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Doomroosje, Nijmegen, Netherlands
9th November 2014

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

the gathering

The Gathering for the uninitiated are a Dutch rock band who in a long career have attained a kind of cult status especially in their native Netherlands and parts of Central and South America.

In celebration of their 25th anniversary they managed to gather together almost all the band members from the different line ups and played two shows on the same day in Nijmegen under the title '25 Years Of Diving Into The Unknown'. Tickets were like gold dust for these shows with fans coming from all over Europe, the US and Mexico but I managed to get one for the afternoon gig and joined the expectant crowd in the main hall of the Doomroosje venue.

I wasn't sure how you handle such a complex idea for a show and I didn't expect the opening with all four of the singers present today all coming to the stage together and launching into probably the band's most famous song 'Saturnine'. After sharing the vocals out on that tune the follow up 'Strange Machines' was left to Anneke van Giersbergen to sing solo.

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Obviously loving being back with her old bandmates the mercurial Dutchwoman carried the song and the audience effortlessly with her but this was another of the most famous songs. A brave move to start with these two songs I thought.

Of course that reckoned without The Gathering's confidence in themselves and their material and that they were playing in front of the most hardcore of hardcore audiences. I like a lot of the band's material but I came to them through the solo work of the divine Ms van Giersbergen so for me the highlights of the show were all the tunes she got to sing on her own.

the gathering

She has a voice which can carry any song plus an effervescent energy which I can only describe as emanating waves of joy out into the audience. She was simply irresistible on the ambient groove of 'Even The Spirits Are Afraid' and the seductive stylings of 'Broken Glass'. Marcela Bovio of Stream Of Passion was one of many musicians in attendance and described 'Travel' as giving her goosebumps all over.

The long musical journey for this Dutch musical institution started in doom Metal territory and a couple of these songs were aired with Bart Smits growling away with their original female singer Marike Groot adding some intense melody to the sound at times.

the gathering

Current vocalist, ex-Octavia Sperati member, Silje Wergland got her chance in the spotlight too adding her smooth tones to songs like 'Heroes For Ghosts' which also featured some nice trumpet playing from Noel Hofman.

On top of all this solo spotlighting up front the various singers and musicians trooped on and off the stage when required and all seemed to be having a great time whether sharing the limelight or not. Former bass player Marjolein Kooijman seemed to be a particular crowd favourite with her big smile and distinctive style but this was an audience who knew all the songs and all the words and loved every minute of everything.

the gathering

When it came to encore time there was more sublime singing from Anneke on 'Waking Hour' then it was time for the epic finish to the show with a ten minute version of 'I Can See Four Miles' going from the gentle intro with restrained and melodic shared vocals eventually turning into a full on Deep Purple 'Space Trucking' type jam.

I sometimes felt at this show that I was an outsider looking in on someone else's party. I enjoyed much of the music but I'm not keen on the doom metal era of the band and for me occasionally the material from their ambient trip rock period lacks the strength in songwriting that the talent on stage deserves. Anneke van Giersbergen is an absolute star though and anything she does grabs my attention.

the gathering

I have to say that The Gathering put together a complex two hours plus show which went almost faultlessly despite all the constant personnel changes and their hard core fan base absolutely loved it. People I know described it as the best gig ever and out of this world and in the end that was what it was all about.

Line up:
René Rutten – guitars/flute
Hans Rutten – drums, triangle
Frank Boeijen – keyboards, synthesizer
Silje Wergeland – lead vocals
Hugo Prinsen Geerligs – bass
Jelmer Wiersma – guitars
Bart Smits – lead vocals
Marike Groot – vocals
Anneke van Giersbergen – lead vocals/guitars
Marjolein Kooijman – bass, backing vocals
Noel Hofman - trumpet

the gathering


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