He was “right here in our arms” again, after so many years

A packed gig venue, converted from an old Tallinn factory, Helitehas, was all in wait for the former HIM vocalist and now solo artist VV, to take the stage. Before Ville Valo heads back to his homeland, Finland, he brought his extensive 20-song live set to the neighbouring country of Estonia.

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The show opened with a title track from Ville Valo’s solo album, Neon Noir, a smooth mid-tempo song, which has a lot in common with HIM’s beloved ‘Killing Loneliness’. It’s interesting that ‘Killing Loneliness’ was also played by the band, as the first encore song.

VV fans were not, however, feeling lonely or bored in any way. The setlist was a well-structured kaleidoscope of the debut solo songs and highly anticipated HIM hits. The first in store for love-metal-raised fans was one of HIM’s earliest classics, ‘Right Here in My Arms’. Fan favourites from the same era soon followed, including ‘Gone With the Sin’, ‘Poison Girl’ and, of course, iconic ‘Join Me in Death’, released back in 2003, which marks over 20 years since its launch and HIM’s breakthrough in Europe and beyond.

Further into the show, as Ville got into a more balladic mood, we heard HIM’s ‘The Kiss of Dawn’, the song that always serves like a hot cup of coffee on a freezing winter night (which, in fact, it was – with a light below-zero temperature outside). The romantic ballad vibe was picked up by the following VV solo song ‘Run Away From The Sun’.

More: HIM Frontman Ville Valo Puts Up His XIX-Century Tower-House For Sale

Quite a stand-out choice was the next ‘Buried Alive by Love’ from HIM repertoire. That’s when many of us looked at the live musicians surrounding Ville and thought: “You wouldn’t think that Ville’s tour band can sound just like HIM members but they pull it off just fine!”

And closing the show was a vocally demanding, at times high-pitched classic ‘When Love and Death Embrace’, which left the audience with a romantic post-show melancholy. Well… that’s Ville Valo. With or without HIM.

Ville Valo at Helitehas, Tallinn, 17.04.2024 - photo credit: Kenneth Spiteri, AlteRock
Ville Valo at Helitehas, Tallinn, 17.04.2024 – photo credit: Kenneth Spiteri, AlteRock

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Text: Tatiana Spiteri
Photo: Kenneth Spiteri