I have to start this Rant by saying that I was a little concerned about Nightwish launching the Imaginaerum Tour in Los Angeles, California. You see, they are a huge band all over the world but are still carving their niche here in North America. Now don’t get me wrong, I have loved this band for 9 years since I first heard them on an online radio station and I know they have a strong following but I have always wanted to see the love from my part of the world match that of the rest of the world. It has happened. My little band from Finland is not mine anymore.
I took it upon myself to spread the word of Nightwish since 2003 to anyone who would listen, hell to even some of those who wouldn’t. Even with the departure of Tarja Turunen and the addition of Anette Olzon, my loyalty and dedication has never wavered. I have bought all the studio albums and am currently working on the cd singles in which I have 2 and have one on it’s way. I love Nightwish.
So not being able to pony up the cash for a plane trip to another country and then the concert tickets I was disappointed I failed to see their show in LA, but I hoped that someone would upload videos so I could watch it. I wanted to see the band perform their classics and the new material from Imaginaerum but I also wanted to see the response from the crowd in the video and fromt he comments to the video. My mind was blown.
The band sounded better than I ever could have imagined and I have to say that Anette has really grown into her role in the band. She was a beast! The woman has an amazing voice and really adds a different aspect to the band that I honestly think was lacking. Although her singing on the new songs is great, it was her mastery of the classics that made my jaw hot the floor. She could have backed off with all the criticism about her voice and comparisons to Tarja but god damn she proved the haters wrong!
I was truly surprised by the amount of songs Marco sang on and that is always a good thing in my book. “Over The Hills And Far Away” as well as the reworked and acoustic version of “Nemo.” Having Marco more involved vocally is a great a fantastic vocalist and adds more to the sound.
Marco, Tuomas, Jukka and Emppu were fantastic with their playing of the songs as well and there was such a looseness and fun vibe with each of the 5 members of the band. It is something I think that was lacking during the last few years with Tarja in the line up. Nightwish relays to the crowd that they enjoy what they are doing again, that they enjoy working together and being together. The crowd will feed off of this and it will just enhance the show.
The main comments I have seen from the concert are as follows(actual comments from the videos and the same massess that were criticizing Anette and Nightwish the last few years):
“Anette’s voice has improved so much!”
“I think she sounds amazing here and adds something new to the songs. The Once material seems to work incredibly well with her voice in general. She pulled off the best performance ever of Romanticide on their previous tour, imo.”
“This performance was like a dream.. it was incredible. I was just speechless after it was over.”
“Here, proof that Anette CAN sing. I’m glad the Tarja vs. Anette wars are finally over…”
So what are my thoughts?
I believe that Nightwish as a band took a calculated risk back when they let Tarja go but it was a necessary risk to take. If she wasn’t showing up for rehearsals and was not contributing to the band in any meaningful way than just showing up and singing the songs the day of the concert it was going to be the end of the band. They would fail to grow and evolve, as all bands must do to reach the next level and be successful.
The band will only be strong if all members are happy, enjoy working together, being around each other and pull their weight. How many bands have we seen have implosions, scramble to replace members and then fade away to obscurity?
I may get criticized for saying this but Anette adds way more to the band more than she takes away. She has a voice and a presence that makes the band more mainstream Rock N Roll, she has the ability to go back and sing an older song and make it her own, she has shown she will work hard to improve and answer the critics and she has breathed new life into Nightwish. She has recharged the Nightwish battery and we the fans, are benefiting from it.
From what I read and what I saw from the videos of the concert, Nightwish is about to conquer North America from top to bottom and it is about time. I welcome our new Finnish over lords and hope they can play close to Halifax. Nova Scotia so I can see them live. Imaginaerum is being heralded as their best album yet, and that is saying something with Dark Passion Play, Once and Century Child in their back catalogue. The band is at an all time high and I am glad to see this day.
Thank you Tuomas, Marco, Jukka, Emppu and Anette…..