While Within Temptation was touring their way across Western Europe (click here for my experiences on the Hydra World Tour) with a new show every two or three days, I caught their next show that next weekend on Saturday April 12, 2014 in London, England. I was really really excited to go to this show because it was going to be my first time traveling to the United Kingdom.
I took the City2City bus for 16,00€ (a very cheap round-trip option) from Hamburg to Bremen. From there, I took a Ryanair flight to the Stansted Airport outside of London with a return for 75€. The shuttle transport via the, National Express, £5 both ways, took me from Stansted to the Victoria Coach Station in London.I arrived there in the middle of the night and had to make my way to the Dover Castle Hostel and Bar in Central London –accomodation was £30 for two nights. I booked my accomodation about two months in advanced.
That was my first experience riding a Red Double-Decker bus. Despite the late hour, it was a remarkable experience. I finally got off the bus and made my way to the hostel. It was a really cool building that had been converted to a hostel with bar attached. It was very secure with two different pass codes to enter the building then the residential halls, then there was a key to enter the dorm room where I was staying. I got into bed around 1:30 am and quickly drifted to sleep, anxious for the exciting day to follow.
I had planned to get up and leave for the concert at 6:00 am. But because the show was to take place at the legendary Wembley Arena, I figured that I would not beat the people who stayed overnight in line for the front of the line. Therefore, I decided to sleep a little longer and take my time getting ready.
The hostel had bad ratings for the shower. I should have listened. The bathroom was drafty and the water pressure was very weak. The showers were powered by a nob that one pushes, and the water runs for a period of around ten seconds or so. That meant that I had to push the nob and go through that cycle about six or seven times before the water was warm enough to use. One nice feature was the fact you could lock the shower for your exclusive use and pick from the best of the four available showerheads.
I eventually got ready and left around 7:30 am. On the underground, I took the Jubilee line from central London out to Wembley. And deciding that I was not going to be the first in line anyways, I got off at Green Park to take a quick look at Buckingham Palace. Because of the early hour, the grounds were mostly free of tourists and I was able to take a couple nice pictures of the Palace and surrounding area.
I then hopped back on the train and continued out towards Wembley Arena. When I got off the underground, I was guided by the massive silhouette of Wembley Stadium (Wembley Arena is to the right-hand side of the Stadium). I saw a Lidl store off to the right and stepped in there to buy provisions for the day: water, energy drinks, bread, and a couple of pieces of fruit.
When I got to the line at around 8:30 am, there were already at least 20 people in line. I meekly made my way to the back of the queue and settled in for the long wait. As I was alone on this concert trip, I quickly began to talk with the people sitting next to me in line. We spent the day talking about our favorite Within Temptation songs, what song we hoped to hear on the setlist, what we studied and we even got to see the band member Robert in the window of the hotel across from Wembley.
As the day wore on, I made my way to the nearby Starbucks and fueled up on the coffee. As the sun began to go down, more and more people began to file into the Wembley Stadium for a big football match. Us concert goers in line really picked up on their energy and it pumped us up.
When they started letting people into the hall, my little band of friends were the last people let in in the first group by the bouncers. They only let in around 40-50 or so people at a time to keep it from being a mad rush. Despite the fact there were two lines on opposite sides of the building and we were let in so late, my whole little group made it into the front row along the right-hand side of the catwalk facing the stage. The Wembley staff was really great at crowd control and they had everyone sit down before they let the next wave of people in. I thought I would take advantage of everyone sitting down and got up and ran to the bathroom, but when I returned everyone was standing and I barely made my way back up to the front.
After a final hour of waiting, the concert started. Delain was opening for Within Temptation again. They played through the same eight exciting songs that they did in Hamburg (click for my story about that show)!
The show was sold-out and Delain was on fire, a perfect preparation for the main course: the enchanting music of Within Temptation.
When Sharon and the band came out onto the stage, you could feel their excitement to play for a sold-out show in a large London arena!!! One of the highlights of the show was when Within Temptation played the song Tell Me Why off of their new album Hydra.
The show was OUTSTANDING!!!!
It convinced me to buy the tickets for the big Amsterdam show at the end of this leg of their tour (click the link to read all about it).
At the end of the show, my new friends and I took a picture together next to the stage before we made our way to the merch stand to get our chance to meet the band members of Delain. Although we did not get close enough to meet Charlotte, we did get to meet Martijn Westerholt (the pianist of Delain) and Sander Zoer (the now ex-drummer of Delain).
One thing that I really disliked about London was the fact that the London Underground stops running at around midnight. So, we were unable to wait very long to see if Within Temptation would come out to see the fans. But when we were waiting, I saw the bassist of Delain, Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, and was able to take a picture with him.
I then made my way back to central London and crashed at my hostel. I had to get up very early to catch my bus going to Stansted for my 11:00 am flight. But that did not stop me from taking a last couple of pictures before I left the city.
When I landed back in Bremen, I had to wait a further seven hours before I could take my bus back to Hamburg. So I enjoyed all of the exotic foods of the Asian Buffet restaurant across from the airport. Needless to say, after eating mostly snacks over the previous day and a half with no time for breakfast that morning, it was a delicious lunch!!! ^_^
Bremen is a beautiful town. It was a mix of Romantic Germany with modern Germany. Nonetheless, I was happy to finally get on my bus and head back to Hamburg! Click here to read about the next show I went to in Berlin!