10’TH of MARCH, 2012
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJALA
Symphonic metal quintet Nightwish, the most successful Finnish band abroad, played a show in front of over 7000 people in Helsinki’s Old Ice Hall. The show was a part of the band’s six-day Finland tour, which was a great hit when all shows were completely sold out. It seems that Nightwish is now having the time of their career, although their future was at stake following former vocalist Tarja Turunen’s departure in 2005. Swedish vocalist, Anette Olzon, was chosen to replace Tarja in 2007. The band’s latest two albums, DARK PASSION PLAY, and IMAGINAERUM have received critical and commercial success worldwide.
The evening started with support band Poisonblack opening at 07:30 PM, but I didn’t get to the venue until 5 minutes before 09:00 PM when Nightwish was about to begin their show.
The massive stage was covered with a blue/white curtain, and after a couple of minutes wait, the show opened up with a new album intro track, “Taikatalvi,” which was sung by Marco Hietala (or was it played from the tape, not sure about it?) Anyway, it did look cool when Marco was singing the song while sitting in a rocking chair behind the curtain, and the audience saw only his character’s dark shadow during the performance. The actual show started with impressive pyro effects when the band first headed into “Storytime,” followed by “Wish I Had Angel” and “Amaranth.” It was quite a shocking way to open the show with three hit songs in a row, right!!!
The renewed setlist was now firmly based on the latest IMAGINAERUM album released in November 2011. Based on the same name feature film based on the album tracks, the album was represented by as many as nine tracks. The new album is one of the band’s most vital in their career, but perhaps too much is too much. Songs like the “jazz nightclub” track “Slow, Love, Slow” or over-the-top massive “Song of Myself” could have been replaced on the setlist with some older gems instead! It was quite surprising how little attention the previous album DARK PASSION PLAY got tonight when only three tracks were performed from Olzon’s debut release with Nightwish. Just to name few brilliant songs like “Bye Bye Beautiful” and “7 Days to the Wolves” were conspicuous by their absence now.
What wasn’t so surprising anymore was that there wasn’t much left from the “Tarja era.” In a way, it’s a good thing because Anette and Tarja are such different singers with quite a diverse vocal range, but on the other hand, there’s a large piece of the band’s history missing from their show. The oldest track played tonight was “Dead to the World” from the album CENTURY CHILD (2002). In addition to that, there were just three songs played from ONCE (2004), which is the band’s biggest selling album to date, and a cover version of Gary Moore’s classic “Over the Hills and Far Away.” Special mention goes to a stunning acoustic version of “Nemo,” one of the highlights tonight.
Anette Olzon, after being in the band for five years, has now finally gotten rid of Tarja’s shadow. Olzon is now doing what she does best, singing her heart out with her style and strengths without any extra pressure. Her stage presence is quite funny to follow when it’s a mix of sweetness and genuine enthusiasm. And the rest of the band, they might not be super virtuosos there, but the band’s skills are at an astonishing level. There are no weak links, and a band is now a solid unit together. Holopainen’s keyboard “monument” was quite impressive, but if someone from the band would have to rise above the rest, then it would be Marco Hietala, whose vocal skills and stage presence are in a class of its own.
As a whole, this was an entertaining and impressive show. Despite some missing pieces on the setlist, the song material was still strong enough to carry on through an almost two-hour performance. Visually, Nightwish is nowadays on its own level in Finland. Rarely, if ever, have we seen such massive lightning systems, huge stage setup, and great-looking pyro’s in here. No one’s been even close to that, but Nightwish itself, when we speak about Finnish bands there.
It’s going to be interesting to see where Nightwish goes from here. For sure, this year, and perhaps the next, will be fulfilled with touring, but what’s going to happen after that? It’s going to be impossible to exceed or even repeat the hyper massive production and sound of IMAGINAERIUM, so perhaps it’s now time to go back to basics and release another “basic” metal album with some killer tunes? Only time will tell, but so far, everything looks good for Nightwish.
1. Taikatalvi (Intro)
3. Wish I Had an Angel
6. The Siren
7. Slow, Love, Slow
8. I Want My Tears Back (with Troy Donockley)
9. The Crow, the Owl and the Dove (with Troy Donockley)
10.The Islander (with Troy Donockley)
11.Nemo (with Troy Donockley)(Acoustic)
12.Last of the Wilds (with Troy Donockley)
15.Dead to the World
16.Over the Hills and Far Away (Gary Moore cover)(with Troy Donockley)
17.Finlandia (Jean Sibelius cover)(with Troy Donockley)
18.Song of Myself
19.Last Ride of the Day
20 Imaginaerum (Outro)
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