This is one of those nights I circled on my calendar. When Nightwish is coming to a town near me, I will be there. Nightwish is one of the pioneers of the European Symphonic Metal movement featuring iconic female singers over the years. Floor Jansen is the leading lady now and every time I see her perform with Nightwish she gets better and better. This night though was made truly special by the fact that it was a kind of a greatest hits night and cover a lot of older material. Not all the songs might have been the biggest hit from those older album, but it was so great to hear so many of those tracks.
The Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver B.C. was near capacity and can hold nearly 3,000 people. It features a very large stage and Nightwish has an incredible backdrop of video boards that were spectacular to accent the show with amazing video effects. There was a buzz in the crowd as soon as I walked in the door. The lines to get in stretched around the block and then some. I just knew this was going to be a special night.
As we neared 8:30 a count down clock appeared on the big screen and counted down the last minute before the show began. Troy Donockley was on stage to get the night started with his soothing offerings. The rest of the band joined him quickly and they exploded into End of All Hope followed by Wish I Had an Angel where Marco Hietala joined Jansen on vocals and sounded great. Tuomas Holopainen on keyboards who is responsible for so much of the symphonic sound that makes Nightwish so special looked like he was having the time of his life. The smiles on his face and his whole-body language let you know how much he was enjoying himself.
One of the things that made this night so different, was hearing so many old songs. Nine of the 19 song set were from their first three albums, “Angels Fall First”, “Oceanborn” and “Wishmaster”. Those albums were release in 1997, 1998 and 2000. Almost half the set from albums that have been out for 18 years or more! Some of the songs from those albums we had the pleasure of hearing were The Carpenter, Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean, Sacrament of Wilderness, The Kinslayer and Dead Boy’s Poem just to name a few. It was so amazing to hear these songs, some of them for the very first time for me. The crowd response was great to see to material from so long ago.
Not to be out done by just the old material though we still had some of the great Nightwish classics from the newer era of the band, though some of these songs have been around a while. We got to hear the likes of Nemo, Elan, I Want My Tears Back and Slaying the Dreamer. The mix was just perfect throughout the whole night. The incredible visuals behind the band on the enormous video screens were just spectacular. One song I really want to highlight was Elvenpath. Fans voted that song into the set list and I must admit it is one of my favorites. Jansen just crushed it on vocals and it sounded amazing. I soaked in every second of that song, as it was so great to hear live.
The band sounded great all night and everyone there seemed to be having a fantastic time. With such a different setlist then we are used to, it was fun to see the crowds reactions to all the songs from the different eras of the band and how much they appreciated hearing these songs live. Unfortunately, with all shows it had to come to an end. Nightwish closed out with The Greatest Show on Earth and Ghost Love Score. For The Greatest Show on Earth they played the first three chapters and it definitely felt like it went at least 15 minutes. The videos they had playing on the screens with the song made it so powerful. The whole spectacle just blew me away during this song. Then to end with Slaying the Dreamer that was so perfectly executed. Once again Jansen was in perfect throat for this song and did a spectacular version of it. The song was so good it gave me goose bumps.
I commend Nightwish for putting a show on like this and not just making it a greatest hits tour. They made it so much more by mixing in hits along with older material and some songs that were not necessarily singles, but still great songs. If you are a Nightwish fan at all or a fan of symphonic metal, this show is a must see. If you only see a couple of concerts a year, this should be one of them! I can’t stress enough how incredible this evening was. I have seen Nightwish quite a few times over the years, but this show will be one I will talk about for years to come.
Review by Eric Pefley