Concert Review: Ville Valo @ The Fillmore, San Fransisco

Alright mate, gather ’round. Yours truly’s back with another tale from the trenches – this time, it’s the legendary Ville Valo’s playing at The Fillmore, San Francisco.

Yeah, the former HIM main man who’s been spinning some serious solo magic since last year. I was stoked, and so was my playlist – pretty much turned into a “Neon Noir” shrine.

I wondered when VV would tour the US…

Then, the Heartagram folks announce a US tour just weeks before his solo album drops. You bet your ass I snagged a ticket faster than a Sepultura riff.

Despite feeling like I’d been hit by a tour bus on the day of the show (long story), I dragged myself to The Fillmore. Miraculously found a seat without having to order a drink, marking my first sober rock show. Yeah, weird as hell, but the music’s the real intoxicant, right? As it should.

The Show @ The Fillmore, April 17th, 2023

The stage goes dark, a violet heartagram lights up, and “Zener Solitaire” tears through the speakers. We’re not talking about a mega arena, but The Fillmore’s a damn fine place for an intimate gig. Packed with 700-ish serious rock aficionados, the vibe was electric.

VV and his crew took the stage, kicking things off with “Echolocate Your Love”. This wasn’t HIM. It was a new beast, a different setup. Once the fanboy moment passed, I tuned into the music – and holy hell, was the sound production tight! Risto Rikala on drums was a powerhouse, and the guitars? Pristine and pitch-perfect, whether they were belting out the new VV tunes or classic HIM anthems such as “Right Here in My Arms” and “Buried Alive by Love”. People sing-along with every tune. The magic of a rock show.

Bottom line? It was a goddamn good night – way beyond my expectations. And that, my friends, was without a single drop of booze.

So here’s my two cents:

  1. Ville Valo was, is, and will always be the driving force of HIM.
  2. Good music is universal. Whether it’s HIM or VV and his squad, they delivered.
  3. The Fillmore is a gem. Perfect crowd, and perfect vibes. I’ll definitely be back.
  4. Booze ain’t a prerequisite for rock shows. That’s just industry bullshit.
  5. SF fans keep it real. No fashion show, no nonsense. Just music lovers in their element.

Ok then. Until the next show, folks. Keep it loud. Keep it proud. Rock on!


Zener Solitaire
1. Echolocate Your Love
2. Poison Girl (HIM song)
3. The Foreverlost
4. Right Here in My Arms (HIM song)
5. Run Away From the Sun
6. Buried Alive by Love (HIM song)
7. Loveletting
8. Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly (HIM song)
9. Heartful of Ghosts
10. Join Me in Death (HIM song)
11. Neon Noir
12. The Kiss of Dawn (HIM song)
13. Baby Lacrimarium
14. When Love and Death Embrace

15. Soul on Fire (HIM song)
16. Salute the Sanguine
(Stopped halfway due to VV was mad that there’s a fight between the audience)
17. The Funeral of Hearts (HIM song)
18. Saturnine Saturnalia

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