Within Temptation is known for its big live shows and their interaction with the fans. That’s why the band didn’t like a live stream in the first place. Fortunately, they realized that with a pre-recorded show you can show things that are impossible on a real live show. This is how the idea of the virtual reality show “The Aftermath” was born. This is a post-apocalyptic world, in which it is not clear whether or not humans will survive. The very latest techniques have been used for this show; In this way Within Temptation was able to push the boundaries of the impossible.
The show started with images of a half-decayed city and the black head of a VR (Virtual Reality) character, with bright red ‘luminous’ eyes. While talking she provided an introduction, accompanied by sombre symphonic music. After she finished speaking, you saw more of this city. Tension built up in this surreal atmosphere. Then Sharon den Adel sang beautifully high and clear. With the opening lines ‘Now the day has come, We are forsaken this time’ it is known that “Forsaken” is the first song of this spectacular show.
Despite the slow start to this song, you almost didn’t know where to look. In addition to seeing a half-decayed city, there were also several stages at different heights. Everything was visualized in such a way that it seemed as if you were flying through it yourself. The light show was fantastic; this was regularly portrayed from afar. Sometimes there was so much to see in this immense setting that you could barely see the band members. This visual spectacle was really huge. But of course, it was about the music, and that sounded great too. They played with the same enthusiasm as on a live stage. At the very end, there was a slight echo in Sharon’s voice, of course, she sang flawlessly. This must have been a goosebumps moment for the fans.
Paradise (What about us?)
There was so much to see that it wasn’t until the second track, “Our Solemn Hour,” that I noticed that Sharon was wearing a gold piece of jewellery around her face. The band members were all on the same big stage, behind them there was a huge beamer. These images were interspersed with images of the surreal world around them. The band was also on stage together during “Paradise (What about us?)”. This was interspersed with images of guest singer Tarja Turunen. She could be seen in the distance, standing on a half-collapsed building. You heard a second singer, luckily she was also occasionally seen on the beamer. Because the ladies look quite similar, you might have missed who the other voice belonged to because the images changed quickly. The voices matched well, which is why this duet felt very natural.
The whole thing took place in different locations of this post-apocalyptic city. This was not just a set, but a real three-dimensional city of cinematic allure. That is why the light comes from ‘all’ sides. Not only did the light beams rotate, but sometimes the light was mounted on large rotating elements. At one point, the large stage on which Within Temptation played floated above the city in ruins. This was really overwhelming, you came up short.
Shed My Skin
There was a moment of rest as the VR character spoke a few sentences before “The Purge” started. In various places you saw images of large, fiercely burning fires. This show was a succession of spectacular moments. Sharon occasionally appeared in a different outfit. For example, in “Entertain You” she appeared in an imposing angel outfit. One of the guest singers was Xzibit, of course for “And We Run” and the stage was again at a different location in the city.
As expected, the new “Shed My Skin” video was shown. For this song Within Temptation entered into a collaboration with the German metalcore band Annisokay. The official video was released on 14 July and it was and can be viewed on YouTube for everyone. Although this isn’t even the biggest song, it does give an impression of how huge the show was. After the beautiful duet “Mother Earth”, it seemed as if you had entered a surreal universe. “The Reckoning” had a quiet start, the light matched this. Yet this too was impressive. Even if you didn’t know the song, you could tell by the light that the song was going to end.
Until we meet again
In “Supernova” the light seemed like a moving work of art that kept changing shape. You saw not only straight rays but also curved beams and circles that generally moved slowly. Sharon spoke a few sentences during subdued music, after which “Stairway to the Skies” was started. The setting was still in the fictional universe, and the light was again a moving work of art. Fans could sing along to this accessible song from start to finish and they certainly did. This song also had a nice structure to the end. Sharon bowed and said hopefully: ‘Until we meet again’. Then you saw the logo of “The Aftermath” with the accompanying background. After that, the screen went black, there were no credits to be seen and no more music to be heard. This sudden ending was the show’s only niggle. Not just for the fans who had a black screen in no time. But also for the complete crew, everyone should be mentioned by name, because this was an enormous visual spectacle. This was grand plus imposing and that squared. It would be a fantastic experience to see this in a cinema. The show was available to stream for 48 hours, then no more. “The Aftermath” was far too beautiful to be seen for such a short time. There will probably be a DVD/Blue Ray of this. Within Temptation has more than lived up to expectations, the expectations have even been exceeded by far!