Nightwish @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (5/2/2009)

Logo - Nightwish

Artist: Nightwish
Venue: Nokia Theatre (New York, NY)
Opener: Volbeat
Date: 5/2/2009
Label: Roadrunner Records

Last September the Big Apple was excited to find Nightwish making a return visit once again to close out the touring cycle in this part of the world for their release “Dark Passion Play”. The band was storming the country with fellow Finns Sonata Arctica but sadly a bad illness would hit their singer Anette and the New York show would be cancelled much to the disappointment of the fans. The show must go on was the mantra of the night as the guys in Sonata Arctica delivered an absolutely stunning set for those who chose to remain in the venue for the now free performance. We were glad to be there for it and more can be learned about that particular show by clicking HERE. Fast forward to this evening’s proceedings and a once again healthy Anette Olzon fronts her companions in Nightwish for a sold out Nokia Theatre Times Square appearance. The strange thing was that the city had been hit with a number of cases of the Swine Flu recently and resultant of this breaking news I would not be the only one on edge as I walked into a jam packed venue loaded with some two thousand plus people. Nightwish would bring the Danish rockers Volbeat along for this tour and they were an interesting choice based on the vastly different type of music that they would be delivering.

volbeat, volbeat concert photos
Volbeat by Ken Pierce (2009)


Volbeat: I had been enjoying the bands CD “Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood” for a few weeks leading up to this show and it was largely based on it being such a refreshing change of pace from the typical stuff that I had been reviewing of late. This was a rocking four piece band that was neither Progressive nor Power Metal and wandered no where near the realms of Black and Death Metal. Instead it was a call back to a simpler time in the genres history where Rock and Roll aspects were much clearer and easier to define. They could best be viewed as a Rockabilly Hard Rock band that had elements of Metal and some Punk to them. Having seen my fill of Power Metal bands that try to outdo each other on tours like this one I was very happy to such an interesting band opening for Nightwish. Based on their different sound I was a little concerned about how well they would go over and I was happy to find the fans choosing to embrace them and enjoying their set. The band is fronted by Michael Poulsen who not only has a booming and hearty voice but plays a solid guitar and easily seems able to engage the audience with his sense of humor. The third song came introduced with three or four seconds of extreme thrash and he laughed it off saying that this isn’t what people are here for. After this someone clearly was heard yelling “SLAYER!!!” and without shrugging the band slid into the opening notes of the bands “South Of Heaven”. There were times during the set that I felt that the singer reminded me a little bit like Danzig but with less of a brooding drone to him and instead a powerful tone that was cutting the venue air. The interesting thing about the set this evening was that they would leave the song “Maybelline” out of the repertoire and close with another song that they are pushing called “We”. The other members of the group come via Thomas Bredahl (guitar), Anders Kjolhom (bass) and Jon Larsen (drums) and “Guitar Gangsters” is their third release. Check out these Psychobilly Rockers when you can because there is not a bad tune on this album and truly look forward to seeing them in concert again. I hope they come back soon. They left the stage to positive applause about what they had done and you just knew from the sound of it that they made some new fans here tonight. Now it was time for Nightwish and you could cut the energy level in the room with a knife.

volbeat, volbeat concert photos
Volbeat by Ken Pierce (2009)

Nightwish: The anticipation that had been built up over the last few months about the occurrence of this show seemed ready to burst at the seams as Nightwish made their long awaited return to their East Coast fans. It’s easy to know why the band is so beloved in the Power Metal genre based on the emphasis of delivering an exciting show with equally well-crafted material. The interesting aside to this show was that the bands former singer had literally just played a show at The Fillmore NY and as one walked around the Nokia Theatre tonight one could find out just who attended that show as they sported the singer’s logo shirt. Of course she didn’t have anywhere near the crowd that was in place for Nightwish and I guess this just goes to show how the lines were divided in terms of the fans.

nightwish, nightwish concert photos
Nightwish by Ken Pierce (2009)

The show would begin with a solitary figure up on the stage and it was not someone I readily knew until he began to play. Yes, it was uillean pipe player Troy Donockley who plays on a couple of tracks on the “Dark Passion Play” CD and he would lead the audience into the show with a very atmospheric instrumental called “Finlandia” and the sounds just took you to other parts of the world. New York City was one of the lucky ones for I would find out later that the pipe player would not be featured on every night of the tour and instead be a guest for this evenings show along with Hartford, CT; Allentown, PA and Boston, MA. It was definitely one of those rare treats that the fans would talk about long after the evening had passed.

nightwish, nightwish concert photos
Nightwish by Ken Pierce (2009)

