Sunday 17th December 2017
Review by Sabrina Selkis
Photography by Jo Moolenschot
It was a bitter sweet Xmas present for many tonight as this is the last tour for the Finnish Love Metal band Him. After 26 years, HIM have announced a Farewell tour travelling to 14 countries. On the band’s social media earlier this year, HIM stated “After quarter of a century of Love and Metal intertwined we sincerely feel HIM has run its unnatural course”. The UK leg of the tour sees performances in Glasgow, Nottingham and Manchester and two nights in London due to the high demand.
As I arrived I can’t believe the massive queue outside going on as far as the eye can see… and the weather is not helping either, it is cold and humid. Once inside, I make my way to the seated area and get a good overview of the crowd and the stage. The Roundhouse is an excellent venue for such a high profile gig.
The support tonight is Biters, signed with Earache Records. I hear only the two last songs but I was quite pleased with their retro Rock & Roll music, reminiscent of the Thin Lizzy and Alice Cooper days.
The room is filling up quickly, the big iconic heartagram metal structure is center stage, all are ready to say goodbye to their idol. HIM opens with “Buried Alive by Love”, followed by “Heartache Every Moment”, the fans are loving it from the first second, screams being mainly by women! But the light show is so dark, it is hard to see the band on stage, and it never got better throughout their setlist…which to my liking took away the possibility to truly connect, for the last time, with his fans.
The band goes smoothly through their songs, allowing Linde Lindström and Paananen to render their great guitar and bass riffs abilities, obviously really enjoying themselves. The “Wicked Game” cover song is an opportunity for a keyboard solo (I didn’t know that was a thing..) by Janne “Burton” Puurtinen. Jukka “Kosmo” Kröger is doing a great job behind his drums to keep the energy going and the fans dancing.
The highly predictable song “Poison Girl” gets most of the fans dancing, followed by “Bleed Well” that gives no chance to rest. Closing the festivities with “In Joy and Sorrow”,” Right Here in My Arms”, “The Funeral of Hearts”, Him ends with a “drop of the mic”, and they all leave the stage… Is this how to thank fans for their long support… something kinda bothers me here. I have never been a HIM fan, but I can appreciate the influence and the uniqueness of them, with eight albums under their belt and an impressive career, I can’t speak wrong of HIM. But still…
The band is back for the encore, a cover of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell, provoking a massive karaoke session. Now it is time for HIM and his fans to part ways.On the way out I meet Valentina, a long life fan from Sicily. She first came across HIM on MTV in Germany where she was living at the time, she has now seen the band 12 times, and bought everything she could get her hands on! I asked if she enjoyed this official good bye, she replies:
“The gig at the Roundhouse was amazing but I can only describe it with two words ‘In Joy and Sorrow’,I was totally ecstatic at seeing HIM again that I queued for 4 hours to be able to get to the front (I was in the 3rd row!), but at the same time all this’ Joy’ was shadowed by a deep ‘Sorrow’ that this was going to be the last time I was going to see HIM playing. I liked the setlist but I wished they had played also “Pretending” and “Solitary Man” or done a longer encore.” (Valentina Alfano-Poison Girl).
A page has turned, this was the end for the Finnish band, but who knows, there are always reunion gigs, so don’t despair HIM fans, HIM might not be gone just yet.
1. Buried Alive by Love
2. Heartache Every Moment
3. Your Sweet Six Six Six
4. The Kiss of Dawn
5. The Sacrament
6. Tears on Tape
7. Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly
8. Gone With the Sin
9. Soul on Fire
10. Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover)
11. Killing Loneliness
12. Poison Girl
13. Bleed Well
15. Join Me in Death
16. Stigmata Diaboli
17. In Joy and Sorrow
18. Right Here in My Arms
19. The Funeral of Hearts
20. Rebel Yell (Billy Idol cover)