Nightwish at the Academy

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31 Mar 2008, 18:46

Sun 30 Mar – Nightwish, Pain
I've been listening to Nightwish for years now and they were one of the biggest bands on my 'to see' list. After I heard they were coming to Newcastle I jumped at the chance. I also wanted to put Annette to the test and see how well she performed live.

We got to the academy at about 6:30 to find the queue went all the way round the building and past the front again... which was a bit confusing and a first for me. The queuing seemed pointless as we were able to get as close to the front as we wanted when the gig started.

Pain weren't as bad as I thought they'd be. Still not very varied and quite repetitive but they sounded bang on live. I thought the biggest 'but' with those guys was that a good chunk of their songs were synth but I noticed there wasn't a synth player on the stage - which meant it was just a backing track. Bit fail I thought.

Nightwish came on after about 45 minutes of waiting and started with 'Bye Bye Beautiful'. Most of the songs they played that night were from the latest two albums but they did play a couple of older ones - Slaying the Dreamer, Wishmaster.

About half way through the set we had a surprise in the form of 'Troy Donockley' who plays the pipes, etc. on Dark Passion Play. The Islander and Last of the Wilds sounded excellent, really couldn't fault any of it. Just before Troys introduction we were treated to over 14 minutes of continuous music in the form of The Poet and the Pendulum. I thought if they'd play that they'd open with and shorten it somewhat. Wrong on both parts there.

For the songs originally sung by Tarja, I thought Annette did really well and held her own even though there seemed to be a lack of softness where required. She even managed to reach the highest of the high notes, although you eventually saw how pointless that was when next to nothing came out of her mouth.

I wouldn't say the crowd were a lively bunch, but then I didn't expect/want to be jumping around at a Nightwish gig. As far to the front as we were, there was no crushing and everyone was actually able to enjoy the music. By the end the crowd were in absolute awe - every single person ovating the band and despite how often they get this, still appeared totally humbled. It was a good moment.

To sum up, a really good gig and I didn't expect anything less. Only, I imagined from the various videos I'd saw that Nigthwish would stick with the 'mystic' theme in dress. You can see why I was slightly disappointed when Annette came out wearing what looked like her Primark bed clothes instead of the gothic dress I'd imagined. Well, you can't have everything :)

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