Back when I started listening to NIGHTWISH during our midnight, underground Dungeons & Dragons and Warcraft 3 sessions back in high-school, I never could have imagined they would grow into an arena-headlining, world-known act or that they would grow into one of the most popular metal bands outside of the realms of the genre.
Even though many naysayers buried the band alive after splitting ways with Tarja Turunen, the singer that helped the band on their stellar rise to fame, Nightwish went on to release three more critically acclaimed albums and sell out numerous venues around the world. On their current tour aptly titled “Decades”, the band has set out to honor the past and the present, as well as celebrate the future of Nightwish through a set containing a lot of fan-favorite tracks but also rare gems nobody could hope to ever hear again.
A strong band like Nightwish deserves a strong support, and who better to open for the metal legends than BEAST IN BLACK, one of the hottest new metal bands that rose to incredible fame in less than a year. Having already seen them this year supporting Rhapsody on their farewell tour, I already knew that rise to fame was well-earned.
A great presence on stage, the biggest asset of the band is their stellar musicianship and the immaculate voice of their frontman Yannis Papadopoulos. Simply put, the band sounds better than in the studio – a feat much older band are still struggling to accomplish.
The band tore through a set of songs off of their first and only studio album “Berserker”, with fans welcoming tracks like “Blood of a Lion”, “Born Again” and, of course, “Blind And Frozen” from the top of their lungs, like they weren’t going to tear their lungs singing along with Nightwish just forty minutes later.
The thing that particularly caught my eye was how genuinely happy the band looked on stage, like a bunch of kids that finally got to visit Disneyland. Still, the band commanded the stage with confidence, running around and sparking the crowd’s interest.
Meanwhile, thousands of people filled the Papp László Sportaréna in anticipation of the headliners. And while some naysayers keep dismissing the band, claiming they are clinging to their old fame, the number of young metalheads in the audience is a testament to the fact that the interest in the band had only snowballed.
The ones who do hold the band’s first album close to their heart had a lot to look forward to, as the band focused heavily on the material from their first four albums, playing through classics like “10th Man Down”, “Elvenpath”, “Devil and the Deep Dark Ocean”, “The Kinslayer” and others.
In revisiting their past the band did not forget about their latest material as they played a few tracks off of their latest albums “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” and “Imaginaerum”, including the 20-minute epic “The Greatest Show on Earth” that took the audience on an epic journey spanning from the Big Bang to the present, culminating in the thousands of people shouting “We Were Here” together with the band.
And while the band’s music is enough to take you on an epic introspective journey, the band upped their game with powerful visuals that accompanied each song, adding an extra layer to the spectacular audio-visual experience. Add to that the pyros and the confetti, and you have a massive celebration of the history of the one of the hottest heavy metal bands today. The visual element of the concert did most of the heavy lifting and made the show firmly engraved in the minds of the audience.
Still, one thing more powerful than the massive caleidoscopes and fairytale-like landscapes on the massive video-beam was Floor Jansen. The singer fit in so well with the band, she makes you forget all about the previous women who fronted Nightwish. Her voice is spectacularly versatile, easily moving between semi-growling, mellow and operatic vocals. Her stage presence commands respect as she easily commands the crowd to shout, clap and jump, like a conductor of a massive orchestra.
Between a set-list containing some treasures the band had buried decades ago, powerful visuals and a band that genuinely enjoys themselves on stage, Nightwish created an experience quite unlike any other as far as heavy metal goes. As one of the most forward-thinking, creative bands this celebration of the past two decades only leaves you more intrigued about what the future will hold for Nightwish. Whatever it is, I’m confident it will be a bright one.