Thursday, April 21, 2022

Anneke Van Giersbergen @ Petit Bain, Paris - April 21st, 2021

Anneke Van Giersbergen will forever be thought of as the former vocalist for Dutch symphonic metal band The Gathering, but this shouldn't overshadow her collaborations with Devin Townsend, Ayreon, the Gentle Storm, Sirens, and of course her solo career.

This tour sees Anneke tackling every facet of her career in a solo acoustic format. Most songs are from her solo records, with nods to the many projects she's been a part of over the years, as well as a few choice covers.

Tonight she played the Petit Bain, a boat that is permanently docked on the Seine, across from the famous Bercy arena and a few minutes away from the French National Library. The venue wasn't quite packed, a painful reminder that the pandemic isn't over yet... What this means for the future of live music remains to be seen...

Her voice is a beautiful as ever and under these simpler, less bombastic guises the songs take on another emotional dimension. She drew the biggest crowd response when she performed The Gathering's Saturnine, but for this reviewer the highlights were her rendition of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill as well as set closer and current single Weary.

Some of the best moments also came in between songs, when Anneke regaled the crowd with stories of how these tracks were written, or what inspired her music. She was funny and unassuming and the crowd was mesmerized throughout. It was a treat being able to hear this artist in such an intimate setting, and hearing these songs stripped of their mostly metal arrangements and delivered in their purest form.

This tour will conclude in a few weeks, and what form will her musical journey take next is anyone's guess. Not knowing what to expect is part of what makes artists like her so precious.

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