Photos and review by Jenna Hughes
Full Gallery after the jump…
It’s been a long time since Nightwish has played a show in Atlanta, but they made up for their absence with a 2 night stint at Center Stage, beginning on September 12th. With both nights of the tour sold out, Nightwish was sure to please their eager fans and they did not disappoint.
Supporting act Kamelot took the stage first, getting the crowd fired up with “Rule the World” from their 2007 album Ghost Opera. New front man Tommy Karevik did a fantastic job with the band’s older material that originally featured Roy Khan. His vocals were spot on and his energy was infectious throughout the band’s 45 minute set, which also included hits such as “Center of the Universe” and “Forever”. A single snare drum opened the final song, “March of Mephisto” and then erupted into the band’s best performance of the night. The crowd seemed to agree, pumping their fists in time to the beat and singing along. Kamelot left the stage with a bow, leaving the fans to anticipate Nightwish.
After a tedious set change, restless fans were brought back to life as the curtain fell and Nightwish slowly trickled onstage amidst an ethereal background and a Celtic soundtrack. Front woman Annette Olzon bounced out onto the stage last and the band launched into “Storytime”, a song from their newest album, 2011’s Imaginaerium. Olzon danced across the stage with bubbly energy that spread throughout the crowd and to the other members of the band. I’ve been a fan of Nightwish for a long time, and I admit it took a while for Annette to grow on me, but she totally owned the stage. Her vocals are completely different from (former lead singer) Tarja Turunen’s, yet she was able to put her own spin on the band’s older material, such as ‘I Wish I Had An Angel” and “Dead to the World”.
The band slowed things down for a mini-acoustic set, which included “The Islander”, a song that truly showed how stunning front man Marco Hietala’s vocals are. An acoustic version of “Nemo”–arguably the band’s most popular song ever–had the crowd going wild. Multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley had his chance to shine during this set on the bagpipes and continued playing with the band into “Last of the Wilds”, an amazing instrumental track.
The highlight of the night for me was “Planet Hell”, which I was not expecting them to play. Band founder Tuomas Holopainen rocked the keys, glancing up every now and then to flash a grin at the crowd. It was obvious how proud he truly is of his band; where they’ve been, where they are and where they are going. Nightwish has been making music since 1996, but their sound grows and evolves with every album they produce. They’re never afraid to push the limits, continuing to set the bar for symphonic metal.