Archive for November, 2012

Nightwish at O2 Academy3 – 6/11/12

Posted in Film Reviews And Conversations on November 8, 2012 by Adam Broome

Four and a half years ago, I visited Birmingham at the now-relocated O2 Academy to see one of my all-time favourite bands. Symphonic metal band Nightwish can sell-out stadiums the size of Wembley in their home country of Finland, yet here get lucky to sell out even adequate venues. It certainly gives them a variety in audiences – to add to their variety of music, variety of style… and variety of singers.

The band reached cult status with original opera-class singer Tarja Turunen, but when she left in 2005, her replacement Annette Olzen got fans in a stir. With followers decisively split, the last five years have been rather uneasy territory for the band. Eight weeks ago, Olzen also split, leading Nightwish to cast dutch singer Floor Jansen as their new lead singer. Word got round that this new singer had the ability of both previous singers – operatic vocals complete with pop-inspired pitch. There is no doubt that all eyes were on her tonight – did this newcomer carry the entire weight of the gig?

First up, Peter Tagtren’s band ‘Pain’. Same warm-up from four years back believe it or not. This time, I knew the songs. The blend of cyber-dance-metal is still a strange one to couple with the neo-classical goth that proceeds it, but it definitely gets heads banging and the floor thumping. Overly-enthusiastic teenagers punched the air repeatedly, reminding me of how I must have looked four years ago! True to memory also – no mosh pit. Tonight, I was thankful – I’m getting too old for it all nowadays! Still, it is always good to note that audiences outside of Nottingham always seem more chilled out – Rock City still seems to host the most mental nights and audiences.

Pain left upon announcing an up and coming tour in 2013, before the stage got set for the main event. Nightwish opened the sound of their single ‘Storytime’, before Jansen took to the mic. I have to say, my heart sank. Despite being almost deafened by the speaker right next to me, I could still hear that Jansen was struggling to hit Annette’s high notes. It got me worried – maybe she could play all the old stuff from a decade ago really well, but this notion would surely divide fans once again.

However, it wasn’t long before Jansen started to settle into the role. The more she did, the better her renditions of the last two albums became (after all, it was really only those two we were expecting to hear!) But the longer the concert went on, the more Nightwish started to bring back their older works… and something really special started to happen. Keep in mind that some of these songs haven’t been played by Nightwish in over seven years – ‘Planet Hell’, ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ and the rather legendary ‘Ghost Love Score’ all made appearances, as did ‘Nemo’ and ‘Bless The Child’. Other hits from Tarja’s era with the band appeared, and the crowd hit the roof with excitement. To hear such old songs sung well is something fans have been hoping for for many years now. It was a wonderful moment.

As for the newer hits of recent times, Floor Jansen got more relaxed after hearing the roaring approvals of ‘Dark Chest Of Wonders’, and settled into the new material just fine, contrary to my initial expectations. Plenty of the new album was played, and although we never went as far back as the ‘Wishmaster’, the set-list was about as eclectic as any present-day Nightwish concert could get. The band all looked like they had a wonderful time, and the audience certainly did. The teasing ‘none-event encore’ at the end finished the concert with a whimper instead of a bang, but there was no doubt that history had been witnessed in the making of this ever-changing and much-loved band. The question now is – what happens next?