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NIGHTWISH/SABATON/DELAIN Live In Houston, Texas

By Cary Gordon, Metal Geek
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 @ 1:30 PM


At Warehouse Live

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Let me preface this review of the show by saying that I am not that big of a NIGHTWISH fan, but absolutely adore their most current album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, which features one of my favorite vocalists, Floor Jansen. There is something about this album that has drawn me into the band that has never happened before. The biggest reason I wanted to attend this concert is that I am a huge fan of SABATON, and I try to never miss one of their performances, and I wanted to see them on their rise as they opened up for such a huge band such as NIGHTWISH.

Although arriving late to the show, I knew I would miss part of the opening band, DELAIN, and was prepared for that. What I was not prepared for was the rigamarole with the staff of the venue about not being on the guest list, which I was. Luckily, a good friend of mine saw my situation occur and provided me a way into the show anyways. I arrived just in time for SABATON. As I made my way up closer to the stage, I managed to find my podcasting partner as they stormed the stage. No matter your opinion on SABATON, they deserve your respect as they command the audience. Lead singer Joakim Broden knows how to keep the audience eating out of his hand, no matter the attendance. They treat every show like it is a huge festival show! They just have fun on stage, and have never been known to take themselves too seriously! Joakim always like to joke around with the other members, especially when they are wailing into a juicy guitar solo. The band’s stage presence is always immense, and despite some not so great acoustics from the venue, the band delivered their setlist with all the enthusiasm you would come to expect. The setlist included some tracks from the latest album Heroes, including “To Hell And Back” and “Resist And Bite”, and some classic SABATON including “The Art Of War”, “Carolus Rex” and “Primo Victoria”. When the opening guitar licks of “Ghost Division” rang through the venue all of the true SABATON fans went nuts. Closer to the end of the set, Joakim pulled a couple of young fans from the crowd, who could not have been older than 10 and 11. They were brother and sister I believe. He gave them his iconic sunglasses, and let them stay on stage and rock out with them during the last song. The young boy even got his chance to help play one of the guitars! SABATON once again demonstrated why they have become one of my favorite recent bands, and their performance that night was testament to the fact that the band always strive to put on the best damn show they can! I overheard a guy behind me, right after they left the stage, say to his friend, “ I never heard them before. But I love that band!”. That was the sentiment of their performance that evening.

After a long interlude, NIGHTWISH finally took the stage! As stated before, I am not the biggest fan of the band, but absolutely love the latest album. I have actually seen NIGHTWISH before with their previous singer, Anette Olzon, who did nothing for me musically. My wife had described her when we saw them live as the Hannah Montana of Metal. This could be farther from the truth now! The first song of the evening was “Shudder Before The Beautiful” from the brand new and the band was on fire. Now since I don’t know every single song off their back catalog, a lot of the song choices fell flat for me, but the audience was extremely into the show, so they must have been doing something right with their song choices. Just going off the brand new release, they touched on the areas that I was hoping they would, including “Elan” and the all too catchy “Weak Fantasy”. Floor Jansen was in top form this evening, and really felt right in place fronting this legendary metal band. as stated before, I have always been a fan of her work through AYREON, AFTER FOREVER and onward through her career, and it is justifying to finally see her fronting a band that commands a lot of respect. NIGHTWISH has a huge and devoted fanbase, and this was in abundance this evening. I have to preface this by admitting I am huge fan of the band SWALLOW THE SUN, also from Finland and apparently so is NIGHTWISH, because when permanent drummer Jukka Nevalainen was unable to perform on the album and tour with the band, they pulled Kai Hahto, drummer from SWALLOW THE SUN and WINTERSUN to take his place. One of the best aspects of the band is that the main songwriters, and leader of the band is not a guitar player or vocalist, but is the Keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen! Tuomas brings a lot of depth and intricacies into the music with his playing which is refreshing as some bands tend to push the keyboards far back into the mix! NIGHTWISH makes it front and center, and shows off quite nicely in the live setting. During one part of the show, when it was needed, Troy Donockley who is now a full time member of the band stepped out to the stage with what is called Uilleann Pipes, which is basically the Irish version of a bagpipe. Listen to the track “Elan” off the new album to hear it in all its glory. The guitar duo of Emppu Vuorinen and bassist Marco Hietala flow well with the band and bring the heaviness to the festivities.

This was my only my viewpoint on the night’s festivities, as not being a devoted NIGHTWISH fan, although I had an amazing time and applaud the band! Symphonic metal from Finland has my name written all over it! One of my only complaints, and this is not really so much a complaint, but more of a heated observation is that NIGHTWISH played a lot of extended songs including “The Greatest Show On Earth” which clocks in around 24 minutes. This is a lot to take in during a live setting. I look forward to seeing the band again on tour, and actually diving into the back catalog! Thank you NIGHTWISH for putting on “The Greatest Show On Earth”!


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