Nightwish 10.5.12 Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA

Anaheim is home to the happiest place on earth, but on October 5th, 2012, that place wasn’t Disneyland, it was the Grove of Anaheim. While there were no churros or Mickey Mouse ears here, there were other elements that make Disneyland so entertaining: trills and storytelling, and both came in the form of a band called Nightwish.

The lines are filled with die hard Nightwish fans coming in from Colorado, Mexico, and other parts of the world in anticipation of this show. One could feel the excitement several hours before the doors open, with chatter of their favorite songs, but mostly about the current replacement of the bands lead singer. As of Monday, Nightwish and their lead singer, Anette Olzon, have parted ways with each other. The band quickly announced a replacement for the current tour, and that replacement was Floor Jansen. YouTube videos of Floor Jansen and Nightwish came around and quickly sparked the interest of seeing a singer with the vocal range of their original singer, Tarja Turunen. Many have not had the chance to see Tarja perform, but this was as close to the original line up as some will ever get.

The doors opened up later than expected, which made everyone even more anxious to get a great spot near the stage. Merchandise was quickly selling out within minutes, even concert posters with the former singer were selling very well. Once it was time for the band to hit the stage, the lights went dark, and the journey with a new female singer was about to begin. Once the intro of “Roll Tide” by Hans Zimmer finished playing, the band quickly went into “Storytime,” which was fitting as everyone in attendance were getting themselves into a new story not many have yet to witness.

Floor Jansen’s vocals are what this band needed since they parted ways with Tarja Turunen. Not that there’s anything wrong with Anette Olzon’s vocals, but her ability and range compared to Floor’s is on two entirely different levels. Floor not only sings beautifully, but she also has a presence in the way she sings the songs. She tells the story of the songs with her hands, making gestures with many of the lyrics and making facial expressions, making her performance much more enjoyable. In between her vocal responsibilities, she would head bang, dance, interact with the band, and most importantly, interact with the fans. All this was going on while the band were performing and enjoying themselves as if it was a group of friends jamming and not working another night.

Nightwish didn’t miss a single note or lyric as they performed in an incredibly loud venue. It almost sounded like an arena show with the band playing and the crowd singing, clapping, and even “bag pipe circle dancing.” Several members of the pit would dance in a circle during “Last of the Wilds,” a song with a very catchy bag pipe melody. While the crowd and band were all having a good time, the show had to come to an end after a 14 song set that included an acoustic set. The final song that the band played was “Last Ride of the Day,” a perfect ending to a perfect band performance. Nightwish ended their set and bowed while “Imaginaerum” was playing in the background. The crowd would cheer and clap loudly to show their appreciation of what the band had just done. The clapping and cheering didn’t stop, this crowd was hungry for more and chanting “one more song.” That chant faded as the house lights turned on and the security started asking everyone to leave.

This band has gone in a completely different direction after the departure of Anette Olzon, and if Floor Jansen stays with this band, that direction will take them further than they could have ever imagined. The fans instantly fell in love with her and her chemistry with the band and with her ability as a true singer, she will no doubt make a great addition to the Nightwish family. Floor Jansen isn’t the lead singer of Nightwish, but she should be after her performance at the Grove of Anaheim.

Review by: Alex Lucero