Angels & Demons Descend DownUnder

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Angels & Demons Descend
DownUnder During Holy Week 2005

Nightwish and Angra Tours

Review and photos by Brat

Angels and devils was the musical theme of holy week in Australia with the arrival of NIGHTWISH and ANGRA from their combined tour in Japan to separate tours here.

Following the interview with TARJA TURUNEN posted here on late last year mentioning an Australian tour, I waited anxiously for months for the tour to be officially announced by promoters. I monitored NIGHTWISH’s official site closely, watching the progress of the Asian dates knowing very well that it would be a good indication of when they?d be DownUnder. As calculated, dates were announced following NIGHTWISH?s Japan tour supporting ANGRA in March 2005.

As soon as tickets were on sale, I bought two?I knew this show would sell out. One evening while I was watching From Wishes to Eternity, my father walked past the room and became captivated by what he heard and saw, and said: ?When she comes to Australia, I want to see her.? and walked away as I bellowed across the house: ?Them, father! It?s a band, not just one singer?, then grumbled to myself as I do every time I see evidence of (usually) guys not seeing the ?Nightwish for the Tarja?.

It was to be a family affair, as I had also introduced NIGHTWISH to my 8-year-old god-daughter and her parents at Christmas, but being a licensed venue, only her parents could go.

To be honest, I?m spoilt and have seen NIGHTWISH three times already in Europe, so although I was looking forward to seeing a headliner show in Australia, I wasn?t really excited about NIGHTWISH coming. I was more excited at the rumour floating around Sydney since Christmas that ANGRA would be touring, but it wasn?t until a few weeks before the shows that the promoters could confirm anything due to the extra red tape involved with ANGRA?s visas…two tickets, please?one for me and one for my father?again.

I originally had no intention of going to NIGHTWISH?s Melbourne shows. The choice of venue in Melbourne for a guaranteed sell-out show simply sucked. Why do promoters insist on putting popular international acts there? Firstly, it?s an awkward shape and many people?s views of the stage are obscured; secondly, the 700?800 capacity is too small, even if you put on two gigs, because the majority of people buying tickets for the first show will also see the second show?so much for the people who missed out on the first show; thirdly, the stage is too low and too small, especially for a band that has four people in its front line.

Yes, yes. Complain, complain. So why go? My decision was reversed the moment I heard VANISHING POINT got the support slot?a band that plays so rarely, even KISS have played more shows in Australia. . Leading up to the tour, I was hit with a rumour from four different sources around Australia that NIGHTWISH didn?t want a support act in Australia. Needless to say, I found it hard to believe, as NIGHTWISH have had some great acts supporting them on their European tours, and was even appalled at the thought of such a ?request?.

Monday 21 March
NIGHTWISH, Vanishing Point
Corner Hotel, Richmond, Victoria

The Corner Hotel has two stages. The larger (main) stage was set up with all the NIGHTWISH gear, while VANISHING POINT played the small stage. The advantage of that was less work for band and crew and there was no rushed changeover.

I was quite happy with this arrangement, as it meant I didn?t have to compete with the NIGHTWISH front-rowers to get a prime position for VANISHING POINT.

VANISHING POINT?s set consisted of old and new songs, including Hollow from the forthcoming release Embrace the Silence, Samsara and Turn Back the Rain, which I haven?t heard them do for a long time.

Singer, SILVIO MASSARO really warmed up the audience with his funny comments on music piracy, invitations for attract women to come to the front of the stage and taking a jab at the people at the front of the main stage not even paying attention to him?this all made for an entertaining set.

Now, as I wasn?t officially reviewing the NIGHTWISH tour and taking notes during the show, I can?t guarantee 100% accuracy of the song lists, but from what everyone can remember, it went something like this: Introduction then Dark Chest of Wonders. Planet Hell, Deep Silent Complete, Kinslayer, The Siren.

My most hated song in the world followed?Phantom of the Opera. I hate this song so much because my father killed it by playing the song over and over and over again, trying to record an album without song breaks…Anyway, if I had to hear it, I couldn?t have asked for a better band to perform it. Honestly, if it wasn?t for the fact that the venue was so packed with sardines you?d have needed a can opener to get them out, I would have done a make-up break during that song?yep, it annoys me that much. At least my father will be happy when he hears it in Sydney.

Then, it was time to give Tarja a break, and MARCO HIETALA sang Pink Floyd?s High Hopes. As much as I love hearing Marco sing solo, I feel it?s time TUOMAS HOLOPAINEN and/or Marco wrote a NIGHTWISH song just for him to sing…come on guys! I know you can do it. That said, the covers chosen are always great (I?ve been lucky enough to hear him do Crazy Train and Wild Child) and Marco always does them justice. The first time I heard Marco singing live ??heaven queen carry me away from all pain??, a chill ran down my spine; my skin was covered in goosebumps and I offered the use of my uterus to incubate his lovechild, so I was disappointed Dead to the World was not on this tour?s set list (so I could make my offer again). Somebody I know (but I can?t remember who) asked Tuomas: ?why didn?t you do Dead to the World?? and from what I heard, it was a common question in Australia. It seems after three years, it was time for a change?they were sick of it. Maybe they?ll bring it back for the next Australian tour.

Next up were Bless the Child and Wishmaster. It was then time for the guys to have a rest as Tarja sang Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan along with the dat player, followed by my ultimate headbanging favourite Slaying the Dreamer, ending the set with Nemo.

NIGHTWISH came back on stage for an encore of Over the Hills and Far Away and I Wish I Had an Angel.

Sometime towards the end of the night, Marco passed around his bottle of ?cheap Russian vodka? to the band. I think Tarja refused a swig, and by the time it reached Tuomas it was empty, earning Marco a big ?bird?.

During the set, someone in front of the stage started Australia?s famous chant which originated with our Olympians: ?Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi Oi!?. It?s being used as a chant for many occasions now, and this night, it was a way of welcoming NIGHTWISH to Australia. The band had never heard it before, so asked to hear it again.

Because I opted for comfort during the show, all I saw without having to strain in a awkward position was Tuomas?from his neck to his nipples (in a shirt)?the only part not covered by either speaker or keyboard. At least the sound was pretty decent, but I was really looking forward to seeing them in a worthy venue?The Metro in Sydney.

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