I had wanted to go to Italy ever since I was a little boy, and I was captivated by the first five shows I had been to that year. Moreover, Within Temptation is always worth the time to see live and the flight to Italy was insanely cheap with EasyJet (35€ from Hamburg to Milan), so I thought, “why not”.
And I spontaneously bought the concert ticket, plane ticket and planned a weekend trip to Italy with my fiancée.
One of the important things I had learned from the previous shows was it is always best to get a hotel within walking distance of the venue. Because I like to try to wait to see the band and thank them after each show, I had come to realize that having a hotel or hostel in walking distance was ideal.
The closest hotel that was in our budget to Alcatraz was the B&B Music. It was close to the venue, but the amenities were extremely lacking. The biggest pro to staying there was being able to easily access our accommodation while waiting in line, the biggest con was the absolute lack of hot water for the shower.
But you can read more about that on my review of B&B Music.
The Italian friends I made at the Berlin and Amsterdam shows had warned me that, in Milan, the fans turn out very early to wait. So despite arriving at the line around 7:00 am, we ended up being around number 30 or so in line. The two Italian girls were there already (since 6:30).
Throughout the day, we were free to take turns waiting in line and napping back at the hostel, leaving to go eat (there was a McDonalds near by), and talk to the other fans. It is always an exciting experience to wait in line with other people as excited to see a concert as I am.
When it came time to let everyone into the venue, it was a mad rush. The stage was directly in front of the door so we ran as far forward as we can. Because we were a little further back in line than normal, we were off to the right of the stage at the show (in front of where the guitarists will perform).
The opening band was an Italian metal band, Temperance.
Unfortunately, I do not have any videos of that band available from that night (but you could always find some on youtube!). Like Delain, they played around eight songs for an hour before the headliners (Within Temptation) came on.
The show was missing the two big dragon heads from the big European tour shows of February through May, but the effects were still remarkable.
Sharon and the gang were incredible! I caught one of the guitar picks that Stefan threw out to the audience and after the show was over I was given one of the set lists off the stage (complete with footprints from the band members lol)!!
After we left the venue, we decided that we wanted to try to stay after to see the band members (along with around 200 Italians). I had brought a present to give to Sharon for her upcoming birthday just a couple of weeks after the concert and I was hoping to have a couple of photographs signed.
We then decided *unfortunately* to move away from the entrance to the venue to where more people were standing. Within minutes of our doing so, the crew people of the Alcatraz club came out and set up barriers. They then said a bunch of stuff in Italian that we could not understand. However, we gathered from the fact that everyone else began to move to where we had previously been standing that the band would come out and meet with the audience via the barrier much like movie stars.
They then retreated back inside. This was followed up by another announcement (this time with a short english translation) that the band would take group photos with people. We were then organized into a very messy line and let in 15 or so at a time to take a picture.
By the time it was are turn more than half of the crowd had dispersed. We were at the end of the 15 people so we did not have much time to choose a position. But as we came in, Jeroen remembered me by NAME #winning
He shook my hand and asked me how I enjoyed the show. I had a brief chance to chat with him while the photographer prepared the shot. When I showed that several of the band members had signed my set list I got earlier and I asked him to sign, he signed it and asked me who else needed to sign! I told him Ruud and Martijn and while he asked Ruud to sign, I had a quick chance to give Sharon her gift! The security guy tried to rush me out, but Jeroen told him “it’s okay, he’s fine”. AMAZING!!!!
I was then able to *quickly* give Sharon her gift. She is so sweet. She remembered that I had told her in Amsterdam (almost two months prior) that I was going to their opening San Francisco show in the fall. She called out, “see you in San Francisco” as I was half-pushed out of the hall by the security team.
A week or two after the show in Milan, Within Temptation performed at a festival in Spain and Sharon posted the most AMAZING picture on their Instagram account: she was wearing the necklace I gave her in Milan!
And I later found several videos from many of their summer shows where she replaced her normal necklace with the one I had given her!!! That made me so happy to see!!! She really liked it!!!
Sadly, I had to wait until September to see my next Within Temptation show 😦