What a show! A visual and aural banquet, encompassing several costume changes, inflatables, guest musicians, dancers of varying ages, stilt walkers, fans, a full orchestra, a choir...
We began the evening (once I was all dressed up and made up in my dress) with a dinner in a brasserie, with a couple of beers. Then we headed to the Sportpaleis in plenty of time for the start. It's a huge venue, not unlike the NEC in Birmingham, which I've been to a few times. However, there was a champagne bar, so we decided that it was only fitting to indulge in a glass! I picked up a set of The Unforgiving comics from the merch stand which I look forward to reading at my leisure.
When we found our seats (equipped with yet more beer), I was pleased to discover that my waiting and refreshing of the page had served us well and we had an excellent view over the whole stage area.
The orchestra were first on, then the majority of the band made their entrance. Then it was time for Sharon's entrance, in the giant screen prism that was hanging from the ceiling.... it lowered to the ground, then went up again revealing Sharon in her first outfit of the night!!
This giant prism was used to great effect to bring in Robert a couple of songs in. Fans will know that he has stopped touring with the band in order to look after his and Sharon's children, but it had been announced some time ago that he would be performing at Elements. He obviously had to make a dramatic entrance as well, coming in not in the prism, but on top of it!
The outfits for the show were designed and made by Jan Boelo, a Dutch designer whose clothes are edgy and gorgeous! Sharon had several costume changes, a couple of which I wasn't that keen on, but in the context of the show they worked. I loved Robert's outfit too, metallic trousers for the win! I tried to get photos of all of Sharon's outfits, not sure if I managed it or not!! They were, needless to say, all very Within Temptation, all very fitting and of course Sharon is very beautiful and would probably look so in a potato sack!
The set list was as follows (info gleaned from setlist.fm because I was enjoying myself too much to remember it all!):
Intro to Silent Force
2. In The Middle of the Night
4. Fire and Ice
5. Our Solemn Hour
6. Stand My Ground
8. The Last Dance
9. Never-ending Story
10. Say My Name
11. Candles (ft. Ivar de Graaf on accoustic guitar)
13. Titanium (David Guetta cover)
14. Summertime Sadness (Lana del Ray cover ft. Ivar de Graaf on 2nd drums)
15. Grenade (Bruno Mars cover)
16. The Promise
18. Mother Earth
19. What Have You Done
20. Our Farewell (ft. Isabella Scholten)
21. Ice Queen
22. Stairway To The Skies
A full and packed set list that covered a great selection of songs from the band's last 15 years, and I liked that they threw in a few of the covers they have been doing for Belgian radio station Q Music (although the only one I knew was Grenade, because I don't listen to popular music at all these days!).
I am pretty sure my travelling companions enjoyed the show, and I am grateful that the attitude on the continent is a little different - we were in seats with an excellent view, but it isn't quite the same. There was no way on earth I was going to stay seated for Ice Queen, so I took the decision to stand. Thankfully so did everyone else behind me!
I leave you with the best photos that I took - I was a bit too excited and I don't have a fantastic camera for these things to get a large set, but I am all about the experience! Hopefully there will be a live DVD at some point.
|Sharon enters in outfit 1|
|Sharon and Stefan rocking out|
|Fan dancing stiltwalkers!!|
|Outfit 4 (I think this was Sinéad)|