Reviewed: June, 2020
Rating: 4/5 (Just the DVD)
Over the years I’ve done a number of more ambitious series of reviews instead of simple stand-alone reviews. This is perhaps my most ambitious project yet. This series of reviews was born out of three seemingly dissimilar and unrelated components; my viewing habits, a stockpile and the global pandemic of 2020.
As a habit and personal preference, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I prefer to read and listen to music. Over the years whenever I have bought a CD, often it will come with a bonus DVD. I would listen to and enjoy the CD and because I don’t watch much TV I just started putting the CD’s with a bonus DVD in a pile, thinking to myself, “I’ll watch the DVD….‘someday’. Over time the pile grew and grew and grew.
Secondly, it has long been a personal goal of mine, and Metal-Rules.com, to review every Hard Rock and Heavy Metal DVD on the planet. Over the years we have reviewed hundreds of stand-alone DVD’s, more than almost every other Metal webzine. However these little bonus DVD’s that come with CD’s are often, dare I say it, are largely inconsequential or ‘throw-away’ DVD’s, with not much substance other than a video or two, or maybe a brief ‘making of’ the album at hand. They are neat for the die-hard fans who want to shell out a couple extra bucks for the deluxe version of the CD but mostly they are not a big deal, very often there is not enough true content to release on their own.
At the tail end of March 2020, like many thousands of people, I lost my job due to lay-off’s precipitated by the global pandemic. In my first real full-week of self-isolation, it was April 1st in the evening, and I was sitting thinking, “How am I going to keep myself productive and occupied these next several weeks?” And there it was, sitting on my desk, staring me in the face as it had all these years. A pile of EXACTLY 50 CD’s with bonus DVD’s that needed reviewing! That ‘someday’ had suddenly became, ‘now’.
And so begins… The Covideo Chronicles. (Covid + video…get it?) By the time you read this I will have reviewed all 50 DVD’s sitting in that pile and compiled this series. 50 DVD’s. 50 days. 50 reviews. Some of these bonus DVD’s are full concerts and documentaries, some are merely a few minutes long. My goal was to do a very quick synopsis of the DVD (not even the CD) just the DVD. I’m quite sure many of these albums have already been reviewed over the years here on Metal-Rules.com. In fact, the longest part of these reviews will probably be my rambling introduction.
These are in no particular order. I was thinking of doing them chronologically by release date or maybe alphabetically but in the end I decided to review what I felt like watching that day. This exercise was a simple daily task, it kept me keep me amused and primarily I’m glad to get that damn pile off my desk. Enjoy!
I’m doing these reviews every day for 50 days. Yesterday, I watched and reviewed Sonata Arctica’s LIVE IN FINLAND. In that Bonus DVD there was a brief little clip of Tarja, formerly of Nightwish and it got me thinking about I am reviewing today.
I’ve actually procrastinated on watching this DVD for some time, not because I’m not interested but because I know the thing is so bloody long, over five hours long! That takes a commitment to watch, but today is a lazy Saturday so I tackled it.
Nightwish is one of those bands that is so big and so popular they can put out tour and put out a DVD for no reason. Traditionally a band will write and record an album and tour for it, but now they are in an elite category like Iron Maiden, Dream Theater and until recently Rush, who can just do a tour for no ‘reason’. They can film a DVD and people will go to the show and buy the DVD. For example the recent LIVE IN BUENOS AIRES had no album to back that tour. However, in this case, the band was touring for the ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL album and naturally we get a Double Live album of the Wembley concert. It is the bands fifth Live album, two from the Tarja era, one from the Annette era and now, as of time of writing, two from the Floor era.
As expected, for a band with this much clout is a huge show with full production, crystal clear sound, multiple HD cameras, at least a dozen, and all seemlessly edited. The light show is top-notch lots of blue and grey to kind of match the colour scheme of the last few albums. Instead of backdrops these days it is all rear-screen projection so the background is constantly changing, making it interesting to watch. Throw in some smoke and pyro and it is a killer production. I was pleased to see and hear that the songs are just a tad heavier and faster in the live environment.
Another component I enjoyed was the set-list. The band does not live on past glories and plays 7 of the 11 songs from the new (at the time) album. Floor can however, pull off the operatic stuff easily. Shot on the final night of the world tour, this could be one of the ultimate Nightwish concerts.
DVD Two captures the Nightwish concert in Tampere, Finland, an open-air show on July 31st, 2015. It looked, cool, grey, windy and overcast but very atmospheric. Despite many similarities in style and execution there is a decent difference in the set-list with seven different songs from the London show, five months later. I’ll admit I do miss seeing Jukka behind the kit, he had a bit more flair in his drumming and personal style than Kai. There is something about the open-air shows that make them seem bigger, maybe those sweeping crane shots than pan out over the crowd make it seem bigger. It was kinda cool to see floor doing some windmill headbanging at the beginning of ‘Storytime’!
One of the highlights of this show was when Floor gets her spotlight moment singing ‘Sleeping Sun’. It is brave for her to tackle the iconic ballad that is largely associated with Tarja and the song that broke the band into a wider consciousness. However, floor strides out onto the massive vanity ramp and absolutely nails the song, sending shivers down my spine. By the time the show is over and the band has concluded with the epic 18+ minute, ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ it is almost dark, but of course the sun never sleeps in Finland in the summer! The band takes their final bows on the vanity ramp to the voice-over from the album and as the final credits roll, an incredible overhead shot from a plane or helicopter of the fireworks going off over the stadium, simply amazing. I’m torn which concert I like better!
DVD Three gives us a bit if perspective on the scale of the world tour, and it really is a ‘world’ tour. There are 10 clips, one from Canada, Argentina, Mexico, America, Brazil, Australia, Finland, the Czech Republic, and the inaugural Nightwish cruise in 2015. These clips are all cool, indoor, outdoor, all high quality. There are a couple of highlights for me, the world premier of the song’ ‘Edema Ruh’ in an acoustic rendition on the Nightwish cruise being one. Another is when Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica joins Floor and the band for a duet rendition of ‘Last Ride of The Day’ at Rock In Rio to a utterly massive crowd.
Last of all, but not least is a seven-minute interview with Dr. Richard Dawkins. He is a renowned English scholar who provided some narration on a couple of songs on the ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL album inspired in part by evolution, biology and atheism.
It was a very pleasant afternoon spent in the company of Nightwish, watching hours of live performances. I’m sure most Nightwish fans already own this but I can still recommend it whole-heartedly.