Released: 2014, Nuclear Blast
Nightwish are back with Live album #4 and this time it is a Double Live titled SHOWTIME, STORYTIME. Nightwish are so huge now that they are entering that pantheon of bands like Rush, Dream Theater and Iron Maiden that every studio album gets accompanied by a Live album and DVD. SHOWTIME, STORYTIME is a real treat to capture a band already close to the top of the world but also at a crucial juncture, entering a new era.
The album has pretty nice packaging, an attractive cover, which I’m fairly confident was not taken at WOA thanks to the mountains in the background! The booklet is pretty massive, 22 pages with over 85 pictures in the ‘scattered polaroids in a pile’ technique of layout and design. There are no lyrics either or technical info about the tour which would have been nice.
The only technical complaint I have is that once again, Nuclear Blast did not tell us when the concert was! They have done that a number of times in the past, (most recently with the Hammerfall and Doro CD’s) neglecting this critical information. Is it too much to ask for the band or label to tell us at what point in time the concert was recorded? Of course, I went and looked it up on-line, the concert was recorded on August 3rd, 2013 on the second last night of the IMAGINAERUM World Tour. Fortunately the label included the full concert on the CD unlike some of their other recent concerts CD/DVD packages (ie. Doro, Sonata Arctica) where the CD doesn’t have the full show because it is edited. Nothing is more annoying than only getting part of the concert!
The set-list was a nice greatest hits package with six of the 15 songs being hit singles from across their career and they played a full half of the most recent album IMAGINAERUM. The sound is crystal clear, the crowd nice and loud singing along with our heroes as they conquer Wacken for the 5th time. Headlining on a Saturday night on the main stage with full production at the world’s largest Metal fest in front of tens of thousands at the tail-end of your triumphant world tour? It doesn’t get any bigger than that. However, it comes down to the songs in the end and they are great songs, the cuts of IMAGINAERUM having more grit and fire than the studio versions. It is a pretty streamlined show clocking in at 85 minutes with not much in the way of drum solos, keyboard solos but there was a bit of an acoustic spot with Troy Donockley and his Uillean pipes. The whole band sounds great and Floor by this time is a seasoned professional and handles all the songs very well, finding a nice balance of the rock style of Anette and the classical style of Tarja. The concert was about epic and bombastic as you would expect and demand from Nightwish.
If I had to rank this show in relation to the other four Nightwish Live albums, I’d place it behind FROM WISHES TO ETERNITY and tied with END OF AN ERA but ahead of MADE IN HONG KONG. There is nothing wrong with this superb Double Live album, it is just that my track preference lies with some of the older faster material. Otherwise, every Nightwish fan will enjoy this beginning of a new era and likely even bring more fans on board as they discover the talent of Floor Jansen now fronting one of the world’s biggest Metal bands.