Nightwish is an extremely popular and wildly successful symphonic power metal band originating from Finland. The focal point of the project has always been the operatic female vocals that seem to carry the rest of the band through every epic tale that each song portrays. With a similar level of intensity and powerful storytelling as many bands like Blind Guardian, Haggard, and Moonsorrow, Nightwish is known especially for their live performances being something to remember. Almost a third of their albums are actually live recordings.
Within just a few minutes of the first track, nearly the entire venue was clapping and chanting along with the music as if they were a mob of bloodied warriors celebrating a recent victory on the battlefield. Pumping their fists in the air, the fans made it very clear that they had been waiting feverently for the return of Nightwish to Chicago. After a few tracks Floor quieted the crowd down to give her sincere thanks and express how happy they were to be playing in Chicago again. She then announced they were going to play “Stargazers,” a track they haven’t played on U.S. soil in over ten years. Needless to say, the crowd was set aflame by this. During this track and many others, the fans were actually louder than the band as they joined together singing every lyric like a choir from ancient times.
A few members had changed since last I saw them, including Floor Jansen becoming the lead vocalist, as well as Troy Donockley being added for uilleann pipes, flute, bouzouki, and vocals. Not only did Floor have no problem filling the shoes of the previous vocalists, but Troy seemed to add a whole new texture to the show with his wind instruments. Accompanying the immense melodic runs on keys from Tuomas Holopainen and the miraculous guitar shredding by Emppu Vuorinen, Troy was an excellent addition to the project. Sadly, Jukka Nevalainen had to step away from this tour for health reasons, but his replacement was veteran metal drummer from Wintersun, Kai Hahto. It was refreshing to see a group with so much experience and raw talent. This band couples a theatrical stage presence unlike any other with angelic vocals and enlightening, masterful, melodies. Do not miss this tour next time it comes around.