The last time I was at this venue was thirty five years ago for Roger Waters Radio KAOS tour in November 1987 and if i`m honest nothing much has changed.
Special guests tonight are Finnish Greek-Hungarian power Metallers Beast In Black who seem to tour a fair bit with Nightwish. Their set tonight contains a smattering of songs from all three of their studio albums including last year`s `Dark Connection`.
I found much to enjoy in tonight’s set and for me the stand out numbers were `From Hell With Love` , `Sweet True Lies`, `Moonlight Rendezvous`, `One Night in Tokyo` and `Blind and Frozen`. The bands set ran through with some blistering guitar riffs and pounding drums and reminded me a little of Judas Priest. I have to admit that they really ignited this 12,500 strong sold out arena and shared that they would be back touring the UK in February and i`m sure of the strength of the reception here, they shouldn`t have too many problems shifting tickets.
This show has been postponed a number of times due to the Covid epidemic and i`m sure like me, a number of people were unsure as to it would go ahead as singer Floor Jansen had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone surgery. It was a realo tribute to her that for the next ninety minutes she delivered a scintillating and energetic performance as she commanded this faithful audience.
The show begins with the almost operatic `Noise` before the thumping `Storytime` and `Tribal` follow. I felt there was a delightful Celtic / folk vibe to `Élan` while `Sleeping Sun` seemed wonderfully introspective. The tone took a more speed metal turn with `Dark Chest of Wonders` as the stage lit up with barrages of fire bursts. `I Want My Tears Back` was another powerful number that was interspliced with some captivating uilleann pipes from multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley.
The Latin named dreamlike `Nemo` was charmingly contemplative before Floor joined Troy for a stunning acoustic version of `How’s the Heart?` as the venue lit up with torch lights from mobile phones.
The homestretch included tracks such as `Shoemaker` and `Ghost Love Score` before concluding with `The Greatest Show on Earth` as the whole band Tuomas Holopainen, Emppu Vuorinen, Troy Donockley, Floor Jansen, Kai Hahto, Jukka Koskinen shone in the final number before coming together to takes their bows.
I had never seen Nightwish before and was there with my wife who has seen them on numerous occasions and I have to confess there is something about this troupe of musicians. I can fully appreciate why they are currently one of the biggest bands in Europe.