Concert Reviews

Nightwish / Pain Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 10, 2014    
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Nightwish / Pain - O2 Brixton Academy, London (UK) - 5th November 2012

Nightwish is a band that I've adored for ages and they've heavily influenced my musical tastes. Unfortunately the opportunity to see them live has passed me by so I was delighted when they finally announced the 'Imaginaerum' UK dates. As with their previous tour, tonight's support was Swedish industrial metal band Pain.

The Academy filled quickly after opening and Pain received a big cheer when they came out choosing 'Same Old Song' and 'End Of Line' to open. Singer Peter Tägtgren was wearing a strait jacket which seemed fitting for their maniacal style. His vocals were a somewhat buried by the sheer volume of sound but it didn't seem to bother the crowd. 'Zombie Slam' and 'Dirty Women' were played with a mixture of fun and aggression mid set but Tägtgren was still difficult to make out. By the time 'It's Only Them' and 'On And On' appeared he was more audible with that husky growl. He checked everyone was warmed up to a loud reply before Pain finished their entertaining slot with 'Shut Your Mouth'.

During the interval there was an electric atmosphere. Suddenly the lights went out and Nightwish appeared to rapturous applause then the first few keys of 'Storytime' fired up. Floor Jansen strode out and was met with an enormous roar from the crowd. I could immediately hear that she had a great vocal range, the problem was I couldn't actually make out what she was singing. Whilst the vocals were in the mix, there was a clarity issue due to them being buried by everything else. Nightwish crashed straight into 'Dark Chest Of Wonders' and 'I Wish I Had An Angel' which finally saw the mixing improve. Jansen was audible to the point you could make out some of the lyrics but even during 'Amaranth' it was still tough to make out the chorus which was a shame. Despite this, visually she fit the band like a glove with that long brown mane being flung around and whipped up by the blowers. 'Scaretale' and 'Slow Love Slow' preceded 'I Want My Tears Back' with guest Troy Donockley on the uilleann pipes. By now Jansen sounded perfect which helped make this a cracking listen. Nightwish then silenced the engines for an acoustic segment starting with 'The Islander'. It was here for me that the show took a handbrake turn into Disappointment Street. 'Nemo' is one of my top three all time songs and I absolutely adore it. With Jansen now on board I had got excited at the heightened prospect of hearing it in its true bombastic glory but sadly it was not to be. Make no mistake, it was a beautiful version but not when I was certain of the fire and fury version with Jansen onboard. After 'Last Of The Wilds' they reverted back to the electrics with 'Planet Hell', 'Ghost River' and 'Ever Dream' with Jansen sounding exactly how I'd hoped. Donockley reappeared for 'Over The Hills And Far Away' which was one of the best songs of the night along with the epic 'Ghost Love Score' that was the penultimate selection. Jansen thanked the audience for the memories before the night reached its end with the suitably titled 'Last Ride Of The Day'. As the song closed out everyone in the audience was clapping and cheering loudly even after the band left.

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This is genuinely the toughest live review I've had to write. On the instrumental and visual front I can honestly say this was a superb gig. The stage design was eye catching and the songs sounded as rich live as they do on record. The constantly feverish response from the audience would agree with this. These positives made up for the lack of vocal clarity early on. At first I thought it was just me but my photographer down front confirmed he couldn't hear Jansen at the start either. Once this was sorted, she sounded fabulous and is amazingly suited to Nightwish. She was a joy to hear in the second half and is really one hell of a charismatic front woman, with a stellar voice and a glorious live presence. As a long term fan I can only hope that Jansen ends up the permanent replacement. The rest of the band played their hearts out putting on a first class show and overall this turned out to be a great gig in the end. But when I combine together my disappointment with the early sound issues and the deflation of hearing 'Nemo' acoustic, I have to be honest and admit I didn't enjoy tonight as much as I expected. I was certain this gig would be off the scale, but maybe it's a case of too higher expectations? Regardless, the majority of other fans appeared to thoroughly enjoy this boisterous evening.

Dave Scott


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