THERION - 013, TILBURG, NETHERLANDS, NOVEMBER 25 2001
Most of the good concerts in the Netherlands seem to happen at Tilburg's 013 venue, which is excellent because, well, it's one of the best venues in the country and I can reach it by car in about an hour. I recent months I've seen Transatlantic, Judas Priest and Saxon there, which have all been thoroughly enjoyable concerts. This time, however, there was a concert that I didn't only enjoy very much but that also inspired me to take up the virtual pen and do some writing. Interest kindled? Read on...
The first support act started at 16:00 and ended half an hour later. My Insanity (for such were they called) didn't enchant me much. Neither did Evergrey, up next for a little over half an hour. Most people were there for Therion, predictably, probably partly triggered by extensive coverage on the Official Therion site where it was mentioned that this was going to be the most Therion for your money's worth, ever. And they did in fact play a full two hours, not a minute of which was spent listening to the obligatory solo or naff track. No, Christofer Johnsson and his compatriots treated us only to Therion's finest, and Therion has some good stuff. Apart from second guitarist Kristian Niemann (a fine guitarist indeed), bassist Johann Niemann and drummer Sami Karppinen he had enlisted three female and three male vocalists who convincingly took charge of the vocal (and even choral) arrangements. I was well impressed, and it's a shame that it seems to be impossible to find out who they were, though I did recognise Sarah Jezebal Divah (yes, she of Cradle of Filth). This line-up treated us to a variety of tracks from all albums except "A'Arab Zaraq Lucid Dreaming", with more than the usual coverage of their pre-"Theli" death metal-style albums. I didn't recognise many of those old tracks, though "The Wings of the Hydra" was there and two or three others combined in a medley. They played "The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah" and "Birth of Venus Illegitima" off Vovin, the Accept cover "Seawinds", and several tracks from "Deggial" of which I recognised in particular "Seven Secrets of the Sphynx" and the start of "Carmina Burana". They also played a selection of tracks from "The Secret of the Runes", including the title track and the superb "Schwarzalbenheim", and I think they played "Asgard" as well. They also did the Abba cover "Summernight City". These tracks (mentioned here in no chronological order) comprised most of the main concert, during which a good time was had by all. In fact I didn't need the usual earplugs - the sound was, um, close to divine. I find that Therion is a band that you don't want to shout and clap and whistle at between tracks, no, you want to climb on the stage and, in the words of civilised man, say "dude, man, like, what you do is beautiful, I love you, I really do, man." Or something like that. Christofer Johnsson is a genius, his music is great, the selection of tracks they played this evening was exquisite. And that was just the main part of the show, because after that the first encore started off with "Preludium" from "Theli", then followed by the infinitely crowd-pleasing "To Mega Therion" and, of course, "Cults of the Shadow". I have to admit these tracks, coupled with the general ambiance and a certain other factor I shall elaborate on below, caused my eyes to glaze over somewhat. I was having a f*@king good time, and I knew it. After this encore, the band came back for a final "Balls to the Wall" (Accept cover), where they were more or less capably assisted by audience members pulled onto the stage. Cool. Definitely one of the most memorable concert experiences I've had this year.
The special inspiration for actually writing this review, however, was supplied by a girl that stood right in front of me. I stood in front of the centre of the stage, separated only by a barrier in front of which were three 'goth girls', with velvet dresses and lots of lace. One of them had shiny silken bum-length auburn-coloured hair that would make auburn itself blush, framing the prettiest face I've seen in a long, long time. She danced and banged her head, she was the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, my heart fluttered and, together with the music, she made this so much more of a perfect concert experience.
Shame I shall probably never see her again - obviously I was way too shy to even just say something to her. Well hey.
Written November 2001
Added 20 January 2002 after some feedback from Johanna Mårlöv, one of the Therion vocalists:
The singers on this tour were Sarah Jezebel Deva, Johanna Mårlöv, Maria Ottosson, Anders Engberg, Jari-Petri Heino and Risto Hämäläinen.
Sarah and Andy do the soloparts. Me, Maria, Risto and Jari-Petri are choir (well, on a few songs I put harmonies on parts of Sarah's/Andy's solos). Sarah and I also do "Seawinds" together. Sarah also works with Cradle of Filth and Mortiis. She's done stuff with some other bands too. For many years Andy was lead singer of the band Lions Share. I think he left that band about 2 years ago. Me, Maria, Jari-Petri and Risto have all been singing/playing in different bands through the years, but nothing as big as Therion. We still sing for other bands, the latest thing for me was for the band Lithium (new band of Johnny Hagel, ex-Tiamat, ex-Sundown) where I did some vocals/harmonies and stuff. Sarah's been doing Therion for some time now, since '97 I think. Andy's been in for about 2 tours, Risto and Jari too. My first gig with Therion was at Wacken this year, and my first tour with them was the South American tour last autumn. Maria was also in Wacken, this European tour was her first. Suvi Virtanen and Petra Aho were the girls who sang in Therion before me and Maria. They both did the Wacken gig this year.
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