In front of a sold-out audience, we witness Nightwish history as Floor Jansen performs songs from the band’s 22-year history.

For 22 years, Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish have been a big influence on other bands with their gothic-inspired sound. The key reason for their longevity is that they have been a voice of comfort for their fanbase. It is quite disheartening that they are not as popular in the U.S.A as the are in Europe. On the flip side, this gives National Rock Review the experience of their over the top stage show in the intimate setting of the PlayStation Theater in New York City’s Times Square.

Upon entering the venue, fans were treated to an unexpected gift from the band. The Nightwishers (as their fans are known) were given a free copy of the band’s just released compilation Decades.  The double CD contains remastered versions of their earlier material, and also promotional material for the Decades World Tour. The unexpected gift had those in attendance gleaming with smiles which made the concert goers unified with the energy of gratitude to the band.

Through the band’s three line up changes, the music has always been created by keyboardist Thomas Holopainen and guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, but it goes beyond these two members. The reigning queen and face of the band is the statuesque Floor Jansen. In her five years as lead vocalist, this real life Wonder Woman managed not only to keep the interest of its core fan base but also gain new members to the Nightwish audience. Not many groups can switch lead singers and still thrive and flourish. AC/DC and Iron Maiden comes to mind. Yes, Nightwish is in the same class with these two legendary groups. 

While all three front musicians engage with the audience,Floor Jansen owns the stage as she dashes and dances about. Right from the onset, the musicianship was impeccable. While many other bands have copied Nightwish’s image and style, none have ever managed to duplicate the craftsmanship of their music.  Hearing the first wave of songs, including “End of All Hope” and “10 Man Down” the audience witnessed the entire band display their talent for creating intricate music. The band performed over 80% of the songs from the Decades compilation, making this evening’s repertoire of music memorable. 

In the age of the #MeToo movement having Floor Jansen singing in a symphonic metal band can be seen as a grand political statement, but their outspoken views do not stop there. During the course of the evening, they performed “Kinslayer,” a song written 18 years ago about the Columbine school shooting, which still resonates as well as reflects our current events in this country. Deep cuts such as “Dead Boys Poem,” “Elvenpath,” and “Slaying the Dreamer” are some of the many crowd pleasers. 

In a sign of respect, Floor Jansen reminded the audience that earlier during the day, theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author, Stephen William Hawking, had passed away. They performed and dedicated the 24 minute epic song “The Greatest Show On Earth” to his memory. The song addresses science and reason, focusing on the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins. The heartfelt moment allowed the show to segue into the final song of the night, “Ghost Love Score.” Hearing these two songs back to back left an excited energy amongst the audience. Having a body of work of 22 years showcased as a tour is something all Nightwish fans need to experience. It’s highly likely that this tour will never be replicated again. 

Words: Sebastian Bjorn Benedict
Photos: Anya Svirskaya

 

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Event Date: 14-MAR-2018