Chasing away the sleet – Ville Valo in Tampere 23.4.

Author Ossi Kumpula - 28.4.2024

Ville Valo, indisputably the highest authority regarding all things love metal, launched his solo career in January of 2023 in the same place where that of HIM ended. The three sold out shows at the Tavastia-club in Helsinki in the beginning of last year propelled Valo to a world tour consisting of over 120 shows and counting. The seemingly endless excursion is finally winding down this spring, coming to a full stop at the Royal Albert Hall in London on May 10th. Towards the tail end of his ongoing European tour, Ville Valo graced the stages of his native land on six dates. Last Tuesday it was Tampere’s turn to experience the exquisite magic of the most prominent rock star Finland has ever produced.

As enticing a prospect as an evening of live music with Ville Valo is, the aftermarket for tickets for the gig at Pakkahuone was quite busy in the days leading up to the show. Last Tuesday, one look at the slush inferno outside was enough to determine why it had to take some willpower to brave the weather conditions. Arriving at the venue some fifteen minutes prior to H-hour, the great hall of Pakkahuone was bursting with eager acolytes, as expected.

Mr. Valo and his companions began the musical proceedings just after nine p.m. The group had decided to shuffle the deck a bit, for instead of opening with ”Echolocate Your Love” as usual, the band began with ”Neon Noir”, the title track of Valo’s debut solo album and one of the record’s catchiest tunes. If the audience wasn’t quite thawed out at the beginning, surely their frosty joints were lubricated by the familiarity of ”Right Here in My Arms”, a timeless classic ever since its unleashing upon the world by HIM in early 2000. The following one-two-punch in the form of “Loveletting” and “Wings of a Butterfly” ensured that the atmosphere did not falter an inch.

The musical menu of the evening consisted of twenty songs, and as customary for a Ville Valo concert, the split was 50/50 between his solo- and HIM-material. The tried and tested concept worked well, and it was a delight to see both earlier and newer material garnering an equal level of excitement from the crowd. ”Run Away from the Sun” had people dancing all the way to the back, and ”Echolocate Your Love” coaxed some impressive sing-along from the gathered faithfuls. Valo’s voice was on top form, and on “Buried Alive By Love” his screams could’ve split eardrums from front to the farthest reaches of the hall. The band delivered as conscientiously as ever, and the timely guitar solos flowed buttery smooth on songs like “The Kiss of Dawn“.

One distinct staple of Ville Valo concerts is compensating lack of crowd engagement with a greater number of songs. It is commendable in its own way for a band to skip the crowd chit-chat in favor of more tunes, but when twenty songs are crammed into ninety minutes like at the Ville Valo-gig last Tuesday, the experience is bound to grow numbing at some point. Skimming a couple of tracks off of the set and sprinkling some tour stories or other verbiage in between might improve the drama arc in the future.

As mentioned earlier, Ville Valo will be ending his world wide trek in London in less than two weeks. According to Valo himself, the performance at the Royal Albert Hall will close the chapter on the ”Neon Noir” era. What follows after that is anyone’s guess at this point. What’s readily apparent at this time is that Ville Valo’s star power among his fans is as potent as ever, and whatever he decides to do next, there will be many an interested observer following his pursuits.

Pictures: Tomi Vesaharju


Neon Noir
Right Here in My Arms
Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly
Salute the Sanguine
The Kiss of Dawn
Run Away From the Sun
Buried Alive by Love
Heartful of Ghosts
Gone With the Sin
In Trenodia
Poison Girl
The Foreverlost
Join Me in Death
Echolocate Your Love
The Funeral of Hearts
Saturnine Saturnalia
Killing Loneliness
Baby Lacrimarium
When Love and Death Embrace