Marty’s photos of the day #4121-4123: This week I’m taking a break from wildlife photos to post some of my favorite concert photos. Today’s photos are of Within Temptation in Milan, Italy. Yes, my wife, Deb, and I actually flew to Italy to see a concert! This short excerpt from my book, Hits, Heathens, and Hippos: Stories from an Agent, Activist, and Adventurer, explains how that happened:

The two of us also have a long history of doing spontaneous things together. Getting engaged after knowing each other for just four months, suddenly deciding to move to Montana, and traveling to all seven continents come to mind. One of our more recent spontaneous decisions happened when I fell in love with a genre of music called “symphonic metal.” That type of music is much more popular in Europe than it is in the United States, and it’s not as hard as the name implies. It merges up-tempo rock with orchestral and choral elements, and it often features a classically trained female lead vocalist. In the United States, the best-known symphonic metal band is Evanescence, and overseas, Within Temptation and Nightwish lead the pack.

I watch very little TV, but I love to stream concerts on a big screen, using my digital projector and stereo system. After discovering Within Temptation on Pandora, I bought all of their albums and searched the internet for high-quality concerts. When I found a good one, filmed in their home country of the Netherlands, I talked Deb into watching it with me. By the end of the show, she was as big a fan as I was.

“That was amazing!” she said. “I’d love to hear that wall of sound in person.”

Although I knew she wasn’t being literal, I couldn’t pass up the opening she gave me. I brought up Within Temptation’s website, found a list of upcoming concerts, and showed it to her.

“Pick one,” I said.

Well, it wasn’t quite that easy. I had college shows to work around, and Deb had some weaving events to work around too. After we nailed down our collective open dates, we debated on whether to see the band in the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, or Norway. Since Within Temptation was selling out some of their shows a year in advance, we only delayed a few days before selecting their December 15, 2018, Milan, Italy concert.

Once I purchased our tickets, we had close to a year to plan the rest of our trip. That detracted a bit from our feeling totally spontaneous about flying to Italy to see a concert. Even so, when we finally did make it to the country, the wait was well worth it. We enjoyed an entire week of exploring, made some new friends, and toured the historic Tessitura Bevilacqua Velvet Weaving workshop in Venice (which Deb turned into an article for Handwoven magazine). And need I say that Within Temptation was awesome?

***Updates: Deb’s new book, Easy Weaving with Supplemental Warps: Overshot, Velvet, Shibori, and More, will be published by Schiffer Publishing on November 29. That book also features her commentary on the Tessitura Bevilacqua Velvet Weaving workshop and my photos from that visit. So we truly made the most of our trip to Italy to see Within Temptation!

Oh, and for readers of my latest novel, Doctor Refurb: my male protagonist, Dr. Stefan Westin, is named after Within Temptation’s hunky guitar player, Stefan Helleblad.