When Finnish love metal giants HIM announced earlier this year they would be calling it quits after 26 years, it was not really a surprise to many, but yet sad news for their loyal fans all over the world. The band soon announced a worldwide farewell tour Bang & Whimper, and luckily included its only Canadian stop in Toronto on Monday, November 13th.

I first saw HIM in a tiny dive bar in my native Finland around the time they had released their debut album Greatest Lovesongs Vol. 666. I was instantly drawn into not just Ville Valo’s devilishly gorgeous looks but his amazing vocal range, their heartbreaking lyrics, heavy riffs and their passionate energy on stage.

HIM at Rebel. Photo by Laura Collins.

Over their 26 year span, the band have released eight studio albums, five compilations, three video releases, two box sets, along with one live and one remix album, and are internationally one of the most commercially successful Finnish bands of all time, with sales of over ten million records worldwide.

Opening the night at Rebel was a four man industrial band 3TEETH from Los Angeles, California. Singer Alexis Mincolla, dressed head to toe in leather, looking like straight out of a sexy steampunk scene, put on a diabolical show basking in the strobe lights on stage. If Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein had a love child, it would be 3TEETH, and I could not imagine a better company the band is already with.

3TEETH at Rebel. Photo by Laura Collins.

3TEETH, formed in 2013, is spending time with big names, opening for Tool on their tour last year, and THE Rammstein itself this summer. Their Monday night’s performance left more than a few jaws dropped on the floor with its intensity, and hoping the band will be bringing their show to Canada again soon.

Last time I saw CKY perform in Ottawa in June, the seemingly tired band had just returned back from European tour.  It was a different story at Rebel on Monday night as the band put on an energetic but a short set to get the crowd going. The singer Chad I Ginsburg was visibly enjoying his time on the stage flirting with the audience and and running across the stage. Even though the crowd was appreciating the show, the band, although enthusiastic on this particular night, was left in the shadow of its predecessor.

CKY at Rebel. Photo by Laura Collins.

The anticipation was through the roof as the time was getting closer to HIM to get on stage. The majority of the audience had been on their feet in front of the stage for three hours without breaks to guarantee a front row spot to get the best view of HIM. Sisters Jenna and Kristen Harvie, who were introduced to HIM’s music through their brother fifteen years ago, had traveled all the way from Nova Scotia and Ottawa to make sure to witness the band’s farewell show, and said it was a sad yet an exhilarating moment in their lives to witness the band play one of their last ever shows.

HIM got on stage with The Everly Brother’s Bye Bye Love, as Ville Valo entered dressed all in black with his signature toque. Gone are the days when Valo performed bare feet with a bottle of red wine and cigarette in his hand, but his incredible vocal range is still there, only breaking a couple of times over the course of their 22 song set.

HIM at Rebel. Photo by Laura Collins.

The band started the night with Buried Alive by Love, continuing into Heartache Every Moment and Your Sweet Six Six Six from the band’s debut album. With minimal chit chat in between the songs, they kept playing a hit after a hit, and the audience was loving it.

It wouldn’t be a HIM show without fans fainting, and around midway through the show, the band paused Gone With The Sin for a moment when an overheated fan was lifted away from near the stage.

HIM at Rebel. Photo by Laura Collins.

Once the show continued, an excited fan threw a bra on stage making Valo chuckle, and as two songs later a pair of men’s underwear flew on stage from the audience, he cracked a joke about a matching pair.

Chris Isaak cover Wicked Game, and the band’s own mega hits Poison Girl, Join Me In Death, and Right Here In My Arms got the audience singing on top of their lungs, and as the show came into and end, none of us wanted to let go.

HIM at Rebel. Photo by Laura Collins.

The band came back for a short, two song encore to perform Razorblade Kiss, and ended the night with Billy Idol cover Rebel Yell, and just like that, it was over, leaving just a lonely spotlight on stage pointing at the drum kit’s infamous heartagram logo.

After all the years of heart wrenching love songs from our beloved love metal band, in joy and sorrow, we all bid farewell to HIM.

By Laura Collins

HIM Bang & Whimper Setlist at Rebel, Toronto:

  1. Intro (Bye Bye Love by The Everly Brothers)
  2. Buried Alive by Love
  3. Heartache Every Moment
  4. Your Sweet Six Six Six
  5. The Kiss of Dawn
  6. The Sacrament
  7. Tears on Tape
  8. Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly
  9. Gone With the Sin
  10. Soul on Fire
  11. Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover)
  12. Killing Loneliness
  13. Poison Girl
  14. Bleed Well
  15. Heartkiller
  16. Join Me in Death
  17. It’s All Tears (Drown in This Love)
  18. In Joy and Sorrow
  19. Right Here in My Arms
  20. The Funeral of Hearts
  21. Encore: Razorblade Kiss
  22. Rebel Yell (Billy Idol cover)

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