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Nightwish: On A Dark Winter’s Night

One band on tour, two shows (Dec 28 / 29, 2007), two countries, two opinions

Two events, two opinions – Germany: People were excited before the first official live appearance of Nightwish and their new singer Annette Olzon. Moreover, with a new great album to present. How would the Finns cope with it? Would their new material inspire the audience as successfully as their old classics? How would Annette be appreciated? And, the most important issue: How would those classics sound with her voice? More and more questions…

There has been a lot of fuzz about one-day festivals, especially about those happening indoors; some fans are quite sceptical. For some the schedule starts too early, therefore the opening bands have to play in front of a small crowd. But this is not true for the “On A Dark Winter´s Night” festival, as in Oberhausen it takes place on a Saturday. And the start is delayed, as a production truck got stuck with a damaged axis and arrives late. The delay provides the opportunity for the audience, which is allowed in, to watch the build-up of devices and the sound- and light checks. Quite interesting and for some people probably the first time that they see that.

When Van Canto begin with an about 3-hour-delay, die crowd indeed hungers for loud music. Despite the unique style the Germans take over much of the crowd that cheers enthusticastically to this a-capella combo with a drummer. Their Metallica cover “Battery” in particular inspires the crowd. You will hear more of this act, for sure!

After that Tarot enter stage, who feature Nightwish´s Marco Hietala. But this popular singer and bass player isn´t the only reason why the crowd reacts enthusiastically. Their songs appeal to the Metal part of the audience, and their energy infects all the others in the hall. What a pity and shame that this wonderful band has to play that early…

Now Metal is over, it´s getting dark. The German Goth act Jesus on Ecstasy is playing next, boys and girls with make-up and Fetish styling. They start with a real heavy sound that is based on guitar, beats and a sound carpet from the keyboard. But this is not appealing to me, which seems to be true also for most of the audience.

Pretty much the same situation with Dopestars Inc. , sinister sounds, in this case even without a real drum set, combined with guitars and keyboards. In this case everything sounds even more one-dimensional and boring than Jesus on Ecstasy. Again, not my cup of tea.

Therefore I´m the more excited about the following band Amorphis! Their dark sad songs fit perfectly into the billing, and their sounds are much more organic than those of the previous two acts. The headbangers, who are the majority of the crowd this evening, share my opinion and cheer to the Finns a lot. A propos crowd, it´s quite mixed this evening. About half of the audience are clearly Metalheads, the rest is split equally into Goths and “normals”. The latter category represents the fact that Nighwish appeals to a wide audience: families with young kids as well as people in a more mature age – everybody is here.

Instead of Samsas Traum, who had to cancel at short notice, Letzte Instanz fill the gap. And they manage with their unique style to unite Metal and Gothic and inspire the crowd to party, for the first time. Their final „Das Stimmlein“ accomplishes what even Nightwish should not be able to: The audience as a whole gives a standing ovation! Great show!

After eight opening acts, finally, at 1:15 h, it is time! The hall darkens and a sinister intro begins, and Nightwish enter the stage. And what they play is a lesson in powerful diverse symphonic Rock music. And you would not have expected such a heavy sound from Nightwish.

Many eyes are naturally focused on Annette Olzon, the new singer of this Finnish band. You could argue about her interpretation of the band´s classics, but I like it very much. The Metal sound of this band has finally also a Metal singer, less distant, less diva, but more movement and Rock voice.

The setlist is almost entirely focused on the new album “Dark Passion Play”, only a few classics are found on the setlist. Despite the courageous experiment most people seem to enjoy the show. When the final “Wish I had an Angel” was played and snow came from the ceiling, you realized that it was already over. So see you soon again, in February/March, when Nightwish will visit Germany again during their headliner tour. (TP)

Austria: For the first time I was at the Salzburgarena, and I have to admit – WOAHHHH, such good service and organisation is rare! I arrived when Amorphis began, and those Finns were quite appealing. Yet the band afterwards, Blind, I did not know and I did not like – in my opinion the wrong choice for a co-headliner!

Nightwish was, as expected, the absolute highlight, with a great pyro show – exceptionally great! Before the gig I was already excited, which kind of outfit would the new singer wear? Then it was like a cold shower, she wore sort of potato bag… Musically, Anette Olzon has found her place in the band already. Still some songs from the new album „Dark Passion Play“ surprised me, as the voice was much deeper than hoped for. Anette´s performance, however, was not as powerful as I had expected. It seemed as if the size of the arena overwhelmed her, and she didn´t have the heart to give more. But she spoke some German words to the audience, which naturally went nuts… As final highlight they played two old songs (Wishmaster and Wish I had an Angel), and I found them quite appealing with the new voice, and in the crowd hell broke loose…

By and large a great event with a very good Nightwish show. Naturally the band sounds now differently, everything a bit more Rock; and Anette Olzon wasn´t as impressive as expected. But still I liked it a lot. (CG)

text &photos Timo Päßler, Christian Girstmayr (


Timo Pässler - reports, reviews, photos - - - Favorite genres? - - - Power, Speed, Melodic, Symphonic and Thrash Metal, sometimes also Black and Death Metal, when I am in mood for it - - - Favorite bands? - - - Blind Guardian, In Flames, Children of Bodom, Powerwolf, Kreator, Vader, Avantasia, Iced Earth, Amon Amarth and many more! - - - Other interests? - - - Music (listening + playing), sports, acting and scouts