The band hit the stage officially with “Seven Days To The Wolves” which I consider more of a Marco track than an Anette one and this was followed by “Dead To The World” which falls into the same description in my book. Yes, Anette was on the stage and singing along with them but I did find it rather weird that she did not lead off the set. Clearly this was to be one of the most different gigs that I had ever attended for the band but it was nice to see Marco getting some more front man time since he does a good job. When Anette sang she sounded as good as I expected and I think most of the fans are now used to the difference in the vocal register that she has. She has more of a regular singing voice as opposed to the soaring operatic sound that Tarja did and this initially was a point where existing fans found hesitation. The music works well with her voice and has progressed into that direction and seems to be traveling full steam ahead instead of constantly tripping over itself. Tuomas has really done well with the no longer new CD and there are many highlights on it and we would find a number of its tunes being delivered at tonight’s show. A good amount of the set we had seen the last time around but when comparing the notes from that one against this show there were a number of notable surprises and additions to the mix. Gone were songs that I have loved for years such as “She Is My Sin” and “Sleeping Sun” and in their place were “Ghost Love Score” and “Romanticide” which fans know are incredible tunes that are simply not played enough by the band in concert. Other highlights from the set for me would be the epic “Poet And The Pendulum” which is just intense and of course another older favorite “Nemo”. I like the way that she sings some of the Tarja stuff but can agree that it does have a different edge to it. Anette would talk to the crowd on occasion and she apologized for being ill and missing the gig that last time around which I felt was a nice touch but there was something else that people in the audience felt also needed an apology and that was her choice of outfit for the show. I surely don’t consider myself the Mr. Blackwell of Metal but the choice of the drab one piece baggy dress that she chose to wear was very simply not the most flattering thing any of us had seen her in. When she last played NYC she wore a stunning black outfit and seemed dressed to impress. Tonight this gave the appearance of just grabbing something out of the closet and hitting an important show with it on. It had some Swedish writing on it I believe but I was not sure. After this gig the discussions would be as much about this choice of dress as much as about the bands performance. Being a NYC resident myself and knowing how big our market it, I would have consulted the experts first. Oh well, you cannot win them all.

nightwish, nightwish concert photos
Nightwish by Ken Pierce (2009)

Musically I had to say that the band was as on fire as I always feel that they are and so intent on delivering an entertaining show to their fans that the vibe of this comes out during every song. Guitarist Emppu was running back and forth with bassist Marco as if doing so on synchronized schedules while the drums were pounded to frenzy by Jukka. Periodically one could catch the keyboard maestro Tuomas smiling a sly grin at his handiwork from behind his rig. He had a sizable rig to command up there and one was a figure of Captain Jack Sparrow while on the other was Edward Scissorhands. Clearly the musician finds some inspiration in actor Johnny Depp. From beginning to end this was a bombastic evening and one that definitely made the wait completely worth it. Nightwish has moved on and ahead with their new singer and believe it or not such a thing is possible to do. The sound might be a bit different but the essence and creativity remains the same. We saw this happen with Progressive Rock leaders Marillion about twenty years ago and they are still at it with a dedicated fan base. Before we close this one out the fans should be aware that a live CD/DVD package is available from the band called “Nightwish: Made In Hong Kong (and in Various Other Places)”. This release captures the “Dark Passion Play” tour and should be of interest to all of the bands fans.

Full Volbeat Photo Gallery: https://piercingmetal.com/volbeat-live-photos-nokia-theatre-times-square-522009/
Full Nightwish Photo Gallery: https://piercingmetal.com/nightwish-live-photos-nokia-theatre-times-square-522009/

Volbeat Set List:
1. Human
2. Radio Girl
3. Sad Man’s Tongue/BOA
4. Guitar Gangsters
5. Still Counting
6. I Only Wanna Be
7. Soulweeper
8. River Queen
9. Moment Forever
10. Garden’s Tale
11. We

Nightwish Set List:
1. Intro Finlandia
2. Seven Days To The Wolves
3. Dead To The World
4. The Siren
5. Amaranth
6. Romanticide
7. Higher Than Hope
8. The Poet And The Pendulum
9. Nemo
10. Sahara
11. The Islander
12. Last Of The Wilds
13. Escapist
14. Dark Chest Of Wonders
15. Ghost Love Score
16. Wish I Had An Angel – encore

Official Website: http://www.nightwish.com
Official Website: http://www.volbeat.dk

3 thoughts on “Nightwish @ Nokia Theatre Times Square (5/2/2009)”

  1. Woohooo Nightwish!!! this was one of the Best shows i have been too =D *yeah i know i say that to some others but this one really was XD* i love Emppu’s energy man, hes great!!!
    they are such nice people too 🙂
    Great pics too Ken =D

  2. incredible show, it’s always an unforgettable experience seeing them in concert as they never lose their magic on stage. Troy was amazing as well and fit in perfectly with the rest of the band.

  3. Nightwish live never disappoints!
    And it’s hilarious that even guys are starting to notice Anette’s horrible taste in clothes… I think she fired her stylist or something 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.