CD Review: Within Temptation – “An Acoustic Night at the Theatre”

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CD Review

This review was originally written by Jose Bernardo for between 2008 and 2010.

These were Jose’s first impressions of the songs and were not written after multiple spins.

Artist : Within Temptation
Album : An Acoustic Night At The Theatre (2009 Sony/BMG, Roadrunner, Gun)
Tracks : 12

Artist website :


An Acoustic Night At the Theatre, is the latest live album from Dutch symphonic metal band, Within Temptation. This recording was released in the later part of 2009, but was recorded in 2008.

I was first introduced to the band through Black Symphony. This album is totally different than what they did with the Metropole Orchestra on that other live album. It is great to hear this material in this context. While doing an unplugged album isn’t fashionable after this live album genre was over done in the 1990’s, I think this one is quite good.

The band have brought back Anneke van Giersbergen and Keith Caputo to sing the same songs they did with them on the band’s Black Symphony (2008) live albumThey also brought in a few extra musicians to make their sound more full. While the extra musicians are orchestral in nature, this recording is by no means meant to be taken in the same way as Black Symphony. The arrangements are not big and lush like when they played with the Metropole Orchestra. The arrangements on this album are delicate and absolutely sublime!

The band have also recorded a new song in the studio and released it with this album. They brought in British singer, Chris Jones, to sing a duet on the last track.

Overall, I felt the mix was a bit bass heavy and that there wasn’t enough of a balance. Fans of the band will definitely enjoy these new and fresh takes on the material. If the mix was stronger and balanced, I bet they could attract some new fans with An Acoustic Night At the Theatre.


Stand My Ground, Caged, What Have You Done


Track 1 – Towards The End
Interesting choice for a show/album opener. 

Track 2 –  Stand My Ground
This rendition of this song is great! Loved it.

Track 3 – Caged

Track 4 –  All I Need
Pretty cool. This song has such a beautiful melody that it only benefits more from the delicate treatment it gets here.

Track 5 – Frozen
Not a bad rendition, but not great. 

Track 6 – Somewhere (feat. Anneke van Giersbergen)
I did not find this version of the song to be captivating. There’s no question that both singers are very good, but this arrangement failed to capture and hold my attention.

Track 7 – The Cross
Not a bad rendition, but not great. I believe that Sharon should have left out the“a-a-a-a-a-a” vocal parts from this version. It would have been absolutely perfect without them.

Track 8 – Pale 
This piece has a really wonderful melody. It fits very well in this setting. 

Track 9 – What Have You Done (feat. Keith Caputo)
This rendition is magical! The energy is not lost even in this unplugged version. 

Track 10 – Memories 
Nice track.

Track 11 – Forgiven
Delicate and pretty. This track has a very nice mix. I wish the rest of the album was this balanced.

Track 12 – Utopia (feat. Chris Jones)
This track fits with the rest of the material on this release. However, it’s not the usual Within Temptation offering and this makes it a welcome surprise. There are so very nice and large chords that make it majestic. As this is a studio recording, the quality is much better and more crisp. 

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Posted in CD Reviews, The Weekly Riff (2008-2010) Reprinted.