Friday Sept. 21 the Finnish symphonic power house known as Nightwish visited Newport Music Hall and from the mile long lines it looked like the whole city knew about it. To ever question their drawing power on these Yankee shores would be a grave underestimation of their style and reputation. Maybe it’s the mystery and mystique of singer Anette Olzen that brought out curiosity seekers. Long time diehard’s may have wanted to compare/size her up to former, long time operatic lunged, founding member/singer Tarja Turunen. Fans can rest assured that though they are a worlds difference apart in style, Olzen’s own unique voice holds weight backing up the classics as well as her own songs. It was a night of majestic story telling by both bands.
Tampa’s power metal conceptual kings Kamelot opened the show walking out to an absolute frenzy of screaming/shrieking voices. Although three members are American and one German, thanks to their new singer Tommy Karevik they were welcomed as Swedish royalty. A night of eternal/infernal majesty was to be had by all. They played choice cuts from several story line records turning Newport into a medieval ballroom fit for a mad hatters masquerade party. They “Rule the World” with the first note starting with a double deceased dose of Ghost Opera with Euro-siren Amanda Somerville standing tall above. Karevik took the crowd in hand, a black and leather clad “Maestro” who from a fine ladies POV is ‘smokin’ hot, made full use of the stage furniture. We then went to “The Center of the Universe” and returned to the opera and learn the value of life on earth as “The Human Stain.” He did a manual crowd sound check and “When the Lights Are Down” the eternal darkness and illusion of Mephisto awaits in the “Dark Halo.” It was time to celebrate this years new CD Silverthorn with “Sacrimony,” their third concept album, with deep lavender locked guest vocalist Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist screeching out the voice of 19th Century main character Jolee and Elize Ryd providing the clean soothing delivery. Be careful what you do in this life because “Forever’s” a long time to deal with “Karma.” Gluz reappeared stepping into Shagrath’s dastardly evil boots and leaves us with the conniving “March of Mephisto.”
Formed in 1996, Nightwish were one of the first operatic style metal bands to use a female lead singer. Earning a steadfast/loyal home country following they achieved worldwide success in the late 80s/early 90s when 2004′s Once brought them their biggest US single “Wish I Had an Angel.” In 2005 Tarja was dismissed by open band letter for reasons heavily disputed. A long search commenced searching for a new perfect voice. Over 2000 demos later they decided on Alyson Avenue singer Olzen. The band released two singles “Eva” and “Amaranth,” to satisfy/wet fans appetite/curiosity accompanied by videos for Amaranth and another track “The Islander.” Their sixth record 2007′s Dark Passion Play was released. This tour brings us the new conceptual juggernaut Imaginaerum who’s narrative tells us about an aging composer on his deathbed taking a trip back to his youth. A same titled movie version with similar story and themes is being made by The Islander director Stobe Harju.
They played a nice long theatrical showcase of crowd favorites, choice cuts from Dark Passion Play and a few new stories from Imaginaerum to captivate the mind and please the ear. The lights went out over the full moon, casting illumination over the old man’s childhood dream-scape. The bagpipes played as the crowd unleashed a deafening roar, its night wish of incredible symphonic metal story telling mastery and macabre answered. It was indeed “Storytime,” a lyrical and visual journey back in time to “Never Never Land” inside a childlike dream imperium. The first of Tarja’s tunes “Wish I Had an Angel” was greeted with great applause and enthusiasm for anyone ear judging. Olzen cranked out her introduction to fans on “Amaranth.” Then delivered the nights next bedtime “Scaretale” with its icy witches cackle and vocal taunts, filled with fiendish monstrosities and creepy crawly nightmare creatures reaching out with a crooked old vultures hand inviting the kids into the dark carnival with a tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Lyrically it’s been called Nightwish’s ‘Enter Sandman.’ Speaking of creatures of the night we returned to Dark Passion Play for “7 Days to the Wolves.” We crossed time and space to a 1930s era jazz club on the Twin Peaks side of town for a “Slow Love Slow” and sexy sit down sing along.
Guest instrumentalist Troy Donockley came out to play the pipes on the next five tunes. For every fan that’s been seduced,smitten or fallen for Olzen’s voice they all say the same thing. “I WANT MY TEARS BACK!” The slower animalistic ballad “The Crow The Owl and The Dove” flew over the Imaginaerum, then we sat/stood around the fire as “The Islander” told us an old man’s salty sea’s story bathed in the tranquil glow of cell phones and a few Bic flames.The crowd wished for soothing rain and to dream again and thus “Nemo” came. Olzen got a break on “Last of the Wilds” while the flute held its own against three guitars, drums and a keyboard. The final act began as we took a trip ‘Once’ to the burning world of our dark mistress to worship on “Planet Hell” taking an escape flight down the deadly “Ghostriver” but while there we were tempted to open a “Dark Chest of Wonders” with really weird things in it. From there they took us “Over the Hills and Far Away,” skipping over prison we took a second to last ride with Walt Whitman singing a long written “Song of Myself” hitting with an ending sledge hammer with bells bombast. Then with the midnight hour approaching, dark clouds loomed over the last dim lights of the Imaginaerum, it’s creaky doors slowly clanked closed and the last of the evenings passengers strap in for “The Last Ride of the Day” on tracks that never end.
The nights collection of innocent childhood memories, dark fantasy and musical ambiance fade away as the stage lights go out. Songwriter/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen broight out sonic sound, the songs of angels and the breathe of the gods through his fingers. Gandolf looking Marco Hietala brought out the devil in his bass playing the creepy comical sideshow ringmaster to perfection. Emppu Vuorinen brought out the heaviest sounds and driving guitar narrative carrying the weight of such huge conceptual ideas and melodies. Jukka Nevalainen kept the beats pounding at a storied pace never letting the fans eyes drift off the proverbial page. Nightwish is a moving musical tapestry.