Nightwish - End Of Dark Passion Play Tour
|Event:||Nightwish + Apocalyptica|
This is going to be a very special article of a very special musical event and one of the most special ones I have ever written. Being accompanied by a glass of fine Finnish cloudberry spirits and, without any doubt, the evergreen classical music of the Finnish group I am going to write this article about.
When I heard Nightwish was going to hold a grand homecoming concert at Hartwall Arena, the last gig and closure of the long and hard Dark Passion Play tour, I was sure I had to be there. As expected, the hall was sold out and all the 11 000 spectators had come to witness the band perform at a gig that was supposed and promised to be the largest and best they have ever done. There were people from Helsinki, from all corners of Finland and, of course, foreigners from all corners of the world, all of whom had arrived to Helsinki for that Saturday evening. People from all ages, grandmothers and small children, all had arrived to attend the homecoming of their national heroes, a title Nightwish has righteously earned.
The warm-up part of the concert was taken care of by Apocalyptica, the Finnish infamous cellist trio who never spare their instruments and that was true. I had never seen them live before nor been a big listener of their work. Nevertheless, the band members' craftmanship is undoubtedly brilliant and they have a very original and impressive stage presence. There is also an Estonian band called C-Jam who have so far performed cello covers of famous songs such as Alice Cooper's "Poison". However, during this concert Apocalyptica remained a bit far away from thrilling me because of two reasons, me waiting for Nightwish and, secondly, their set having too much expressionism in it. There were a bit too many moments of bland rough sawing instead of the powerful deep smoothness of the sound of the instrument. I would have loved to hear "Faraway", the first song I heard from them, a really enchanting track but unfortunately they did not play it that evening. However, they had several songs performed with a Finnish singer who did a very fine job. Unfortunately I didn't catch the singer's name but the songs they played were good. It is for sure, their ability to conjure all kinds of possible and impossible sounds out from the cellos and their charisma that make them loved by people.
After Apocalyptica had said good-bye, the longest minutes of the lives of many of those among the audience started. Everyone was waiting for Nightwish to finally ascend the stage. The entire hall was filled with people (but luckily there was no pushing nor violent moshpitting during the entire show) and so were the balconies.
Then it happened, Tuomas with his cat-in-the-hat style outfit and smile was already in the boat, playing beautiful music and Troy Donockley with his bagpipe was playing the heartbreakingly beautiful introduction "Finlandia". I had heard it before but had never actually noticed how powerful and beautiful it was in reality. The passion in the music grew and expanded and overwhelmed everyone in the hall until it bursted out as "Seven Days To The Wolves". The band had not spared anything nor anyone for they had brought with them an absolutely massive arsenal of flamethrowers, pyrotechnics and other special effect devices. With the first notes of "Seven Days To The Wolves" large flames bursting into the air heated up everything around the front rows. And this was just the beginning.
Anette and Marco let their voices blend in such a mellow and ripe manner that this kind of sound had not been heard before. Maybe this was the acoustics of the Hartwall hall, or perhaps it was because of the work they had done or simply because of the special feeling that surrounded everything that took place on the Hartwall stage that night. It was magical to see the band members playing, seems there has not been a smile that wide on Tuomas' face ever before and the way every musician was performing was most admirable. Jukka Nevalainen shone with his drumming abilities (described by a fellow fan "This man is so laid-back in life but a beast behind the drum-kit"), Emppu and Marco were chasing each other all around the stage and Anette catching up with them and playing along.
All the songs of this concert were performed wonderfully. But the first and truly unexpected highlight arrived when Marco introduced the live violinist Pekka Kuusisto and started to play "The Siren". This song has never been performed live that well as that night. Even the so-far best version of the song from "End Of An Era" remains in the shade of this new interpretation. The violinist gave so much colour to the music, playing with such a passion the strands of the bow broke when hitting the strings. Anette and Marco performed a wonderful duet and the vocal and musical sides merged into a most dark and haunting song ever played by Nightwish on stage.
The second true highlight of the show arrived in the form of the most beautiful surprise present ever done by the band to their fans. They played "Walking In The Air". Anette's voice had never been heard sounding so sweet and peaceful before. Snow started to fall from the ceiling and the mobile phones and lighters of everyone among the audience shone as Galadriel's phials forming a starry sky, a true sea of light.
Other wondrous songs of the show were "Meadows Of Heaven" and the greatest masterpiece among all songs of Nightwish, "Ghost Love Score". I had expected to hear the beautiful song "Dead Boy's Poem" but with all the beauty in it the overall performance and setlist was a dream-come-true nevertheless. In the end the band expressed their gratitude to all of the fans who have been following them through happy and hard times and stayed with them. The tour had reached the end and Anette wished for an angel for the 194th time, the number of gigs the band has had during this strenuous tour that started in September 2007 in Tallinn.
This concert was the most powerful performance the band has ever had. I have seen the band live twice and neither of these times has been as "larger-than-life" than this one. Almost every song had either fire or other "nature" effects, for instance Anette performing "Meadows Of Heaven" from behind a curtain of rainfall, the snow of "Walking In The Air" and all kinds of fireworks exploding and sparkling everywhere, even mid-air above the audience. It was amazing how they had done this. Somewhat like Gandalf's fireworks on Bilbo's birthday. The music was performed with passion and force that had never been seen before. Anette sang with a juicy, sweet and crystal clear voice. There was not a single rough note or sound in her singing. She was simply brilliant.
This was Nightwish at their best, at their highest point in their story. This "End Of DPP Tour" concert that moved the fans so deeply will always be remembered just like the legendary "End Of An Era". The band gave everything they had to make this performance their best one ever and they succeeded. If they released a DVD footage of this event, it would be the most beautiful gift they can make to their fans.
Thus Nightwish came for the final bow and farewell, this time with seven members, Tuomas, Emppu, Jukka, Marco, Anette and their live musicians Troy and Pekka who had helped to contribute to one of the most memorable gigs of all music history. Nightwish has offered us so much beautiful. Lets wish them lots of angels in every day and the hopes will always be high to hear good news about them in the future.
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