Review by Rachel Sloper, photos by Sean Larkin
First up was American band, Caspian, who took the stage with vigour, armed with their brand of post-rock. The instrumental set seemed to fail in exciting the crowd, which was already swelling to the back of Rock City’s main hall.
They might not have won over the hordes of HIM fans, but they fuelled their set with passion and gave it their all, which made for great listening to the intricate, dreamy riffs.
HIM kicked off the set with, Tears on Tape’s opening track, ‘Unleash the Red’. The atmospheric instrumental heightened the crowd’s anticipation before launching into the album’s first single, ‘All Lips Go Blue’. The band took the stage before frontman, Ville Valo, who was greeted with a near-deafening reception from a largely female audience.
Without a moment’s hesitation, the crowd were treated to an enigmatic performance of the Finnish Love Metallers’ smash-hit ‘Buried Alive By Love’. A knowing grin played around Valo’s lips as he seemed all-too-aware that he had the room under his spell. This is a man with some serious stage-presence.
The band powered through a back-catalogue of hits such as ‘Rip Out The Wings of a Butterfly’ and ‘The Kiss of Dawn’ before showcasing Tears on Tape track, ‘I Will Be The End Of You’.
Whilst tracks from HIM’s latest offering appeared few and far between in the set, they showed consideration for fans that may have been going along for a bit of nostalgia. The set dug all the way back to their debut album, Greatest Lovesongs, Vol. 666, with the inclusion of four of its tracks.
The show was well-rounded, neglecting only two of the band’s six studio albums in its’ set. Definite highlight of the night was their performance of ‘It’s All Tears (Drown In This Love)’ during which Valo showcased his true vocal range, hitting the chorus perfectly, before embellishing on the studio recording, giving fans that little bit extra.
The band closed the set with a powerful rendition of ‘The Funeral Of Hearts’, with the crowd chanting along- almost drowning out the band on the chorus.
Returning for an encore, Valo announced that they were going to ‘slow things down’ because that’s how they did it ‘back in the day’.
This ‘last dance’ of the evening had the crowd swaying in unison to the soothing tones and crooned vocals of ‘When Love and Death Embrace’. The beautifully performed number brought a great sense of closure to the evening as the iconic love metallers left the stage.
1. Unleash The Red
2. All Lips Go Blue
3. Buried Alive By Love
4. Rip Out The Wings Of A Butterfly
5. Right Here In My Arms
6. The Kiss Of Dawn
7. I Will Be The End Of You
8. Join Me In Death
9. Your Sweet 666
10. Passion’s Killing Floor
11. Tears On Tape
12. Wicked Game
13. It’s All Tears (Drown In This Love)
14. Soul On Fire
15. Into The Night
16. The Funeral Of Hearts
17. When Love and Death Embrace
See more of Sean’s photos here;