Concert Review: Nightwish at The Beacon Theater (New York City)

I am a huge fan of European female fronted hard rock/metal music. It's a genre that is huge across all parts of the world except in this country. The music is has taken heavy metal to a much more sophisticated level. Keyboards, choirs, symphonic orchestration & mezzo soprano operatic female singers. In my opinion it is more advanced & blows away anything that is popular in America. The US music industry is lame with corporate made rock, American idol molded singers, teeny bopper pop & hip hop garbage. Rock & Roll needs to be saved & this music is the answer. Finally it seems there may be some hope, as some of the European music has begun to break through.


Last night one of the biggest bands in the world (outside the U.S.) came to New York and put on one hell of a show at the Beacon Theater. They are Nightwish, one of the best bands in the entire world coming out of Finland.

All their lyrics are in English and they speak the language fluently if you were wondering. Nightwish can be labeled as symphonic metal, but have roots in everything from rock, metal, goth, classical, jazz, folk, Celtic, Broadway & film scores.

An very enthusiastic crowd came to the Beacon Theater on Saturday night for the Nightwish show. It was certainly a mixed crowd, younger people, older people, New Yorkers, out of towners & folks from other countries. Long time rock fans like myself were visble all around, some folks even brought thier kids. Bobby "Blitz" from the metal band Overkill was there & took a picture with centerfieldmaz. As I mentioned this crowd was very into it. They knew the music well, they were on their feet the entire show singing, jumping around & waving their arms with joy.

The band is led by Tuomas Holopainen, the main song writer, keyboardist & band leader. The 35 year old Tuomas has studied classical & jazz styles but has a passion for film music. He plays intense keyboards while handling all the symphonic orchestration arrangements during the concert. It all begins with him & rolls off into the other members of the band.

Guitarist Emppu Vuorinen is also a founding member of the band, being the first to get recruited by Holopainen. He handles all the guitar work playing a more melodic style of lead guitar than most hard rock players. A great musician moving freely around the stage with a smile on his face most of the time.

Marco Hietala is the bands outstanding bass player & male lead singer. The 46 year old veteran rocker joined the band in 2002. He sports long blonde hair with a signature curled two parted beard that hangs down to his chest. As if his bass playing & on stage presence doent demand enough attention, his powerful voice really rocks the house. He adds a menacing vocal contrast to Annette Olzon's female vocals.

Drummer Jukka Nevalainen is a fantastic drummer, keeping a heavy yet melodic rhythm section going on top of Marco Hietala's thundering bass playing.

The lead singer Annette Olzon took over on lead vocals, after the the great Tarja Turunen was dismissed in 2006. The dismissal was a huge transition for the band & a very risky since Tarja was so popular. As Tarja was a lyric soprano with triple octave range, Olsson is a mezzo soprano vocalist. She is a great rock singer & was absolutely incredible live.

Her vocals erupted to incredible levels of power, surprising me of how good she actually is in person. Olzon a former brunette who had gone blonde in the past, was a blonde again at the Beacon concert last night. Her outfit was simple, sporting black stockings with black shorts a large belt & laced top body suit.

To sum up a review; the show was outstanding, fantastic & just out right great. Nightwish are incredible live, bringing their music to life perfectly without a blemish. All you do is want more, you don't want this show to end. The band is tight musically with a great stage presence. The vocals are superior, the way the male & female voices work off each other is absolutely great theater.

The band was backed on stage by a large backdrop of their Imaginaerum album cover. There was good sound & great lighting effects as well.

The set list consisted of six new songs from their latest album Imaginaerium, four other Annette Olzon era songs & five songs from the Tarja era. The biggest surprise for me was "Escapist" , an incredible live version of the first song released when Olzon took over as lead singer. It is possibly my favorite Nightwish song of all and it the first time it was played on this year's tour as far as I know. There was a cleverly arranged acoustic version of one of the bands biggest hits "Nemo" which was another major highlight.

Olzon apologized for slowing things down early on in the set, as the band did a great rendition of "Slow Love slow" a smoky slow jazz number from the new album. The band was joined on stage by instrumentalist Troy Donockley who plays uillean pipes, tin whistle & adds backing vocals.

There was no intermission & no encores. The band just rolled on through 16 songs with a climax of high powered tunes Over the Hills & Far Away, Song of Myself & Last Ride of the Day a perfect way to end a great concert. This band is incredible, if you like rock & roll check them out you don't know what your missing.

Nightwish Set List: Beacon Theater, New York City

I Wish I Had an Angel
Planet Hell
The Siren
Slow Love Slow
I Want My Tears Back
The Islander
Nemo (Acoustic)
Last of the Wilds
Ghost River
Higher Than Hope
Over the Hills and Far Away
Song of Myself
Last Ride of the Day
Imaginaerum musical playout

**Look for the Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie in October 2012. Here is a the Storytime video link:


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