The Gentle Storm @ De Melkweg, March 26 2015

It was a rainy evening in The Heart of Amsterdam when we, with hundreds of others  lined up in front of the entrance of De Melkweg for the opening show of The Gentle Storms 2015 tour. A show that was planned to start less than a week after the album The Diary was released – as a proper tour in support of an album should.

After spending some time in the rain, we got inside just after opening act Stream of Passion, started playing. A fitting choice, having one Arjen Lucassen project opening for another, also because lead singer Marcela Bovio and bass player are part of the live line up for The Gentle Storm. Pity De Melkweg proved its reputation on not having the best sound, from where we were standing (right behind the sound guy!) the sound was a bit muddy, with the lows coming in a tad too strong. Then again, maybe it’s been a bit too long since I last saw a metal band play live. Stream of Passion does look and sound like a band that have fun on stage, everybody was moving around the stage, and interacting with each other and the audience. And Marcela’s violin still adds something special to the music. A short set, but a good warm up for the main act of this evening.

Stream of Passion setlist:

  • A War of Our Own
  • The Curse
  • Deceiver
  • Street Spirit (Fade Out) (Radiohead cover)
  • In the End
  • Haunted

After rebuilding the stage, or at least replacing some keyboards and guitars, the lights on the stage were dimmed a little, and familiar sounds started playing – for those who already had heard the album. A smiling and waving Anneke van Giersbergen ran onto the stage, dressed in leather pants and jacket, and a bright red blouse – shortly followed by the rest of the band, to guide us through the first track from The DiaryEndless Sea. Of course, the Gentle tour was already done, so we were treated to the Storm version of the album here. After Endless Sea, we got The Heart of Amsterdam, but from there the band certainly chose not to play the full album sequentially, nor to stick to just the album. In the end, the whole album was of course played, but in a slightly different order (weird, for a diary). Only The Gathering‘s Eleanor interrupted the flow.

Anneke solo

Half way, the moment everyone anticipated finally came; Arjen Lucassen coming on stage for this opening gig, which was announced by Anneke coming on stage on her own. With only an acoustic guitar she gave us her version of Wish You Were Here, and then the big, wel at least tall, man himself came on. Together, accompanied partly by Marcela and guitarist Ferry Duijssens (guitar) and Joost van den Broek (keyboards) they played the ‘gentle version’ of The Moment followed by three acoustic Ayreon covers: ComatoseValley of the Queens and Hope. Arjen played guitar, sang and in his soft, shy voice thanked everyone and the band for their hard work and support. One of the most modest people I’ve ever seen on a stage.

Anneke en Arjan

After this intermezzo, a one off, as far as we know now, The Gentle Storm continued with two more tracks from The Diary and a number of tracks from other bands and projects Anneke was or is involved in : Ayreon, The Gathering, Agua de Annique and The Devin Townsend Project. They closed the (long!) evening with a great version of Shore of India.

Gentle Storm full

The sound during The Gentle Storm was quite good, surprisingly after what I noted earlier. Somehow, the sound engineer managed to get rid of the low drones that mudded Stream of Passion. From the same place we were before, we could now hear all the instruments and really enjoy the contribution of the individual musicians.  Merel Bechtold playing a 7-string guitar as if she was born with it, bass and guitar duo Ferry Duijssens and Johan van Stratum, drummer Ed Warby, and keyboardist Joost van den Broek were the perfect companions for the voice of Anneke van Giersbergen and Marcela Bovio. The over 40 instruments used on The Diary were not included in the show of course, which made it all sound slightly heavier and a little bit more metal than the album, but for this live setting that was actually a good thing. A great show, for a very nice album, and played by a great band. Glad I get to see them again tonight – at Rock Ittervoort.

The Gentle Storm setlist:

  • Endless Sea
  • The Heart of Amsterdam 
  • Brightest Light
  • The Storm
  • Eyes of Michiel
  • Eléanor  (The Gathering)
  • New Horizons
  • Wish You Were Here (Acoustic, Pink Floyd)
  • The Moment (Acoustic, with Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
  • Comatose (Acoustic, Ayreon, with Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
  • Valley of the Queens (Acoustic, Ayreon, with Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
  • Day Seven: Hope (Acoustic, Ayreon, with Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
  • Cape of Storms
  • The Greatest Love
  • Waking Dreams (Ayreon)
  • Witnesses (Agua de Annique)
  • Strange Machines (The Gathering)
  • Isis and Osiris (Ayreon)
  • Fallout (Devin Townsend Project cover)
  • Shores of India