“The End Of An Era” [DVD] by Nightwish

Artist: Nightwish
Title: “The End Of An Era”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 6/19/2007
Style: Symphonic Operatic Metal
Rating: 5/5

There are good live concert DVD’s and then there are absolutely incredible ones and this my fellow Metal heads is the one that you will not easily forget, turn off or be left the same after watching. The Symphonic Operatic Metal fanatics know full well that Nightwish is one of the superpowers in this genre and had held the banner high after numerous releases of note. The concert was filmed in the Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland back in October of 2005 as the band supported their latest release “Once”. It was a show that found the band on top of their game and raising the bar ever higher as far as both live performance and musical content were concerned. From start to finish the film keeps your attention as they explode upon the stage with their opener “Dark Chest Of Wonders” from the moment it begins and when lead singer Tarja Turunen walks out the crowd is absolutely ecstatic. Since this was the final night of touring for the “Once” album they were treated like returning heroes and admired legends. Those that had luckily witnessed a Nightwish concert in the past can attest to how exciting they are on stage musically and how tight the delivery of their songs comes across. Tarja herself has an incredible voice and while she seems able to break down walls with it at times there are other moments were she is as soft and subtle as a whisper. The show itself primarily focuses on the last release as well as touching upon some music from “Century Child” and while it features some of their classics in the mix for good measure you will need to purchase “From Wishes To Eternity” if you wanted the very old stuff. With this being a hometown closing show I had expected and hoped to find more of these in the set but it would not be the case.

There are a number of highlights presented such as the always moving “Sleeping Sun” and “Nemo” (their monster single) and “Ghost Love Score” which is perhaps one of the most dramatic and sweeping of the bands recent tunes. Their cover renditions are present with the Andrew Lloyd Webber composed “Phantom Of The Opera” and a Pink Floyd song from “The Division Bell”; the David Gilmour penned “High Hopes”. Marco sings and sounds great on this one and it’s quite interesting to hear a slightly Metalized Floyd number. They were wise to give him more vocal time as he does the job very well. The appearance of John Two-Hawks for “Stone People” and “Creek Mary’s Blood” is enjoyable and shows new levels of creativity for the band as they implement Native American themes and music inside Symphonic Metal. Two-Hawks performs on the cedar flute for these numbers and also sings in his native tongue. Watching band founder and core composer Tuomas Holopainen we find him quite intense on his keyboards and at times he seems quite moved by the performance itself and perhaps even the audience reaction to his music. Guitarist Emppu and bassist Marco appear to be marathon runners as the dash across the span of the stage almost continually during the set while drummer Jukka pounds away and keeps everyone in time. It all ends on a resounding note and it was clear from watching it that Nightwish was going to continue to rule the world and dominate this genre with nothing causing them to falter.

Shortly after this utterly bombastic show, lead singer Tarja Turunen was handed a letter written by Tuomas. The letter lined out the numerous frustrations and disappointments that the band had been finding with her in terms of attitude, interest as well as contribution and dedication. While a tremendous talent on the stage, everything she did was the direction and guidance of Tuomas outside of her voice. It was their realization that they would continue on but would do so without her going forward. The decision to terminate her so publicly caused uproar in the Metal community and Tarja replied to these accusations with a letter of her own. The whole thing became a bit of a soap opera with way too much he said, she said, and even Tarja’s husband tossed in comments of his own as if they even mattered to the band or their fans. In any event the chapter on this era of Nightwish is over and the book has been closed with a new volume set to begin with the bands new singer Anette Olzon. Now this DVD becomes a great way to reflect on what was, but there is no need to wonder for long about what could be as new music from the band is coming soon. Whatever side you take in this, whether it the bands or Tarja’s, everyone can enjoy the level of quality that was this period in Symphonic Metal music history.

Other Stuff:
The DVD comes with the full concert presented on two CD’s along with a full-color booklet that is loaded with photos from the performance. This allows you the chance to only blast the music from your stereo in case you are not the biggest visual fan, although I really can’t see that happening with this particular one. The DVD also has a documentary that was filmed during the fifteen days before this concert took place. It is called “The Day Before Tomorrow” and while largely in Finnish there are sufficient captions for those folks who can read English. The documentary is interesting as you get some of the bands thoughts on the tour and how they felt about certain things. As you watch this part of the DVD you can tell from the interactions between the band and Tarja that something larger seemed to be brewing. There is a very visible distance and separation as they meet fans and media and of course we all know how this would conclude. Truly the end of an era but the only constant in life is change. So be it.

Track List:
1. Dark Chest Of Wonders
2. Planet Hell
3. Ever Dream
4. The Kinslayer
5. Phantom Of The Opera
6. The Siren
7. Sleeping Sun
8. High Hopes
9. Bless The Child
10. Wishmaster
11. Slaying The Dreamer
12. Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan
13. Nemo
14. Ghost Love Score
15. Stone People
16. Creek Mary’s Blood
17. Over The Hills And Far Away
18. Wish I Had An Angel

Official Web site: www.nightwish.com

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