Excuse my bad attempt at a “The Hobbit” pun in the headline. And the abbreviation madness – the topic is the “Tales From 6 Feet Under – Live In Concert” Dutch Clubtour by the one and only Charlotte Wessels, or more precisely the debut concert of that tour in a location called “De Bosuil” in Weert. Yep, that meant driving some 500km to the Netherlands. And, surprisingly, 500km back again.
What can I say about Weert? It is conveniently located near Mönchengladbach – that means, convenient from a German or Belgian or maybe also Luxembourgian point of view. Dutch people from somewhere else than Limburg may hold the opposite view. The gig venue, “De Bosuil”, is also called the “Paradiso of Limburg” – you have to know that the “Paradiso” in Amsterdam is considered to be the holy grail of the club concert scene in the Netherlands. At least that’s how I understood it, I don’t want to be mistaken as any kind of expert for Dutch club culture – nothing could be further from the truth.
By the way, my online translation tool tells me that “De Bosuil” translates to “The Tawny Owl” – a fact that is at least as interesting as it is useless, and it almost seems as if I am trying to artificially extend that intro needlessly to build up some tension. Nothing could be be further from the truth. So straight to the matter.
Having said that, one more thing before I start. The tour is really aptly named “Dutch Clubtour”, because Charlotte mainly does the between-songs talk in Dutch. I really like to listen to that language, but Charlotte talks at such a high speed, whenever you catch an “ah, that sounds similar to German” word or phrase and try to put it into context, she is already two sentences further down the road. For example the explanation of the looping device and how it is utilized in the song went right over my head. Thankfully, as an attentive listener during the Patreon hangouts, you know the nitty gritty details nevertheless.
OK, I will now really start with the gig review. But before the start of concert, it is always essential to visit the merchandise table. Charlotte always strives for excellence in the art and design department, and the new Club Tour T-Shirt is really beautiful. Although I missed the footnote I suggested to explain the monochrome back of the shirt (inside joke specifically for Discord readers). Also nice to see that cash payment was possible, which is no longer a given in this “plastic only” paradise called The Netherlands. Also a great piece of merch: the setlist, engraved in a piece of wood, along with Charlotte’s signature. Truly beautiful. In the light of the thousands of things I already have lying around at home, I refrained (with a heavy heart) from buying one more thing.
Let’s move on to the support act or “special guest”, as it is called nowadays. But there was a tiny faux pas with the pre-concert playlist before Blackbriar’s performance that I need to mention – it is simply not allowed to interrupt the wonderful “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush so rudely. I really appreciate the desire for a timely start of a concert, but this is just not a suitable means.
But now really and finally to the matter. Blackbriar played for almost an hour, as it turned out the singer Zora also had her birthday, which the Blackbriar fans took as an occasion for the classic birthday song. It’s also worth mentioning that Blackbriar was easily one of the best supporting acts ever in my special category “I don’t know a single song by them” (which at the same time means that my as always ambitious goal “I’ll listen to a few things by them before the concert” failed miserably this time as well). Very interesting, nice to listen to really all of the songs. I would probably call their style “melodic goth metal rock”. And Zora has a very beautiful and at the same time special voice. And such a wonderful idea to include “Mortal Remains” in the setlist, Charlotte’s favourite song by Blackbriar. Side note: the two guitarists couldn’t agree on a common denominator with respect to their hair- and beard-style, but instead played identical looking guitars to compensate. After what I’ve read and heard about the personal preferences of this special breed of musicians that are guitarists so far, I found that unusual.
Then, finally – Charlotte starts the concert with the same band line-up that was already known from their great performance at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht in October 2022. The small stage of a club is of course in need of a few adaptions to the show compared to the large stage at the Ronda hall, but the adaption to these somewhat more intimate conditions was really very well done. The screen, the looper, Claire, Eli with her cello, and even the two dancers were still able to move without any major accidents. Cleverly, Charlotte did not change the clothing in the middle of the show this time, that would have certainly led to chaos.
