Live at the City Grove

Anaheim, CA

April 14th, 2018

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Nightwish are a symphonic metal band from Kitee, Finland. Formed in 1996, they pretty much launched an entirely new sub-genre of metal music with their entrance upon the scene. Decades later, they are still at the forefront of cinematic metal on a global scale and come to us with a special live presentation to celebrate the band's seminal career with a look back over their entire musical catalog.

There were no opening acts on this tour, just over two hours of pure Nightwish. They had an elaborate stage setup with a large electronic screen behind the band, sophisticated lighting setups, and ample room for them to move about the stage.

The band has evolved over the years and is currently a sextet of talented artists consisting of founder and mastermind Tuomas Holopainen on keyboards and synthesizers, Emppu Vuorinen on guitars, Marco Hietala on bass guitar and male vocals, Kai Hahto on drums, Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes, traditional instruments, additional guitars, and male vocals, and center stage; the amazing lead vocalist, Floor Jansen.

Floor has a magnetic presence and a powerful voice capable of sweeping strength as well as melodic beauty which pulls all of the previous decades' music into the present.

They started off the set with "End of All Hope" followed by what garnered a very positive fan reaction; "Wish I Had an Angel". They played "10th Man Down" and "Come Cover Me" in rapid succession with no banter or discussion.

The only words spoken came in the form of recorded narration as it appears on the various albums. Floor, Marko, nor Tuomos addressed the fans and the concert was presented more as a theatrical delivery, only their expressions and gestures allowing a glimpse beyond the fourth wall.

Continuing with a no-holds (or songs) barred approach they played "Gethsemane" followed by "√Član", "Sacrament of Wilderness", and "Deep Silent Complete". They hit the mid-point of the concert with "Dead Boy's Poem".

They played a traditional Finnish song with "Elvenjig" which acted as an introduction to "Elvenpath". Fan favorites came one after another as they progressed into the second half of the show with "I Want My Tears Back", followed by "The Carpenter" and then "The Kinslayer" which may be one of the first Nightwish songs I really got into back when it first came out.

"Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean" lead into "Nemo" which had the audience singing along at top volume. They finished out the set with three more songs starting with "Slaying the Dreamer", moving into one of the segments of "The Greatest Show on Earth" (Chapter I), and finished the night out with "Ghost Love Score".

It was a fantastic evening that encapsulated their entire musical output in a very moving performance that built up to a climactic end. The members moved to the front of the stage and took their collective bow as the house lights came up and the crowd began filtering back into the night.

They performed a massive set list ranging across their entire history with the only notable exception being that the "Dark Passion Play" album did not receive any love on this tour. Overall, it was a fan's dream set and a great presentation with top notch lighting and backing footage to build the appropriately grand atmosphere.  

I highly recommend checking this show out. As an added bonus everyone in the audience got the 2 CD "Decades" album to take home.

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