San Francisco HWT

After my return from Germany in the beginning of August for a short sojourn in California, I had one thing on my mind: Within Temptation.

During the second leg of the European portion of the Hydra World Tour (click for my stories about the other shows I went to), Within Temptation announced that they were going to tour across the US. AND, the opening show would be in San Francisco!! After reading the announcement, I immediately facebooked one of my very best friends from home, Emily, and told her about the show. We both love Within Temptation and we both bought tickets for the big show so close to our homes!

We met the day before the show to talk over how to overcome the infamous San Francisco traffic in the morning so that we could be the first ones in line for the show. Because we did not know how many fans would turn up early, we thought it best to beat the morning traffic instead of waiting it out (because who wants to be number 120498320482 in line for a concert?!).

On the day of the show, Friday September 25, 2014, we left from Livermore at about 5:00 AM. Crazy? Maybe? But a blast? DEFINITLY!

We passed the early hour drive by singing along with a burned CD I had made just an hour or so before my two hours of sleep I got before the concert. When we got to San Francisco, we had the task of navigating the city and trying to find a place to park. There was a hotel very close to the Regency Ballroom, and we were able to park in the parking lot there.

We got out of the car, cut through the hotel, and were the first ones in line (by about 3-4 hours). Nevertheless, it was a great opportunity for us to talk and catch up. As I had been living overseas in Germany, we had not had a long talk in a long time.

The next fans to arrive were from Hawaii and had flown out just to see the show! As we talked to them, more and more crew members and management for the band began floating around the place.

After a while, we saw the tour truck pull up and we went over with the guy from Hawaii and a couple other fans that had arrived to see what was going on. At some point in this going back and forth between the line and the alley where the truck was, we saw three men walk up from the direction of the hotel wheeling suitcases!!

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They were band members: Ruud Jolie, Stephan Hellenblad, and Martijn Spierenburg! We got to take pictures with them before they went into the building to prepare for the show! It was awesome because Ruud recognized me from seeing him at the European shows!

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We went back to the line excited and adrenaline filled! We did not have to wait much longer to get a glimpse of the queen herself, Sharon den Adel.

The poor thing looked exhausted, but she still took a couple minutes to come in the front door and take a couple pictures. She REMEMBERED ME!!!!!!! She hugged me and asked me how I was doing, and we talked for about two minutes or so! I was reeling by how casual it all was! The guy from Hawaii got to take a picture with her, and my friend Emily got her portrait of Sharon –that she drew herself– signed by Sharon!!

Sharon told us she had to go in and sign posters for the people, like Emily and me, who had bought the ticket during the promotional period.

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A little after that, bassist Jeroen van Veen came out to enjoy a cigarette. Emily, the Hawaiian guy and I approached him. He was more than willing to talk to us and we talked with him for a good five minutes at least about just music, the shows, and the upcoming tour.

Jeroen is awesome because he met me for the first time after the show in  Hamburg, Germany. I introduced myself to him there by name, and he remebered my name a month later when I met him after the first Amsterdam show; after he had spent a whole month touring through Europe, he remembered my name. Then in Milan, Italy, two month’s later, he shook my hand after the show and asked me how I had enjoyed it. And sure enough, he also remebered me –by name– at the San Francisco show! I guess I will have to wait and see if him and Sharon remember me at the Theatre Tour shows in 2015.

The rest of the day flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to run into the concert hall! Emily and I were the first two in the door and we were able to stand front and center. I had Emily hold my place while I went to go claim my free poster, signed by Within Temptation.

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After the line took WAY too long, I made my way back up to the front and stood with Emily.

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The opening band for the American part of the tour was Amaranthe from Sweden. Their music featured three vocalists and a blend of metal and alternative riffs. As it was the first show of the tour, I don’t think they had the kinks worked out yet with the sound system. As a result, that meant most of their numbers were drums and bass. As a group, they had a lot of show energy and my only wish would be to see them in a different show setting that had a better audio set up. The drums had no sound guard and the bass amp was pointed right at the center of the stage, thus it was impossible to hear any other part of the show.

Soon enough, Within Temptation came on. They had changed their song line up a little from the European leg of the tour and they opened with Paradise instead of Let Us Burn. The theatre at the Regency Ballroom was smaller than the other venues I had been to (except maybe the Berlin show), but the music was just as awesome!

The best part of the concert was when Sharon dedicated the song Stand My Ground to me!! The music started and I hummed out the first words. Somehow, she heard me, and pointed right at me. When they finished performing the song, she came up to the end of the stage and reached out for MY HAND (link to video). She took hold of my hand for a few seconds. When I tried to pull my hand back, she adjusted her grip and held on tighter and squeezed my hand before letting go. I bowed to her and she bowed back saying, “this one was for you”

The show continued and I got a number of great pictures.

The videos aren’t half bad either!

But of course, they ended the show with their hit, Ice Queen (watch from 3:36 to see Sharon gesture at the camera)!

After the show was over, both Emily and I were running out of steam. Slowly the number of fans dwindled. I was determined to have my first edition European release of the album Mother Earth signed by the band and I also wanted to get my second limited edition Hydra box set signed! When we were about to give up, Jeroen came out. He took my things to be signed by the band members on the tour bus. And after he was done doing that, Sharon came out.

At this point, there were only four of us left waiting. She took pictures with all of us. She was so tired, but I was able to thank her for the song dedication. Emily and I also were able to give her wine from our hometown, as Sharon loves her wine!

All in all, it was nearly 2 am when we got back into the car to drive back to Livermore. It was a long and exhausting day, but one well worth the energy. I cannot wait for the upcoming Theatre Tour in 2015! See you then Within Temptation!

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One thought on “San Francisco HWT

  1. Pingback: My top 14 Travel Highlights of 2014 | Californian Abroad

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