Nightwish Gives Anaheim The Greatest Show On Earth

March 12, 2016
Grove of Anaheim- Anaheim, CA

      Nightwish is a symphonic metal band from Finland. On March 31, 2015 they released their eighth studio album titled Endless Forms Most Beautiful. The album is the first to feature their newest vocalist Floor Jansen and Troy Donockley whom handles the pipes, whistles, and some backing vocals. With selling more than 8 million records and receiving more than 60 gold and platinum awards, having released five number 1 albums, and thirteen number 1 singles, they are Finland’s most successful band worldwide. Nightwish announced a US across the country tour, and they didn’t come alone. With them, they brought fellow Fins and power metal band Sonata Arctica and the Dutch symphonic metal band, Delain. One of the stops made was at the Grove in Anaheim, California. Fans were so stoked for this show that it sold out ahead of time! This was set to be a night remembered for months to come.

Delain have been making a huge impact for themselves for the past few years as they’ve been touring North and South American regularly. They supported Nightwish on their USA tour last year and were brought back to support once again. They released their fourth album titled The Human Contradiction on April 8, 2014 and their first EP titled Lunar Prelude on February 19, 2016. Delain came out to an already packed venue and started the show with Suckerpunch, the first track from their EP. A lot of fans could be seen sporting Delain merch so there were clearly a lot of fans in the audience and for lots more, it was their first time seeing them. The second song played was Get the Devil Out of Me from their third album, We Are the Others. Singer Charlotte Wessels has a beautiful voice live and you can see the passion in her singing when watching her perform. All the members of the band show passion when playing and there’s no doubt they love performing for fans whether old fans or new fans. Other songs played were Army of Dolls, Mother Machine, and We Are the Others. Wessels let the crowd know that they do have a new EP out and proceeded to play Turn the Lights Out from it. Wessels next told the audience that for this next song, they would require a bit nightwishsc-16of participation and had the crowd clap, jump, sing along, or even pretend to sing along. Didn’t matter as long as they got up and moved. The song that was played was Don’t Let Go. Delain finished up the show with Not Enough and got a standing ovation from the audience as they finished. The fans clearly wanted more, but couldn’t happen tonight. Maybe it’s time for Delain to come to the USA with their own headlining tour real soon.

Sonata Arctica are a veteran power metal band with a huge fan base of their own and are one of Finland’s best known bands. Many fans of theirs could be seen in the audience. Sonata Arctica came out and were greeted by their fans as they started the show with The Wolves Die Young from their newest album, Pariah’s Child. Frontman Tony Kakko has one of the most recognized voices in the power metal community, ranging from clean singing to his high-pitch singing. Kakko asked the crowd if anyone knows where Finland is then asked how many people had been there. He introduced the song My Land from their debut album, Ecliptica. Full Moon came next and is one of the band’s best songs. Fans could be heard singing along, “Run away, run, away, run away!”. Kakko next asked the audience that for this next song, to dance with their significant other or friend. Last Drop Falls was next and has a nice slow pace to it almost like a ballad. Kakko, while singing, signaled the fans to wave their arms in the air from the left to the right and vice versa. Because who doesn’t love a good ballad about infidelity. Sonata Arctica continued the show with I Have A Right and The Cage. Kakko spoke to the crowd and thanked them for coming out, buying tickets, merch, and for supporting real music played live. Sonata Arctica finished the show with their hit, Don’t Say A Word. Many fans were happy to see them, yet disappointed that they got such a short time slot. Hopefully soon the band will return on their own headlining tour for a full experience! The show was barely getting underway as the stage was getting set for the Finnish legends, Nightwish!

As time drew near for Nightwish to come out, fans grew anxious as they cheered for the band and yelled out the band’s name. The lights went out and a fully packed venue went from quiet to real loud as the intro song started. The band made their way to the stage as the intro line to Shudder Before the Beautiful played (spoken by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins), “A deepest solace lies in understanding, this ancient unseen stream, a shudder before the beautiful”. The members of the band make their way to the stage and begin the song as Floor Jansen makes her way to the stage and begins singing the song. Drummer Jukka Nevalainen was still sitting out this tour due to dealing with insomnia, so just like last year’s tour, Kai Hahto from Finnish melodic death metal band Wintersun was stepping in for drum duties. The band received nothing but love from the fans as soon as they stepped on stage. Yours Is An Empty Hope is another new song and was well-received by fans. She Is My Sin was the next song and is an older song from the band’s older days when they had their original singer Tarja Turunen whom sang with an opera-like voice. So how did Jansen fare on a Turunen song? She was fantastic! For now, Jansen is as close as fans will get to listening to Turunen songs sung the right way. One of the members that stood out was Nightwish maestro, mastermind, and keyboardist, Tuomas Holopainen. With the facial expressions he made, you could tell he didn’t just play his music, he felt his music. It just shows he loves doing what he does. Jansen asked the fans if they liked stories and when the crowd cheered, Jansen said that it’s time for a little Storytime. Fans cheered as this one of one the best songs from the band’s previous Imaginaerum album. My Walden helped keep the pace of new songs going. Next played was one of Nightwish‘s most interesting songs. It was called While Your Lips Are Still Red. It’s interesting because it was written by Holopainen and bassist Marco Hietala, but is not an official Nightwish song. This song features keyboards by Holopainen, bass guitar/vocals by Hietala, and drums by Hahto live. The song has no female vocals or guitar to it so when it was played live, Jansen merely did a bit of backing vocals, but still let nightwishsc-58Hietala handle the vocals and makes for a nice ballad.

Nightwish went ahead and played Élan, the first single from the new album and fans could be heard singing along to it as it is an easy and fun song to sing along to. Weak Fantasy would be the last song played from the new album for now and has a rockin’ feel to it where fans would jump to the music. With songs from the new album out of the way, Nightwish now focused on their classic songs that made them famous worldwide. Even better now that Jansen could sing older songs to an opera-like style. Bless the Child is sung in such a style where Jansen utilized her wide range of vocals and beautifully performed the song almost as if she was a duplicate of Turunen. Jansen would further utilize her vocal skills as the band played I Want My Tears Back from their previous Imaginaerum album. This song was originally sung by their previous singer Anette Olzon whom had a more pop sound to her voice. Jansen sang the song just fine and since the song has an Irish feel to it with Donockley on the uillean pipes, fans could be seen jumping and dancing to the song as well as singing along as it is one of their best songs to date. Nightwish saved their most popular song for down the road on their setlist and that song was Nemo, their most successful single to date from their album Once which is the band’s most successful album to date. Every Nightwish fan knows this song and could be seen singing along to most, if not all the lyrics. Jansen did an amazing job with this song. Sahara was next and is a song not played too often so it was nice to see it added on their setlist after so long. Stargazers was another song that the band hadn’t played since 2005 due to Turunen’s departure and since last year had re-added the song to their live set since Jansen is more than capable of singing the song. The show was coming close to an end and now Nightwish was getting ready to close out the show by giving fans more of their best work. Nightwish played Ghost Love Score, a 10-minute symphonic metal masterpiece that is even more amazing live than it is listening to it from the album. You can hear and feel the musicianship from all the members. Halfway through the song is when there are no instruments played and only as orchestra singing is all that could be heard. That’s when the band members leave the stage for a bit for a quick break. The band members come back on stage and continue the song while Jansen kept using her opera-like voice and make the song even more amazing. The best part of the song is when there’s a little segment that sounds like something out of one of the old Disney animated movies. The song is truly something you have to hear to appreciate the genius behind it. The second-to-last song played was Last Ride of the Day and usually serves as a show closer, but not anymore. Nightwish played it near the end since the song feels like the closing of one of their albums so it suits how it ended up on their setlist. Fans loved singing along to the chorus and you can see the look on fans’ faces that they were having the time of their life. The show was now coming to an end and Nightwish chose to end the show with the 24-minute finale to their new album, The Greatest Show on Earth. The song is split into five parts so only the main parts where instruments are played and Jansen sings were played for the song which were Chapter II: Life and Chapter III: The Toolmaker. The entire song itself is one of the band’s biggest achievements and their longest song to date. Throughout the song, Richard Dawkins lends his voice and narrates verses from naturalist Charles Darwin’s 1859 highly influential book, On the Origin of Species. The song was executed beautifully live and was the perfect way to end what was for sure one of the best nights on the tour for the band. The song ended and Chapter IV: The Understanding and Chapter V: Sea-Worn Driftwood played in the background as the members of Nightwish all came together to bow to the crowd and by the looks and smiles on the band member’s faces, you could tell they were overwhelmed by the response they had received all night from the fans. They were extremely happy to perform for their fans on this night. The band left the stage as the final Darwin quote voiced by Dawkins played over the speaker serving as the perfect ending: “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” – Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species.

Review by: Misael Ruiz


Sonata Arctica