Nightwish

support Tristania
author PP date 12/02/05 venue Astoria, London, UK

Astoria was once again completely sold out months before the gig. This time it was because of Nightwish's European Tour's stop at London. 2,000 goth metal fans had packed into the pit and onto the balcony. Nightwish couldn't have picked a better support band. The goths would have lynched a band from another genre. As most people at the gig were hardcore Nightwish fans, they also knew Tristania and gave them the respect they deserved.

Tristiania consisted of seven (!) members. Two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and three vocalists. The vocalists are cleverly divided into three categories: They have one operatic, Tarja-like female vocalist, one ordinary male vocalist, and one growler. At times, the growler would scare the crowd with his deep, dark growling voice coming out of his throat, as if he was to summon satan to the stage. This was a remarkable contrast to the high voice of their female operatic vocalist, who at times looked like as if she was a witch with her devilish dancing around the microphone and her astonishing body. She definitely won the beauty contest between the only two female artists tonight! Tristiania sounded a bit like Nightwish during the operatic parts, six feet under during growling, and Nevermore during the ordinary singing. Quite a weird combination, eh? These Norwegians are worth checking out.

Nightwish

The rest of the evening saw massive operatic anthems, slow ballads, four dress changes by Tarja, and a total of 17 songs by Nightwish. The opening song, "Dark Chest Of Wonders", got the crowd head banging together with the rhythm. That's perhaps the biggest difference between anthemic/melodic metal gigs and other gigs; there is barely any moshing. Classics like "The Kinslayer", "Bless The Child", "Wishmaster" and "Phantom Of The Opera" saw the crowd singing along eagerly (or rather trying to sing along. Which one of the goths would be a match for Tarja's operatic voice?) while less known songs like "Dead Gardens", "The Siren" and others from the new album merely saw the crowd headbanging.

Opera singing isn't exactly the easiest job for a vocalist, so the evening had two breaks for Tarja to rest her voice. The first break was effectively used by the guys of Nightwish to play a cover of "High Hopes" by Pink Floyd. It seemed as if only the eldest attendees knew the famous lines "The grass was greener, the light was brighter" or the ones who are really into classic rock, but that didn't matter. The crowd understood the break needed by Tarja and enjoyed different kind of music for that time. The second break was obviously the encore. No Pink Floyd here, only numerous shouts of "Night-wish, Night-wish!" by the crowd until they re-entered the stage. Once again, Tarja was in a different outfit. She had started the night with a long bright red jacket, which she opened during the second song, wearing a daring dark red/black top underneath. After going through a wine-red dress, a pinkish scarflike top, she was now in her daring top.

The last four songs after the encore weren't exactly the best ones to finish the gig off, even though "Wish I Had An Angel" got the crowd headbanging and jumping once again. Nightwish were missing that something special tonight. They didn't sound as confident and hypnotizing as on their records. But this is partly because Nightwish isn't a band to perform in as small, intimate venue as Astoria.

They are an arena band. Their music can be enjoyed to the fullest inside of a gigantic sports hall complex where their sound reaches new dimensions instead of just bouncing back from the back walls a dozen metres in front of them. Another thing Nightwish oversaw were the old classics. What happened to songs like "Astral Romance", "Sacrament of Wilderness", "She Is My Sin", "Wanderlust" and "Walking In The Air"? These are the songs the crowd came to see instead of the likes of "Sleeping Sun" and "Dead Gardens". That's not to say they are bad songs, but they just don't live up to the grandeour of the old classics!

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Setlist:

  • 1. Dark Chest Of Wonders
  • 2. Planet Hell
  • 3. Come Cover Me
  • 4. The Kinslayer
  • 5. The Siren
  • 6. Phantom Of The Opera
  • 7. Cover of Pink Floyd - High Hopes
  • 8. Bless The Child
  • 9. Wishmaster
  • 10. Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan
  • 11. Away
  • 12. Ghost Love Score
  • 13. Nemo
  • -----Encore-----
  • 14. Sleeping Sun
  • 15. Dead Gardens
  • 16. Creek Mary's Blood
  • 17. Wish I Had An Angel

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