Anneke van Giersbergen – de Effenaar, Eindhoven; November 16th, 2019
I may not have been aware of Anneke van Giersbergen all that long, but she has graced the stages of this world with her presence for 25 years, so on a cold November evening her fans came from all over the world to celebrate her anniversary. The evening was spanning her entire career and showcasing all the different sides of her. Anneke played solo, with two bands and a symphonic orchestra, not to mention several other guests. It was glorious.
My trip from Berlin got hectic in the end because I almost missed my connection in Venlo. Didn’t though and got to Eindhoven early enough to rest before the show. Left my hotel a little too late though and arrived to a long queue. I was freezing and happy when they opened the doors ten minutes early. Somehow I had expected seats and was surprised it was standing room only. Made it to second row on the right, not a bad spot at all.
The show started at 8:30 with Anneke walking out on her own and playing The Gathering’s ‘Saturnine’. It was beautiful and a perfect start for the night. After that one solo tune she was joined by the Kamerata Zuid Chamber Orchestra. Rather than her last show, Inchecken, this was going to be less acoustic and more of a band affair, showing off all the different projects she has worked with over the last 25 years or at least giving us a good glimpse at some of them.
While they set the stage for the orchestra, a master of ceremonies was introduced, who led us through the evening. Unfortunately, he only spoke Dutch with a few English words thrown in here and there, but it did not spoil my enjoyment that I mostly didn’t understand him. He must have been funny, people around me laughed. Not everyone though, there were quite a few members of the audience who had traveled like I did. In fact at some point during the show he read us a list of which countries we had come from and there were some surprising entries on there like Netherlandic Antilles or Mexico. Wow, long way!
As I was waiting for the orchestra to get ready, I felt something touch my legs, looked down and saw two young children crawl on the floor, trying to find a good spot. A kind woman in front row, let them stand in front of her. When asked, they said there parents were in the back. When Anneke started playing again, they waved to her and she waved back. That made them really happy. Two songs or so later they left to return to their parents.
The orchestra set was gorgeous. It is the same orchestra, Anneke will tour with this winter. They obviously enjoyed playing together and the music carried me away. They performed a mixture of Anneke’s songs from her solo albums and two covers, starting with the beautiful ‘She’. Ayreon’s ‘Valley of the Queens’ got huge cheers and was amazing, but my personal highlight was ‘Circles’. It is one of my favorite songs anyway and this version drove me to tears. For the last song in the set, Within Temptation’s ‘Somewhere’ the band’s singer Sharon den Adeln joined Anneke on stage. It was so good, I am lacking the words to describe it. The whole set was nothing short of perfect, it gave me goosebumps. <3
Eventually the time came for the orchestra to leave and the stage to be changed into classic band setup with drums and guitars. Meanwhile, the master of ceremonies entertained us with more stories. I saw familiar faces peeking through the curtains from time to time and often spotted Robbin making some last minute adjustments.
With the band we moved into Rock territory and for me, many of the songs were new. I love how versatile Anneke is and how many projects and bands she has performed with. There is always something new for me to discover. 🙂 The only song I recognized in this set was the wonderful ‘To catch a Thief’, but I loved every single one of them. One that stuck out for me was ‘Hey Okay’, a song about a one night stand. I really liked the music. For her long time fans, this concert was a celebration of all of her different music and all the bands she has worked with. For me it was also a great way to discover new songs and see all the sides of her that I had not seen so much of yet. While ‘Inchecken’ back in February had been more about sharing stories, this one was all about playing as much as possible with as many different people as possible while still having one coherent show. It worked, it worked amazingly well. For me it felt like the perfect introduction to Anneke, while at the same time it must have been like meeting many old friends for those who have been listening to her for years. I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the music. Anneke didn’t talk all that much during the evening, other than announcing the songs and introducing her colloborators on stage. I got the gist of what she said and from time to time she and the MOC trew in a bít of English too. It didn’t bother me, Nothing could have spoiled my enjoyment of the concert. I never felt that anything got lost on me. 😉
The band left and Anathema’s Daniel Cavanagh was already waiting side stage. To shouts of “Danny! Danny!” he joined Annke in the spotlight, telling us he’d been watching the show. For a while the concert was back to softer, acoustic tunes with the two of them sharing vocals. They started with Damien Rice’s ‘The Blower’s Daughter’ and when she sang “I can’t take my eyes off you” I believed her. 🙂 They sounded amazing together, their voices harmonizing beautifully. <3 We got two Anathema songs as well and they left me smiling. I especially loved ‘Untouchable, Part 2’. There is so much music in her catalogue still left for me to discover and fall in love with. <3
One more change of stage, one more monologue by the MOC, one more break and Vuur entered the stage. Of her latest projects, this is the one that does the least for me, because the music is just a touch too heavy or maybe too proggish for my liking. Yet then and there it was the perfect ending to the night that gradually grew from soft to heavier. They only played one of their own songs anyway, ‘Helsinki’, while everything else was a mixture of songs by other bands Anneke has worked with. The Gentle Storm’s ‘The Storm’, Devin Townsends ‘Hyperdrive’, Amorphis’ ‘Amongst Stars’ and two more songs by The Gathering. The band played their hearts out with flying hair (if they had hair that could fly), great playing and generally lots of movement. Watching them was so much fun and it was clear everyone on stage was having a blast. The audience was truly happy too and nobody wanted the night to end. We cheered for a long time after they left the stage, hoping they might come back for one more song, but when they started taking the instruments down, we had to realize that it was over. What a great celebration that was.
Saturnine (The Gathering song)
Symphonic Set with Kamerata Zuid Chamber Orchestra
Valley of the Queens (Ayreon cover)
Somewhere (Within Temptation cover) (with Sharon den Adel)
Rock set with Agua de Annique
Even the Spirits Are Afraid (The Gathering song)
Sunken Soldiers Ball (Agua de Annique cover)
To Catch a Thief (John Wetton & Geoffrey Downes cover)
Acoustic Set with Daniel Cavanagh from Anathema
The Blower’s Daughter (Damien Rice cover)
A Natural Disaster (Anathema cover)
Untouchable, Part 2 (Anathema cover)
Metal Set with Vuur
The Storm (The Gentle Storm song)
On Most Surfaces (Inuït) (The Gathering song)
Your Glorious Light Will Shine – Helsinki (VUUR song)
Hyperdrive (Devin Townsend cover)
Amongst Stars (Amorphis cover)
Strange Machines (The Gathering song)