The most successful Finnish Gothic Rock band HIM played for the last time in Berlin. In March 2017, the end of the band was officially announced. After eight studio albums and just over twenty years of band history, the chapter HIM, built around the charismatic singer Ville Valo, will be closed. The tour was sold out very quickly. Tickets for Berlin were only available on the black market. The many fans were ready to enjoy this concert evening, although with great sadness.
BITERS is an American Rock and Roll band hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. Formed in 2009, the group consists of Tuk, Matt, Ricky, and Joey. BITERS are supporting HIM for some parts of the tour. They released some EPs and their debut album ‘Electric Blood’ in 2015. In May 2017, the current album ‘The Future is not what it used to be’ was released.
Right from the first notes you could tell where this band has its roots and influences. This was the finest, modern Rock in the style of the 70s. Their main influences include bands such as CHEAP TRICK, DAVID BOWIE, ALICE COOPER, THIN LIZZY, SLADE, THE BOYS etc. Unfortunately, the concert hall for BITERS was not very crowded yet. The reason was not disinterest, but the seemingly endless controls at the entrance. But all who were already inside experienced a great concert from a well-arranged and pleasant band, which also constantly sought contact with the audience. Anyway, the songs ‘Restless Hearts’ and ‘1975’, which have a lot of hit potential, are definitely top tips from their set. And in the now fuller hall, the mood was turning very receptive. It was a cool 35 minutes show with 9 great rock songs, without even a minute of boredom.
Stone Cold Love
Loose From The Noose
Heart Fulla Rock n Roll
A long queue of mainly black-clad people lined the footpath along Columbiadamm. The cold and rainy weather this evening was not made for long queues. Some fans even came without a ticket and tried to get one on the spot. Most of them also succeeded, but the “last minute” tickets bought directly in front of the hall cost fans up to about 100 €.
And so HIM says goodbye to Berlin. And I can mention it right at the beginning – it was a grandiose farewell to the audience. The Finnish cult band chose the Columbiahalle in Tempelhof as the location for their farewell tour. In recent years, they have played numerous concerts in many different Berlin clubs and halls. In the Columbiahalle there is always a very special atmosphere. The three-sided, built-in gallery creates a great concert ambience, with space for several hundred spectators. From there you have a particularly great view to the stage and you could see the huge heartagram of metal (band logo of the band), which shone in different colours during the concert.
HIM entered the stage punctually at 9pm, starting with the hit ‘Buried Alive By Love’ from the album ‘Love Metal’. This was followed by ‘Heartache Every Moment’ from the album ‘Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights’ and the great ‘Your Sweet Six Six Six’ from the 90s. And so it went on and on. The memories of their many great albums came to life. One hit followed the next, but that was to be expected. The band completely shone on their farewell tour. Perfect sound, great light, razor-sharp guitar, fat bass and Ville’s voice were all having a good day. Unfortunately, one has to say that the gradient of sound quality in the hall differs greatly. In the areas under the galleries you could even describe the sound as bad. On the top of the gallery it was mediocre, but good enough. In spite of this, the audience had a good time and were in a great mood. The song ‘Wicked Game’ had an overlong instrumental part of about 3 minutes – this appeared improvised, as Ville left the stage for a short time. Somebody had to pee maybe!
It was neatly sung along with ‘Gone with the Sin’, ‘Poison Girl’ and ‘Heartkiller’. At the beginning it may have been thought that many in the audience are not here voluntarily and only came to accompany their girlfriends to the concert and seemed a bit disinterested. But with the hit that made the band famous almost around the world, ‘Join Me (In Death)’, everyone was finally awake and almost everyone in the Columbiahalle sang along. And from then on practically everything was also sung along. In ‘Joy and Sorrow’, ‘Right Here In My Arms’ and ‘The Funeral of Hearts’ followed. Like in all good concerts, time passed almost unnoticed, and too soon ‘The Funeral of Hearts’ was actually the last song. Now the inevitable came. Ville said goodbye to Berlin and the fans. It was a moving moment when he said: “We will not meet again so soon”.
But the fans wanted more. Loud, rhythmic and faster and faster clapping ensued. It did not take longer than two minutes before the Finns were back on stage. It was a great sight, certainly for the band as well, when they played a cover of BILLY IDOL’s ‘Rebel Yell’ – all fists in the hall went up in the air. Finally, HIM played the wonderful ballad ‘When Love and Death Embrace’. Now some of the fans had tears in their eyes, because that meant the end. The last time for HIM! Some fans told me about their great adoration for this band, and that they are devastated about the end. For many of the fans, the band has been a part of their lives for 20 years. What now? Someone asked… from now on HIM will only be admired on CD and DVD or on the internet. I met fans from Switzerland who have seen HIM live over 50 times. For them too, an important part of their lives will soon cease to exist. But for some Berliners it was not yet the final farewell.
Some of the fans have bought many tickets for the tour, and will accompany the band to many stages of the concerts in Europe. I even heard that, with the exception of two shows, some people will attend all the other concerts. Wow, really crazy, but crazy in a positive way. In the audience, of course, were some musicians from the Goth Rock scene, who had not missed the opportunity to see HIM live for the last time. Among others Sven Friedrich (Dreadful Shadows / Zeraphine / Solar Fake), Hagen Schneevogt (Scream Silence / Tunes Of Dawn) and Christian Miconi (Vlad In Tears). They must also be very affected by the end of the era HIM. However there probably comes a point when some bands realise that the ideas have run dry. But maybe it’s just a temporary phase with HIM and the time will come when they get ideas for new songs.
In any case, I cannot imagine that Ville Valo will not return one day to the stages of the world… whether with the same band, another band or as a solo artist. But enough with the reveries! After exactly 100 minutes the Berlin farewell concert was over – a perfect farewell with a few small flaws in terms of organization and distribution of sound quality. After the concert, fans told me that the queue to the entrance was several hundred meters long, almost to the nearest subway station. In fact, many even missed the beginning of the HIM concert. One should go in the future really only with small bags to concerts – that would accelerate much at the entrance. But nonetheless, at a concert of this size and with only two gates, it’s just too late to open the doors one hour before the concert starts. But these little things could not cloud the absolutely successful concert evening.
Thank you HIM, thank you for the many great years. I take a bow to you in the name of all fans. Kiitos!!!
Buried Alive By Love
Heartache Every Moment
Your Sweet Six Six Six
Kiss Of Dawn
Tears On Tape
(Rip Out) The Wings Of A Butterfly
Gone With The Sin
Soul On Fire
Join Me (In Death)
In Joy And Sorrow
Right Here In My Arms
The Funeral Of Hearts
When Love And Death Embrace