It’s now Movember (a.k.a. Musical November), which means — showtime!
And today’s report is about the Finnish symphonic metal legend Nightwish.
The lads were rocking the scene on the 19th and 20th of November at the Heineken Music Hall, in Amsterdam. They were supported by a couple of other big names: Amorphis and Arch Enemy.
So let’s start off.
As usual, one has to stand a long line before the show. We’ve arrived about an hour before the door opening, or two hours before the start of the gig, just to find a huge crowd of some five hundred fans, who must have stood there since the morning. And it took us quite a bit of patience.
In the meantime, the line behind us was growing fast.
The weather was typical for Holland in November: cold, damp, with an occasional drizzle. And next to that, the security was tightened because of the recent Paris explosions. People were not allowed to take big bags or backpacks inside, and everyone was searched at the entrance. Strangely enough, it was done exclusively by male staff, disregarding the gender of the visitor. Looks like the security company is
being sexist facing a shortage of female workers.
Most of the spectators rushed to the stage as soon as they got in, which is fair enough since you don’t spend hours standing in line for nothing. But since the Heineken Music Hall is a big venue, we managed to land somewhere in the third row.
The first band Amorphis were from Finland, and being active since 1990, it’s older than the headliners. Genre: Progressive/Melodic Death Metal.
The vocalist Tomi Joutsen is fronting the band since 2005. Remarkable for his tattoos and a fancy microphone with an advanced hand grip system (suitable for a three-hander).
A good grip is apparently important to keep the mike stable under Tomi’s powerful vocal. The same goes for the gloves, I’m using them too when lifting weights.
The keyboardist Santeri Kallio is hiding somewhere at the back (I didn’t even spot him for a while), and further to the right you can see one of the founders of the band the lead guitarist Esa Holopainen:
Niclas Etelävuori on the bass and the drummer Jan Rechberger:
On the left there’s another veteran, Tomi Koivusaari, playing the rhythm guitar since the band’s first day:
Below is a video of Sacrifice:
The Swedish death metal band Arch Enemy are known much better than Amorphis. They are also much heavier and fancier-looking.
Its most prominent feature is undoubtedly the blue-haired Canadian vocalist Alissa White-Gluz.
So this sweet little girl appears on the stage and then begins this:
The purpose of the blue hair is, naturally, that:
This officially Swedish band consists of a Canadian vocalist (who loves to march with an Arch Enemy flag around the stage) and a couple of American guitarists Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis:
And only two Swedes: Sharlee D'Angelo on the bass and the drummer Daniel Erlandsson.
Don’t know why, but Amott is always looking like he’s either high or about to faint. Or both.
Alissa White-Gluz, apart from her hair colour and vocal, is remarkable for her love for the F-word (and its derivatives), which in her speech is about every other word.
The program was about fifty minutes long, with a traditional bow and a selfie with the audience in the end.
Another tradition, that involves throwing picks and drumsticks into the crowd, came as a surprise to the author of these lines. While I was diverted by something else, a drumstick launched by Mr. Erlandsson has landed on my head. I’ve been lucky to stay unhurt and have grabbed the heavily splintered piece of wood:
Right after Arch Enemy’s departure the curtain was lowered, and the preparations for Nightwish’s performance began. Nineteen years on, the Finnish band is massively popular worldwide, and their name is nowadays a synonym for ‘symphonic metal legend’. The hall was absolutely packed.
Wall displays were warning the audience about the ‘use of pyrotechnics and concussions’ during the show, but no one seemed to have paid attention. So the explosion that opened the show came as a big surprise for everyone.
The Dutch vocalist Floor Jansen is with the band since 2013. I should have seen here four years ago with Pagan’s Mind, but she didn’t show up then:
The founders of the band: the keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen and the funny looking guitarist Emppu Vuorinen:
The bassist Marco Hietala is also a singer. With his fishtail beard he looks a lot like a dwarf from a tale. He also loves face-pulling:
He also plays a doubleneck guitar sometimes.
The stage’s entourage makes clear the magnitude of the band’s popularity. Synth and mike stands look like fantasy sculptures or branches of a tree:
By the way, the stand above is very practical in the sense it’s equipped with a wine bottle holder. Sir Tuomas would take a sip from that bottle every now and then, hiding behind the stand. Either to relieve the stress or for the inspiration, I guess.
Besides sculptures, the band had a huge screen as a backdrop:
Floor, who’s some six+ feet tall, is highly prominent on-stage. They look funny side-by-side with Emppu, who is only 1.65 meters:
The oldest member of the band, the British Troy Donockley (51), prefers to keep low profile. In his 35 year career he has played with a huge number of bands and musicians (including Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon):
He’s best known for his playing of Uilleann pipes, which connects amazingly beautiful to the sound of Nightwish.
For instance, here’s I Want My Tears Back featuring his solo:
And, last but not least, the drummer Kai Hahto—I was really impressed by his performance:
The most impressive part was, of course, the fire-show. A lot of flamethrowers were producing streams of fire with the music.
At the place where we stood we could feel the heat produced by these flames:
There were also flamethrowers at the back of the stage. The firestreams they created were sometimes about thirty feet long:
Furthermore, there were also firework machines occasionally spitting out firecrackers.
At a certain moment the flames at the back turned red.
And at the very end there fell black and white confetti from above. It was collected from our clothes by other spectators.
All in all, the effects were great.
The closing piece was The Greatest Show On Earth (which is about 24 minutes long). The audience was ecstatic…
I’ve recorded its first part:
More photos of Nightwish:
It was the first “home performance” with Nightwish for Floor, by the way.
The show was definitely a success. And perhaps the most impressive of all I’ve seen up to now!
All my videos of the concert are listed at the event page. ■