- Human To Ruin
- Venus Rising
- Source Of The Flame
- Cry Little Sister
- Good Dog
- Alles Wat Ik Wil (duet with Aafke Romeijn)
- I Forget (with Eli on cello)
- Victor (with Eli on cello)
- A Million Lives
- FSU (2020)
- The Phantom Touch
- Soft Revolution
- The Final Roadtrip (with Eli on cello)
- Against All Odds
- All You Are
For the uninitiated: “Eli” is Elianne Anemaat, who was previously the one-woman-string-section during some Delain concerts in the past and also provides amusement at the Patreon hangouts from time to time. Compliments also to Otto – bassist of the band – for the “harsh vocals” on Toxic. Neatly done. And slowly I’m warming up to “Good Dog” and “FSU”, which I had put into the “weaker songs” category for a long time. Overall, Charlotte was in top form vocally and hit the highest notes flawlessly. And as always the perfect mix of power and feeling. That’s how concerts should always be.
It came as a surprise to me that on my way from the show back to the hotel – a 30 minute walk through nocturnal Weert, with a nightlife on late Saturday night/early Sunday morning I would not exactly call “exuberant”, or to be more precise, I saw exactly zero people on the streets – there were exactly two songs present in my head that I basically hummed all the way: “Venus Rising” and “Alles wat ik wil” – I wouldn’t have put both of those in my Charlotte top 20. Nobody understands their own brain.
So far, so good. Pleasant. Great. Wonderful. But – as a born Swabian, there is that inner urge to find those various little points of critique, even in such a case of an all-around wonderful event. “Dr Schwob bruddelt hald gern” as we say in the south-west of Germany – Swabians are very much into the nitpicking business. The benchmark is of course the unforgettable concert in Utrecht in October last year, and honestly that is a bar that is set extremely high, so the comparison is maybe unfair. But I will do it anyway.
As with every concert I visited in the last 35 years, I was not completely satisfied with the setlist. I sorely missed “Masterpiece”, the unofficial hymn of Charlotte’s patrons. It was only played partly after the concert from tape. One of my all-time-favourite songs, “Fool’s Parade”, was also not played. OK, Alissa White-Gluz was not there for the duet, but I could easily imagine Charlotte singing it solo and it would still be a banger. Aafke Romeijn will hopefully forgive me, but a – pretty good – “Alles wat ik wil” duet cannot possibly replace “Fool’s Parade” and “Lizzie” with Alissa in an adequate way. The “All You Are” encore was also a bit weaker – not too surprising, because there were far too few people in the hall. And the sound mix was also not really that good – I would always prefer to give Charlotte’s wonderful voice a bit more prominence in the mix. But that is something I also regularly wish for with the “Song Of The Month” mixes, so it might just be my personal hobby horse.
And finally, I have to admit that Charlotte, over all the time I’ve been admiring how she does the things and produces the stuff – she has nearly always pulled some surprise out of her sleeve. That was missing this time, the show was basically the little brother of the Utrecht show shrunk down to the smaller club needs.
Sometimes, wishes come true, and so I hereby present my oh-so-modest wish list: I would have gladly exchanged “stage show” for “a few more songs”. Especially the new Songs of the Month like “Sweep Your Ashes” or “Butterfly Effect” would be worth to be played and heard live. Or “Vigor & Valor”, one of my favourites. And I plead for a “Lost Songs Of The Month” tour with all the songs that have never been played live. And also a re-recording of all songs with real musicians in the live arrangements. And and and…you get the gist.
After all this nitpicking, I want to emphasize again that I’m really talking about minor details. The overall experience “Tales From 6 Feet Under – Live In Concert” is easily in the category “great and unforgettable”. Let me put it this way: if someone asks me if I want to travel another 1000km by car tomorrow to be there again: yes, sure, definitely. And anytime again. And then again.
Around a week after the Weert gig, I was on a longer journey by car together with my older brother. We have a completely different music taste, so I don’t usually play my favourite music when we drive together, but something more “compatible”. After an hour or so, he asked “you went to the Netherlands now two times just for a concert, something you have never done before – can we maybe listen to one of the songs?” And so I put on “Soft Revolution”. We listened for a while, and he said: “Now I understand.” That’s what I sum up as “Charlotte Magic”. See you at the next Charlotte Wessels concert.