The Gathering
August 21st and 22nd 2003
Lux, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

By Winston Arntz


A Promise of Pure Beauty...

To be released at the end of this or beginning of next year; Sleeping Buildings. A semi acoustic retrospective live album recorded at two special nights in the hometown of Nijmegen... when you do it, do it good must have been thought behind it I guess.
It turned out to be a very very special event; from all the earlier released albums, yes, including the infamous second album Almost A Dance, songs were re-arranged and played in an intimate setting and man, the atmosphere that was created was pure and pure magic, I'm not kidding you.

Whoever would have thought that the early rougher styled songs would be so easily and wonderfully translated to fragile and pure beauty? The, (or one of the main) reasons is Anneke van Giersbergen, the unstoppable growing vocal talent of the band who, together with the Rutten brothers Hans and René (drums and guitar), Hugo Prinsen-Geerligs (bass) and Frank Boeijen (keyboards/piano) give a whole new sound. Like Fountains, the chosen song from Almost A Dance once again reveals the unique chemistry of these five musicians and in fact all played songs did. But Like Fountains was never ever done before so this was a good reference.

In two shows that were both recorded for Sleepy Buildings the same set was played and hopefully the whole set will be included on the album.
Every song was a new and different highlight, be it Marooned, be it My Electricity, Amity, The Mirror Waters, Nighttime Birds or the new Sleepy Buildings, the audience was mesmerized by the unique way of hearing these songs. All of them ended in complete silence... you could almost hear the audience breath before another ovation rained upon the band. The standing ovations at the end was more than deserved therefore.

It truly is remarkable to see how songs can be stripped down to the acoustic core and make a total new impression. I have seen a lot liveshows of The Gathering and these belong in the top 10 for sure, with the first show in the top 5, the concentration to get it right was very strong, in the second show things were more relaxed. The audience got to see how accurate the band can play live, really impressive.
A funny thing was the fact that the encore for the second night was chosen by the audience and to my and I guess the bands' surprise as well it was The Mirror Waters, from the very first album Always, Rene Rutten's reaction gave a good laugh, he stood there not believing that thát song was chosen. But I think it's actually a very big compliment that a total other arrangement still can make that kind of impact. The people who came to see The Gathering for these special shows (an international crowd with people from Russia and South America!) love the band for the recent repertoire but still cherish the early period, even when that was a total other era for the band and when the rare occasion offers a glimpse of the past this is embraced of course.

Setlist:

Nighttime Birds
Saturnine
Marooned
The Mirror Waters
My Electricity
Locked Away
In Motion II
Travel

Like Fountains
Eleanor
Amity
Red Is A Slow Colour
Shrink
Sleepy Buildings
The May Song
Stonegarden

The Mirror Waters

© Photo by Peter Blok

 

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