The Gentle Storm and Stream of Passion in Melkweg Mar 29, 2015

It's been a while since my last gig report, time to catch up with the latest developments in the Dutch rock world. I've a perfect occasion as I've seen two live rock legends.

The project called The Gentle Storm, which is just one year old, were presenting their debut album The Diary in the Amsterdam club Melkweg (I've seen Pagan's Mind there before).

As mentioned above, the band was founded by two legendary musicians: Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering, Devin Townsend, Anathema) and Arjen Anthony Lucassen (which has an endless list of credits, Ayreon, Ambeon and Stream of Passion to name a few).

Anneke van Giersbergen.

Loads of pictures and a few videos under the cut.

We've arrived a half an hour before the opening time and an hour before the start of the gig, yet there was a line of some fifty to seventy people, soaking under the rain. By the time the doors got open the line got at least three times as long. Something's coming!

Stream of Passion

The gig was supported by my old friends Stream of Passion.

The line between Stream of Passion and The Gentle Storm is quite blurred. Both Marcela Bovio:

Marcela Bovio.

and her spouse Johan van Stratum (bass), who's always running around the stage, took part in both acts.

Johan van Stratum.

Eric Hazebroek, hidden under his hair as usual, played a funny stump of a (seven-string) guitar:

Eric Hazebroek

I've recorded quite some footage, as always, but my expensive external mike has failed. Apparently, the camera lost contact with it and fell back to the internal one. The outcome was appalling, everything but the "unplugged" songs has been severely clipped. Which is a great pity, but at least now I'm aware of it.

Marcela Bovio.



The band has played a few known songs (Monster, The Curse, Deceiver, In the End, Street Spirit), which took about a half an hour.

Marcela Bovio.

The final photo with the crowd:

After that the preparations for The Gentle Storm started. The room was stuffed with people, it was nearly impossible to squeeze through. The balcony was packed too.

In the break I set off to the bar, but soon regretted this since it's been quite a challenge to make it back to my cosy spot before the stage. Anyway, I've done it.

The Gentle Storm

The Gentle Storm's live lineup, apart from Anneke and Arjen, is: Merel Bechtold (guitars), who's only twenty-three:

Merel Bechtold.

Marcela Bovio on back vocals:

Merel Bechtold and Marcela Bovio.

Johan van Stratum of Stream of Passion on bass:

Stage family Bovio-Van Stratum.

Also Joost van den Broek (After Forever) on keyboards, Ferry Duijsens on guitars and Ed Warby (drums).

Merel also played on seven strings, looks like it's a trend now.

Merel Bechtold and her seven-string guitar.

And here's our Legend Number One, both arms tattooed! The audience is cheering.

Anneke van Giersbergen.

Vocal parts by The Gentle Storm are quite intricate, especially when sung with two voices, but the singers definitely master it. Anneke has a couple of decades on-stage experience, Marcela's experience is just a tiny bit shorter, but she's a vocal coach. As a side note, her vocal range has notably broadened over the last few years. You can hear this in Stream of Passion's latest album, A War of Our Own.

In the second act Marcela took some clothes off:

Marcela Bovio.

Merel Bechtold and Johan van Stratum.

Unplugged & Arjen's appearance

At a certain moment the band vanished behind the scenes, and Anneke entered holding an acoustic guitar. Out of the blue she started Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd.

Anneke plays Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd).

This I have filmed with an acceptable quality:

And, finally, the mighty Arjen Lucassen, as tall as 2.02 metres (there's an answer on this in the FAQ section on his website):

Arjen Lucassen.

The crowd's gone wild! Arjen pretended to be shy:

Arjen Lucassen.

Arjen grabbed a guitar that turned out to be… totally unplugged. "Okay then, I'll go", he pressed.

Arjen Lucassen.

Arjen and Anneke have sung a very very lyrical tune called The Moment from the new album (Arjen admitted he even cried when Anneke sang it for the first time):

Marcela joined them towards the end, winning applause.

Next they went back in time, to Ayreon of old days:

An optimistic song about a man in coma, as Arjen put it. Comatose:

Another couple of Ayreon tributes. Valley of the Queens:

Come Back To Me:

Back on track

Once the unplugged part was done with, Arjen was finally allowed to go. The band has played Cape of Storms and Greatest Love, as well as tunes from Anneke's solo project (Witnesses, Strange Machines, Isis and Osiris).

Anneke van Giersbergen.

Some more pictures:

Merel Bechtold.
Anneke van Giersbergen.
Anneke van Giersbergen.
Merel Bechtold.
Marcela Bovio.

The crowd wouldn't let them go, of course. They've played Fallout and Shores of India for an encore.

Anneke van Giersbergen.
Merel Bechtold.

It seemed Merel was a bit tired by then.

Merel Bechtold.

The happy ending. Arjen popped up holding his "first kid" and "the ruler of the Electric Castle" called Hoshi:

Arjen Lucassen, Merel Bechtold, Marcela Bovio, Joost van den Broek, Anneke van Giersbergen, Ed Warby, Johan van Stratum, Ferry Duijsens.

He had to sink quite a bit to get level with the rest of the crew.

The gig was a clear success! It took we a good while to leave the club, as it was really crowded. And the club, obviously, not that big either.

You can watch all the videos on the event page.