The Gathering - Last Gig With Anneke, Finland, 04.08.2007
The Gathering - Last Gig With Anneke, Finland by Ivor (30)
Ankkarock 2007 - Finland, 04-05.08.2007 by Ivor (27)
Ankkarock 2007 - Finland, 04-05.08.2007 by (30)
The day The Gathering announced the departure of Anneke van Giersbergen from the band, back in the beginning of May, proved to be a day of profound shock to me. It's not that it's painful to see the bands change from time to time. It's not even the fact that The Gathering's music has been a great companion to me over the past 8 years. Well, actually consider that statement as false – being one of the dearest bands is a reason for a profound shock. However, more than that it's that I – or anyone else for that matter – didn't really see it coming.
The departure was to be quiet. Not immediate – the gigs confirmed by that day were to be performed together. However, there were no fanfares or a special farewell gig scheduled either to allow fans to see Anneke live with the band one last time. It was a sheer luck that the very last gig together was to be the Ankkarock Festival near Vantaa in Finland on the 4th of August. Held so close it allowed me to see The Gathering with Anneke for the first and the last time.
The downside of the event is Ankkarock being a festival. It was not what I had in mind for my first live experience of the band. After seeing "A Noise Severe" DVD about a year and a half ago I've come to regard The Gathering as not a festival band. They are a band I would have liked to see perform alone to the audience that have come solely for the music.
That was not meant to happen, though, and so I found myself in Finland at Ankkarock Festival waiting for the band to start on the second stage. Even though they were the last to play on the second stage, it was still light, just past nine. Go figure why Finns want the event to be over by half past ten. However, the good thing about the schedule was that Apulanta had just started playing on the main stage as the headliners of the day and bigger part of the crowd attending the festival were over there. The Gathering's crowd consisted mostly of people who knew why they were there – they knew what to expect.
Standing expectantly in the photo-pit and waiting anxiously for the kick-off is something to be remembered. With the first notes of "Shortest Day" I was readying my camera and all I could think was "It's a-coming, it's a coming!" The joy was overwhelming me. I did my shooting during the first three songs and was kicked out of the photo-pit with everyone else. So, I rushed to find a sweet spot among the crowd, not too far nor too close to the stage to allow for a better sound.
When I was pushing through the crowd I realised I was hearing "Probably Built in the Fifties" – a song I didn't expect to hear. Simply because I don't get to hear favourite songs off the stage all that often. But there it was – a song with powerful riffs and drone down the middle, bringing the crowds along as if in trance, clapping to the beat, pulling a blanket of great feeling over them.
At that moment it came as a sort of revelation that either unknowingly or deliberately the set list has been picked well for such a gig. The Gathering was to perform exactly one hour. There is no way a band can fit 8 studio albums worth of great music in that short a slot. So, the songs performed were of the heavier and trippier kind, like the aforementioned "Probably Built in the Fifties." However, it still contained the immense beauty of the bands' music like "Saturnine" and the loved pieces from the beginning of their career like "Eléanor."
1. Shortest Day (Home)
2. Alone (Home)
3. Even the Spirits Are Afraid (Souvenirs)
4. Probably Built in the Fifties (How to Measure a Planet?)
5. Saturnine (If Then Else)
6. Monsters (Souvenirs)
7. Eléanor (Mandylion)
8. In Motion #1 (Mandylion)
9. Travel (How to Measure a Planet?)
10. Liberty Bell (How to Measure a Planet?)
The band played with a good feeling and they weren't making a special event of the gig. On one hand it was totally a great choice – a simple ordinary show. On the other, it would have only added to my already special feeling of seeing the band live. During the encore Anneke came to the stage to deliver her short sort-of farewell speech. She simply stated two things. First, that she is totally grateful to the band and the fans. And second, that she doesn't really know what to say on the occasion and would do one more song if the audience desire that.
Thus started "Liberty Bell" – the last song of the show. The only thing I could complain about was the short set list. The great experience that I cannot properly describe because the overwhelming feeling was coming to an end. An end I wished would not come. I stood there and listened and cheered... and cheered... and wanted to scream at the unfairness of good things ending.
There at Ankkarock a beautiful chapter lasting 13 years was concluded. Although The Gathering and Anneke will continue separately it will be tough for both of them. Probably it will be tougher for the band because Anneke has been an image and voice of The Gathering. It will be even tougher for the new singer(s). However, I do hope both will fare well, as I did enjoy both, the music as well as the voice. So, maybe this time one cool thing has split into two cool things? Who knows... Anyway, I can bet that "A Sound Relief" DVD as well as "A Noise Severe" DVD coming in October will bring up lots of good memories each time I will watch them... and a feeling of having gotten a tiny part of it.
Dedicated to the band I love.
Written on 20.08.2007 by
I shoot people.
Sometimes, I also write about it.
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