Hitting the stage right at 7PM was Anneke van Giersbergen. A rare treat in and of itself to see her perform in such an intimate way, the slowly filling venue made it even more so. The acoustic atmosphere leaves no room for unnoticed errors, and van Giersbergen had a little hiccup or two when first setting out, but she handled it in such a charming way that one couldn’t help but be impressed by her stage presence (even with some high expectations). Opening up with “Ih-Ah” (Devin Townsend), she pulled out a number of covers in addition to her own songs in “Circles” and The Gathering’s “Saturnine.” With her voice at the forefront, it was truly a treat to hear her performing songs like Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” and Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years.” Her interactions with the crowd, from getting people to sing along or joking between tracks made it even more memorable. A touching experience, and a unique chance for US fans to catch van Giersbergen in a raw and enigmatic performance. Not one to be missed if you are a fan of any of her many works.
Amorphis was next to the stage, returning one year after their tour with Dark Tranquillity (which also hit Upstate Concert Hall), showcased their renewed commitment to the North American continent on the touring front. The band was just as potent as ever, with their ability to perform near-perfectly with each instrument. They played 5 tracks from last year’s excellent Queen of Time, with “The Golden Elk” and of course, the Anneke van Giersbergen-assisted “Amongst Stars” being some highlights of their strong set. It was nice to see some change-over in their setlist with the older tracks too – of course “House of Sleep” and “Black Winter Day” were there, but “In Hiding,” “My Kantele,” “Sampo,” and “The Four Wise Ones” made for some great additions, particularly with the band’s noticeable absent on this side of the Atlantic until the last few years. An hour quickly passed while they tore through their set, leaving yet another solid impression of the band’s live entertaining skills.
Thus, the stage was set for Delain to close out the night, and they did not disappoint. First off, some kudos to Amorphis drummer Jan Rechberger for pulling double duty as Delain drummer Joey de Boer is sidelined for a bit due to visa issues. Being able to pick up and play through two sets (not to mention learn the Delain tracks) is nothing less than impressive. The rest of the band were up to their usual antics as well, with Charlotte Wessels, Otto Schimmelpenninck, and Timo Somers offered non-stop engagement with the crowd from their positions – perpetual clapping, singing, and moving was the order of the day, which the fans gladly contributed to. As with all Delain shows, the energy was palpable as the entire band is all smiles on stage (including Martijn Westerholt, while manning the keys in the background).
The new track, “Burning Bridges,” was effectively heavy and gave a solid first impression of the new material to come, and the recent “Masters of Destiny” was quite fantastic to be a part of in the live setting. Their 11-track set was a nice mashup of the band’s history outside of that, with cuts from each of their studio releases getting some spotlight, whether it was fan favorite “We Are the Others,” or a trip back to their debut with “Pristine” and “The Gathering,” it was a pleasure to get an extended Delain set, even if one does hope that they could get a ‘pure’ headline tour over here. Even at playing for just about an hour, the time simply flew by. A testament to the energy and passion that they exude when they are up on stage.