About last night.
Last night's concert was very special. I wouldn't say it was the most perfectly played gig (I heard more false notes this time around) or that it had the most enthusiastic crowd, but it all came together in a very intimate yet solemn package. I had, easily, the best gig I've ever attended to in terms of spiritual connection, so to say, all helped by the wonderful chemistry between band and public and a, quite frankly, sublime setlist.
As a bit of context about the state I was in last night; I actually don't reside in Bogota but in a far away city called Manizales at the top of Los Andes; I bought my tier C-tickets back in the day they opened the pre-sale, and did the same with my airplane tickets; that was past march I think; the thing is, my schedule had to be literally perfect: my flights were scheduled just before, and, a few hours after the concert, all of that because at the time,I thought I was gonna employed at this point and that situation wouldn't had let me take 2 days off; I actually haven't gotten a job yet by now (sadly) but choices were made, which put me into a very difficult timing situation and, after a flight cancellation risk due to literal lighting bolts falling on my home city JUST MINUTES BEFORE MY FLIGHT I was fearing the worst: To miss what was probably going to be the only bright spot in my life for the time being.
However, God, Satan, Fortune or who knows who, lended me a hand and lo and behold, I arrived /just/ in time for the first Delain song. The whole thing was a rush and such my mind wasn't really ready for what was going to happen, I mean, 2 hours prior the concert I was just behind this very desk I'm typing this post from, living my normal life, in quite a moody state due to my recent break-up and stuff, but the sudden arrival of my musical idols into my living reality, and in a completely different scenery of what I'm accustomed to, threw my perception for a loop; it was, in all honesty, kind of surreal, like I had dreamed everything. Luckily I took a pic so I know I'm not schizophrenic, for now.
OK now let's get into the music.
Delain was very good; with a shorter setlist than 4 years ago (when they played for like 2 hours) and a very new album-centric repertoire, they surprised me a lot in how much they've improved.
The last time I saw them they felt like one the good "starter" bands, but not now; they're confident in their music and that confidence absolutely shows on stage; Charlotte was more chatty, the guys were interacting more with the crowd and, frankly, the new material is now good enough to sustain the crowd's interest for a longer time; contrary to the last time, I feel the audience didn't want them to finish so early. In fact, at one point the guys candidly started hyping Nightwish, you know, standard opener band trick, BUT the crowd actually started chanting "Delain" instead, which made them go a bit "d'awwwww".
All in all, I'm not their biggest fan, but given their newfound musical and performance quality they may have turned me into one. They didn't play Army of Dolls which was a shame but still, the new material is super solid. I'm really glad I saw them once again if only for witnessing their growth. Props to them.
Now onto Nightwish.
Where can I start? well let me say that the "feel" of this concert was very different from the last; the last time I saw them people were super excited about seeing them for the first time in 11 years, it was kind of a little miracle, the crowd was wild and more or less the whole concert turned into a glorified karaoke, definitely not helped by the super minimalistic (Read: literally three posters and a videobeam screen) stage decoration, which more or less made the band feel "small" which was kind of endearing; there's something about seeing your glorious heroes playing with a school stage aesthetic that makes them more human yet still so grandiose due to their mastery of their art.
This time, however, they brought the LED screens and a more solid lighting rig which made them look absolutely more "grandiose"; granted, due to my ticket type AND the hour I arrived to the venue I was literally at the very back of the whole building lol I was literally the last person in the back, yet my visuals were pretty good for what I could have, and was able to catch the big picture a bit more; the thing is, this time it looked like Nightwish was the big band it is, which resulted in an actually more "contemplative" audience, in the sense that this time we didn't feel like they were our "pals" singing with us, no, they were above us mere mortals and we were just witnessing their world unfold before us. Pretty cool. The situation made the crowd waaay quieter than the last time, but given that the sound mix was way ahead the one in that past concert, it actually made it easier to enjoy the musicality of the band.
And by God they know a thing or two about music.
I don't want to review every song because NW is a very consistent band that more or less sounds the same everywhere and every time, so chances are you've already seen how they roll live through Youtube; having said that, I did prepare a quick list of comments from the live experience itself:
They played End of All hope instead of DCOW which I appreciated! If some band member is reading this forum right now, I just wanna say thank you; may I mail you my doctor's bill for my ruined vocal chords though
There are some songs that sound waaay better live; Elvenpath was a fantastic surprise live, super fun and energetic, so was Amaranth (seriously) and WIHAA (Seriously again). I even enjoyed I Want my Tears Back this time around! And both Gethsemane and Dead Boy's Poem can make the toughest uy in town tear up a little bit; the orchestral arrangement for Gethsemane is just wonderful, so is the one in The Devil.
Some other don't really work very well, Come Cover Me is a wonderful "playlist" song but it's not a show stopper at all, Tenth Man Down fits into that category: while the new arrangement is really good and Floor gives a super solid performance, it's a song slot that could have been used for a more "punchy" song; still, I feel like its lyrical theme is quite topical so I do see value on its inclusion. Let's also say Elan would use a long vacation too for its audience reaction is, still, relatively tepid.
