Let’s have a quick look at the lineup:
- Keyboardist and songwriter: Tuomas Holopainen (Finnish, age 38) Nightwish’s original founder and leader.
- Bass guitarist, composer and singer: Marco Hietala (Finnish, age 49) since 2001.
- Guitarist: Emppu Vuorinen (Finnish, age 37)
- Singer: Floor Jansen (Dutch, age 34) Nightwish’s third and current singer since 2013.
- Pipes and flutes: Troy Bonockley (English, age 51) Composer and multi-instrumentalist since 2013.
- Drummer: Kai Hahto (Finnish, age 41) Currently filling in for Jukka Nevalainen who was forced to take a break from the band due to health issues last year.
SSE Arena is a big old place that easily fits 1200 people and the venue was sold out. Unsurprising, really, as this was a one off UK concert you’d be wise to nab a ticket when you can. Nightwish are now the first Finnish band in history to sell outWembley Arena!
The show was kicked off by Amorphis and Arch Enemy, a fact that I wasn’t actually aware of until we arrived. I was pretty thrilled to see Swedish metallers Arch Enemy for the first time, so that was an extra treat, they were amazing! Amorphis are a band I hadn’t heard of, they’re also Finnish, and I’m fast becoming a fan of them, too!
You could taste the anticipation in the air by the time the lights dimmed and Nightwish finally exploded on stage! The certainly made us wait but it was so worth it. For this was no ordinary performance. This was a incredible, firework packed extravaganza complete with beautiful backdrops of snow, fire, swinging pendulums, Finnish forest scenery, and galloping wild horses galore. Every track was perfectly synchronized with a different backdrop behind the band, it’s incredible how much attention and thought clearly went into the making of this show.
I’d known it would be incredible because everything Nightwish does is of the very highest standard, but this was beyond my wildest dreams. Floor Jansen is a credit to the band, she has the most amazing powerful vocals and an energy that is mind boggling. What a woman! Newbie Troy Bonockley (who I think looks a bit like Bill Bailey, to be quite honest!) was a master with the flutes and pipe, and I think he was just as pleased as the audience to be there as he addressed the crowds. Kai Hahto did a brilliant job on the drums, even though Jukka is still very missed and I hope I get a chance to see him play live, too, at some point. Tuomas, Marco and Emppu, the “Originals”, well, I can’t fault them. Absolutely impeccable in every way. Marco’s voice live is just mind-blowing, what an incredible talent.
The only, teensy tiny thing that disappointed me a fraction was the fact that they didn’t play a lot of the old songs. The new material is fantastic, but I like a bit of nostalgia now and again, too. Luckily, though, they did include Ghost Love Score and Ever Dream. They even played Nemo, which was a little strange but very beautiful. I guess I’m so used to hearing Tarja sing it (who I still love dearly and will forever be loyal to), but Floor sang it beautifully and I was a very happy bunny!
Now, you know what the cherry on top of the cherry on top of the layers and layers of cream on the cake was? Nightwish finished the show with The Greatest Show On Earth. And it really was. Because this was a work of art complete entertainment and a message. The Greatest Show On Earth is about the destruction of Mother Earth, how humans are supposed to be the caretakers of the Earth and all it’s wonderous creatures. The song started off with beautiful backdrops of sea creatures, a turtle, jellyfish, and different clips of wildlife. The song lulls you into a false sense of security, it’s moving on at a pleasant pace, and then BOOM, it’s a frenzy of flashing lights, guitar riffs, the backdrop changes to catastrophes, fires, all the terrible things happening in the world, the destruction to nature and its creatures. And most incredibly, that night Nightwish gave all those animals a voice too. At the end of the track, you hear the voices of all the different animals in full cry. It’s one of the most moving experiences I have ever had and I have even more respect and love for the band than I did before. Not everyone bothers to use their fame to good advantage, but this was a message, loud and clear, and eloquently put, too.
An extra little nugget of goodness here is that Nightwish recorded this show so, whether it’ll be on DVD or CD, I don’t know yet, but I was there and I was part of the history!
Needless to say, I had an absolutely smashing time and it really was the Greatest Show On Earth! Nightwish really are Finland’s finest and I can’t wait to see them again!
- Shudder Before the Beautiful
- Yours Is An Empty Hope
- Ever Dream
- My Walden
- While Your Lips Are Still Red
- Weak Fantasy
- 7 Days To The Wolves
- The Poet And The Pendulum
- I Want My Tears Back
- Ghost Love Score
- Last Ride Of The Day
- The Greatest Show On Earth