Earlier this year came Nightwish?s album ONCE which was previewed by the EP NEMO that became a major hit in Sweden. ONCE is still selling a lot and I think will sell a lot more after the band's visit to Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Malm?. Just before they came to Sweden they released their second EP "I WISH I HAD AN ANGEL". Along with Velvet Revolver, Nightwish are one of the best selling hard rock acts in Europe so far this year.
I have never closely followed this Finnish band, I basically only knew them by name. I bought ONCE when it came and it was a very positive surprise. Tarja has an amazing voice being classically trained she sounds extremely good. The only concerns I have with her voice is that she can sound a bit too monotonous when it?s only her that sings. Luckily she gets some vocal help from the bass player Marco on ONCE. For my tastes, her voice can be a little bit tiring on the older albums since she has slight tendencies of sounding a bit unvaried...so I looked forward to hear how they would pull this off live and how it would sound. It?s also their first time touring in Sweden, before this they have only played at Sweden Rock Festival.
Before this show I knew that Nightwish had played at the Sweden Rock Festival and in Gothenburg and Stockholm. Now was time for them to take on Malm?. The venue for this evening was the nearly sold out Baltiska Hallen with a capacity of about 4000 people. 3000 tickets were bought before the show and another 600 was sold at the show. Two weeks prior to this show Whitesnake played at the same venue and they couldn?t even manage to half-fill the place!
Earlier that day Nightwish was supposed to sign albums at a local record store but for some reason they cancelled it and the place was packed with disappointed fans.
As usual the support band started too late, about 40 minutes after scheduled time and they played for about 35 minutes. The support was also a Finnish act called Lordi and what can I say about them?? well they felt totally wrong as a support to Nightwish. I almost laughed at the guys and girl on stage. They were boring and had a singer that looked like Rob Zombie ? he thought. It was quite a relief when they went off stage and then we had to wait another 50 minutes before Nightwish entered the stage. Suddenly the lights faded and Nightwish stood there.
They started off with "DARK CHEST OF WONDERS" which went directly into "PLANET HELL", both songs from the new album. The stage was really huge but they hadn?t so much stuff on it, just a backdrop behind the drums with the cover on from the new album. In other words they really had some space to move around and Marco and Emppu really took hold of that opportunity. Tarja mostly stood behind her mic and sang, she hardly moved and when she did she looked more gracious and angel like.
During the first 4 songs they had pyrotechnic (fires, sparks, bombs and smoke) that really helped the band kick off the show. We weren?t allowed to take any pictures during those 4 songs either because of the fire risk.
They also did older songs like "SLEEPING SUN", "BLESS THE CHILD", "EVER DREAM" and "WISHMASTER" but of course the main focus were on the songs from "ONCE".
At the front of the stage they had built up a kind of a bow of steel and during the first song water came down in front of the stage from the bow and created a waterfall or a fountain that you could see the band through. All this together with a mighty light-show made it all look really stunning. They had laser beams that made patterns in the water like stars and different figures, they had really thought the lighting through to say the least! At each side of the stage they had 3 fires that burst off now and then, it was a cascade of fire and flames.
The crowd welcomed a surprised Nightwish with open arms and lungs and they seemed very astounded that they are so loved in Sweden. Tarja looked very shy and stiff during the first part of the show. When the first part was over she went out to change clothes and Marco took over the vocals and he did a cover of a Megadeth song. When Tarja got back on stage after changing it looked like she had overcome the shyness and she talked to the crowd and also did some headbanging with her really long hair. The band had a lot of things on backtrack like strings and choir when them playd.
The band went through 5 more songs along with more fire, bombs and smoke and closed the ordinary show with "GHOST LOVE SCORE" taken from ONCE. By that time Baltiska Hallen was a total meltdown and screamed for more. The guys and Tarja, now in different clothes again, went on the stage to perform encores.
They played three encores "DEAD BOY?S POEM"; "SLAYING THE DREAMER" and "WISH I HAD AN ANGEL". Marco and Emppu worked really hard to keep the crowd going, as if that was needed. The new single "WISH I HAD AN ANGEL" was the last song this evening and when the band stood at the front of the stage and thanked the fans it looked like Tarja were about to cry, she looked really moved by the overwhelming support they got from the fans this evening.
Altogether Nightwish delivered 90 minutes of pure magic and my expectations were more than met. I don?t think that any Nightwish fans that went out into the Malm? night were a bit disappointed with what they just had experienced. I know that we don?t rate shows but I have to agree with the Finnish team that if Nightwish are coming to a town near you don?t miss it!!
I met the band right after the show and they were really happy with the show. Apparently the gigs in Stockholm and Gothenburg hadn?t gone as well according to the band, and the gig in Malm? had saved the whole Sweden experience. All of the guys in the band were very nice but Tarja just walked out of the waiting fans and didn?t sign their albums....I thought that was arrogant since they cancelled the signing session earlier during the day. Perhaps there was a reason for this, but it wasn't made public.
After the shows in Sweden it was time to go to Finland and let the native-crowd take part of their magical music. And after that they are headed towards USA and Canada before the end of the year.
Dark chest of wonders
Deep silent complete
Phantom of the opera
Dead to the world
Symphony of destruction (Megadeth cover)
Bless the child
Higher than hope
Ghost love score goal
Dead boy?s poem
Slaying the dreamer
Wish I had an angel
Thanks to Jaap at the head-office at Nuclear Blast Germany for help with press/photo pass at the show.