The Carpenter: Just no. the most I can say about this one is that the recreation does honor the original... in that it's just as bland, and it sounded just like Tuomas was singing hahahaha. Troy was off tune the whole time (Which I think is the key's fault and not his, for he's a wonderful performer and his vocal harmonies were 100% on point in the other songs). The song is kinda bad. Angels Fall First would have been the better choice there. One better left for the history books.
The Nemo flute, no to that too.
Deep Silent Complete <3 Floor is nailing it now. I can't believe they brought that one back. It's funny how the audience just has adopted the chants from "traditional performances", like the Tarja-prompted "Heyyyy" in this song, which Floor actually doesn't do, but we still do it anyway; reminded me of that one guy in Brazil shouting out the finnish speech from Tarja in the EOAE version of The Kinslayer hahaha.
Gotta say that the "key lowering" is 100% not perceptible live, like, I know The Kinslayer wasn't played in its original key but when that choir kicks in you just feel like you're listening to The Kinslayer, not some kind of bizarro cover that it might feel they're playing going from Youtube videos. Seriously guys, the live experience elevates the whole thing.
Floor, somehow, managed to sound better than the last tour. How does she do it? The sheer variety and CONTROL that woman has in her voice is just breathtaking to behold. She does it all and makes it seem so effortless, wow. Vocal Highlights include Slaying The Dreamer, The Devil and Dead Boy's Poem. Her head voice has developed tremendously and she does some kind of "Enya" impersonation in some parts that is just magical. Let's hope the next album shows us what Floor is capable of.
They talked to the audience in english, which truth to be told we don't understand perfectly, so it led to a very funny moment when Floor was like: "Are you enjoying the night?" - "YEAAAH" - "Do you want us to stop? - "YEAHHHH" - "Are you not feeling it?" -" YEAAAAH" - "wait, are you or aren't you enjoying this concert?" - "YEAAAAH" - . I personally lost it hahaha. Floor had this "Damn these people are dumb but cute" expression which was amusing.
There's this effect brought by the screen they used where Kai is at the very center of the frame and such the imagery makes it so he's part of the whole visual thing, like popping out of a book or being at the end of a long hall, pretty cool and clever, made the whole thing feel like a fairytale.
Marco is sounding way better now; his voice in WIHAA was indistinguishable from his EOAE performance which given that thing came out 13 years ago impressed me greatly. Whatever he's doing, it's working.
Ghost Love Score loses a bit of punch by being played next to TGSOE because that one is exhausting for both the band and the crowd.
TGSOE as you all know is not my favorite song, and this full performance only cemented that opinion; the beginning is just magical, but when the main "theme" kicks in, the song does perform a nosedive in musical quality; those first 5 minutes were ones of absolute silence and awe from the public, then it turns into a less interesting FantasMIC and the magic is all gone all of a sudden; and don't get me started on the animal sounds... sigh. I definitely think Nightwish works musically best when it's creating an ambience and not going balls to the wall trying to hammer the point around.
The background video in TGSO was actually pretty cool.
Floor reached a higher note in Ghost Love Score which was a surprise. I think it was off tune BUT she did it with such power that it sounded, at worst, like a dissonance. It's like she nailed us to the wall with that note; the "leave me beeeEEEE" in The Devil was amazing too. I'm not one to be floored by high notes, and her lower register is actually way better now (the improvement in Amaranth is undeniable proof) but I just wanted to comment about her extraordinary talent.
OK it's time for them to seriously consider to release the orchestral arrangements of the old songs which are all super high quality, so please release that.
Speaking of recordings, why hasn't Elvenjig been released? It's really, really, really good! The whole theatre was jumping up and down, like we were rats enchanted by the Pied Piper of Hamelin (More like Ireland, but you get me :P)
The final applause was thunderous and I actually saw more people hugging their SOs and crying and bowing before them than the last time; It was then when I realized that the quieter audience was not a product of apathy but of contemplation, we all were just too entrapped by the music and the memories it was both relieving AND creating to do anything other but to observe and absorb.
Reflexive anecdote: Out of sheer luck I had the chance to see the band boarding their bus in the hour after the concert; gotta note that I was NOT waiting for them so when they just passed in front of me I was completely starstruck. All it occurred to me was clapping hahaha and I also shouted a few "thank you"s. They were smiley all the way to the bus which was a nice gesture to fans (for they were probably tired to death). In the end they got into their bus, I started waving at them and both Troy and Marco responded my wave and also gave me a big smile which was super cute... Troy specially looked into my very soul haha. You know Troy, I'm sorry. Here, I said it, I've said a few mean things about you but the smile you gave me was one from someone who just lives through his art, and I can't help but admire such spirit. Thank you.
All in all it was a wonderful night and I hope the band had enjoyed the gig just like we did. People I talked with after the fact were all in some kind of trance, all singing praises about everything about the concert.
A closing anecdote; some people actually didn't know about the "retro" nature of the setlist and were pleasantly surprised; after the band had departed and the remaining few of us remained drinking beer and talking about the experience we just had, one girl literally broke into tears while telling us she didn't expect most of the song choices, and that by hearing the songs she used to listen to, day after day when she was a teen or so, in front of her, the band actually helped her to reconnect with her old, lost emotions.
"They really are a vehicle of spirit" she concluded, in faint sobs.
And I agree.
Thank you for reading! Please don't miss the chance to see the band if you can