Author: Silvia Deurwaarder
Hammersmith Apollo, London, United Kingdom
September 25th 2005
Nightwish, Paradise Lost
The Hammersmith Apollo: many respectful artists played in this venue. Motorhead celebrated their 30th anniversary some weeks ago and Iron Maiden played in the old theatre for 5000 people too. Now it is time for Nightwish and Paradise Lost to play here. For Nightwish it's an historical moment. Not only because of the beautiful venue, but also because there was a metal plate with a star on the dressing room; all elements to create a special feeling.
When the airplane arrives at London Gatwick there is no rain. This is good for all those people who were waiting in front of the venue since the beginning of the day. It is strange to see that the members of Nightwish are so popular here. When they arrive at the venue for the sound check people are screaming their lungs out. When the doors open kids run down to the front. A beautiful theatre with the red carpet, white pillars, and balcony give a baroque feeling. This time there’s no opera, but a power metal concert.
They are a name from the past; when this band made ‘Gothic’ in 1991: they created the concept of gothic music. It may be a bit ironic that they have to support the biggest gothic band at the moment. They are still on tour to promote their latest record ‘Paradise Lost’. When they had the kick-off of the tour in Utrecht (NL) they had to get into it and all emotion was gone. So there was scepticism to see them in action again.
Technically the band goes strong. All the members know what they can and are convincing enough on stage. Especially the guitar sound is very clear and brings the music to a higher level. The front man has a good voice, but he misses the emotion to translate the lyrics to action on stage. It is too static and luckily the others are giving 100 percent. The old songs still have more power: there Nick Holmes is more open and convinces more. This band made enough records to have a more exiting setlist, but they are still on tour to promote the last album. The new songs are mixed with some old ones like ‘One Second’ from the same album (1997). One of the powerful songs of the new record is ‘Grey’ with heavy guitar lines and a melody what stays in you head. Again the drums and guitars are the eye catcher.
There was not that much light around the band, so the faces of the band were hard to see sometimes. The drum player was only good to hear, but he had a raw and powerful beat, so he was active enough to make a party on his own. In the middle front man Nick Holmes is static, almost standing still. This also creates a special atmosphere that fits well within the new doom period of the band. The new songs are lighter and catchy, but still that is no reason to avoid the contact with the audience. It is their hometown, but with all the young kids they still have to prove themselves and that is what Nick forgot. Luckily there are the bass and guitar player who fill in the empty space: they move a lot and lead guitarist Gregor seems to be in trance. They bring back the feeling, but it is really a disappointment that they have to do it.
05. Hallowed Land
06. No Celebration
07. All You Leave Behind
08. As I Die
09. One Second
10. Forever After
11. Say Just Words
They are the star of the evening, without any doubt. During the change-over people are coming more and more to the front which makes it very crowded. Screaming and willing to see their favourite band: the excitement is in the air. When finally the intro starts the audience is almost insane, but during the set the atmosphere changes: people are grabbed by the true emotions of the band. It even makes me shiver and brings tears to my eyes. In comparison to other gigs Tarja is more open and she seems to be stronger thru show her emotions.
With ‘Dark Chest of Wonders’ Nightwish kicks-off the gig with a lot of firework. Their sound is heavy, strong and secure. From the first second it is good to see that all members have the adrenaline inside to make it an unforgettable gig. Tarja, dressed in a yellow outfit walks around over the stage to see the audience. Five strong characters on stage who know how to make a good show (of course with help from the crew) and in this venue the sound is perfect. Even stronger than on the album ‘Once.’ The guitars are heavier and drummer Jukka gives everything during ‘The Kinslayer.’ It is Marco who impresses the audience during ‘High Hopes.’ His voice is impregnated with emotion, which comes from deep inside. To make it even more impressive; Tarja when she sings a Finnish song alone. With her eyes closed, dressed in angelic white, and with a smile she conquers the audience. The power returns during ‘Nemo’ where a sweaty Tuomas shows all his emotions: he is in a trance; deep into the songs; that is what he felt when he wrote it. You can’t hear his keyboard all the time, but it is there: subtle and light.
Emppu is the most active on stage. He seems to be a natural guitar player who can afford to focus on the show. Because of the distance to the crowd and the size of the stage he comes more to the front and interacts with the audience. Most of the members are a bit far away due to the pyro planted on stage. Jukka can clearly be seen in the white light and he is doing tricks with his drumsticks during the songs. He also bends over his drum kit to see the audience. There is Tarja in the centre who moves a lot, bringing the emotion of each song. She is in perfect balance between the emotion and her movements: it all comes natural and it makes her stronger. During ‘Phantom of the Opera’ there is a lot of interaction between Marco and Tarja and during other songs members have more interaction with each other. In the past they had difficulties with that, but it is a totally new band which stands there at the Hammersmith Apollo stage. Tuomas is still the one who finds it hard to look at the audience, but in the end he is smiling and even jumps into the crowd: totally sweaty, tired and full of emotions. Before the last song Marco thanks the audience for the great experiences and announced that the James Shearman is there from the London Orchestra who played on ‘Once.’
When finally the band is gone, the audience is amazed and impressed. With a big smile on their faces and all tired they go outside. I never cried during a gig, but this time something broke inside me. Nightwish exceeded themselves and they make people even more curious about the future of this band. Whether you like it or not: they are the only gothmetal band who can make a perfect show.
01. Dark Chest Of Wonders
02. Planet Hell
03. Ever Dream
04. The Kinslayer
05. Phantom Of The Opera
06. The Siren
07. Sleeping Sun
08. High Hopes (Pink Floyd cover)
09. Bless The Child
11. Slaying The Dreamer
12. Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan
14. Ghost Love Score
15. Wish I Had An Angel