Long-running Finnish goth-rockers HIM wrapped up the North American leg of their Bang & Whimper Farewell Tour with a sold-out show at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Friday night, capping a 25-show run with an epic performance that will not soon be forgotten. This one was a little bittersweet for me, having been a HIM fan for a while but never seeing them live before, so that meant my first time seeing them would also be my last time seeing them, and I found out what I had been missing in a big way as the band captivated the packed house for nearly two hours as fans got their final chance to say goodbye.
Sadly, on HIM’s last night in the States, there were many issues that put a damper on it. Technical issues that forced the band to leave the stage for a few minutes proved to be only a minor problem, though the much larger issue was that the show ran 20-30 minutes early and the venue made no effort whatsoever to get fans inside quickly. Many fans waited in line for an hour, with others spending 90 minutes or more waiting to get inside, thereby missing both 3Teeth and CKY, while others were forced to wait until 10pm – an hour after HIM had taken the stage – to get inside, meaning there were some who paid good money to see their favorite band for the last time who didn’t get to fully enjoy the experience of what was an incredible night. The issue was so bad, in fact, that I had to use my “clout” as a regular photographer at the venue to get some friends in ahead of the line and just in time to for HIM. None of this is the band’s fault, but this issue persists at every show at Hammerstein Ballroom and it is one that needs to be addressed for future shows either by band security or artist management, because fans should not be forced to miss half or even part of a show due to the venue’s lack of interest in doing their jobs.
But, I digress, and the performance factor was off the charts. HIM kicked off their final North American show with Buried Alive by Love and would go on to play hits like Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly – my favorite HIM song – Soul on Fire, The Kiss of Dawn, Heartkiller, In Joy and Sorrow, Right Here in My Arms and The Funeral of Hearts before once again leaving the stage, only to return again for a two-song encore that featured a goth-rock rendition of the Billy Idol hit Rebel Yell, before wrapping up one last time in the US with When Love and Death Embrace.
I said at the top that I had realized what I was missing all these years, and it’s hard to believe that I’ll never get a chance to see HIM again after only seeing them for the first time. Seeing a band once is always better than never seeing them at all, but after watching HIM live for the first time I wish it wasn’t over. They were – and still are – an incredible band and I consider myself privileged to have been able to be there as the band said goodbye to their fans on this side of the world. HIM, of course, will truly bid farewell back home in Finland, and rightfully so. There’s no other place on earth for a band that means so much to the goth music scene to end than where it began, and so it will. But now, HIM’s time in North America is over and I miss the band already.
Check out the photo gallery from HIM’s final North American performance: