In the last 20 years, the Finnish symphonic metal band has produced 8 studio albums and toured around the world multiple times. In 2013, Nightwish brought the Imaginaerium tour to Australia and I had the good fortune to see it. To this day, they remain one of my favourite live acts. This is really saying something as they lost vocalist Annette Olzon in between booking the tour and actually making it here. Annette features on both Dark Passion Play (2007) and Imaginaerium (2011), the albums that first got me into the band, so I was understandably nervous about her replacement, Floor Jansen. This was a waste of nerves though. Needless to say, Nightwish had a lot to live up to after 3 years of waiting for them to return.
First things first, Teberah – a Tasmanian heavy metal quartet – opened to an already crowded Enmore theatre. They rocked a dialled back version of 80s Guns N Roses aesthetic, offering some suitably loud music and a lot of enthusiasm to rile up the audience for Nightwish.
The headlining set began with the customary recording of Hans Zimmer’s Roll Tide, to which the band entered one by one. They immediately launched into an animated Shudder Before the Beautiful, the opening track to tour album Endless Forms Most Beautiful. From the first note they were impeccable, even with Kai Hahto drumming in Jukka’s place. With Marco Hietala and Emppu Vuorinen continually crossing to Tuomas Holopainen’s side and Floor’s power poses to bolster her already remarkable vocals, there was always something happening on stage, even if it was just Kai an blur behind the impressive drumkit. Tuomas by comparison, would hunch over the keys with his eyes shut and shoulders tensed, like he was just a conduit for the music to flow through.
Two thirds of their show was an even spread across 15 years worth of tracks, particular “golden oldies” include: She Is My Sin, Ever Dream, crowd favourite Nemo, and Ghost Love Score for their instrumental track. The inclusion of While Your Lips Are Still Red was an interesting choice. The song is not officially associated with Nightwish as it was written by Tuomas Holopainen and Marco Hietala for the Finnish film Lieksa! Towards the end of the track, Floor lent her voice to support Marco. 6 tracks from the tour album featured, most notably the 2nd and 3rd chapters from The Greatest Show on Earth, the band’s longest song to-date at almost 24 minutes.
It was such a pleasure to see them come back and perform something they’d all worked on together in a studio as well as on tour, as opposed to only tracks from previous incarnations of the band. Floor and Troy Donockley have carved out a place for themselves both in the hearts of their bandmates and in the fans they perform for.
Shudder Before the Beautiful
Yours Is an Empty Hope
She Is My Sin
While Your Lips Are Still Red
7 Days to the Wolves
I Want My Tears Back
Ghost Love Score
Last Ride of the Day
The Greatest Show on Earth