Total Scrobbles In 2014 4341 scrobbles First Track Of 2014 Nightwish – Taikatalvi (Good way to start out the year, with Imaginaerum!) Last Track Of 2014 Ayreon – Day Twenty: Confrontation Top Artists Of 2014 1) Nightwish – 385 scrobbles 2) Dream Theater – 288 scrobbles 3) Sonata Arctica – 265 scrobbles 4) Ayreon – 241scrobbles 5) Within Tempation – 156 scrobbles Sonata and Ayreon switched back, and Within Temptation makes a return to my top 5. This means it’s just the same as 2012! Top Albums Of 2014 1) Ayreon – The Theory of Everything – 124 scrobbles 2)...
First Track Of 2013 Nightwish – Taikatalvi (Good way to start out the year, with Imaginaerum!)Last Track Of 2013 Dream Theater – Octavarium Top Artists Of 2013 1) Nightwish – 524 scrobbles 2) Dream Theater – 384 scrobbles 3) Ayreon – 363 scrobbles 4) Sonata Arctica – 342 scrobbles 5) Kamelot – 244 scrobbles Ayreon bumped Sonata for number 3; not sure why. Kamelot made the jump this year dethroning Within Temptation, I have become quite fond of them since seeing them with Nightwish in 2012. Top Albums Of 2013 1) Nightwish – Imaginaerum – 149 scrobbles 2) Ayreon –...
Date: October 3rd, 2012
Location: San Francisco
Venue: The Warfield
Tour: North American Imaginaerum Tour
So… within a week, I went from “Nightwish concert in a week!” to “Aww, Anette is sick, hope she gets better soon,” to “What the fuck? Anette is out of the band?” to “Wait, Floor Jansen is replacing her on the tour?” then right back to “Wooo Nightwish concert!”
Everything happened so fast and I didn’t really have enough time to process it before the concert. I liked Anette and what she brought to the band. She was incredible on Imaginaerum! But for her to part ways in the middle of a tour indicates that there must have been serious issues brewing behind the scenes. Especially considering how fast Floor was able and ready to step in, it sadly seems that it was bound to happen eventually. So many people were so concerned with drawing battle lines and joining Team Tarja or Team Anette, they overlooked the fact that Tuomas was really the heart and soul of the band, the one who is crafting the amazing music we listen to. The voice is very much an important part of Nightwish, but it doesn’t matter who is singing -whether it be Tarja, Anette, Floor, or whatever singing comes next- because the substance behind the voice is what Nightwish is to me. My loyalty does not shift simply because the singer changes. The music and lyrics has always been what’s there for me, so I will always stand behind Nightwish and Tuomas. That being said, I was definitely saddened by Anette’s departure. With the timing of everything, I wasn’t really given much time to figure out how I felt about it, let alone miss her. As they say, the show must gone on.
Like their last show in San Francisco at the Fillmore, I opted for a VIP ticket. Unfortunately it felt like the staff didn’t really know what they were doing. So after a little delay standing out in the breeze fending off the locals, we were finally let in at about 6:00. As we were slowly making our way towards the band, there was a guy wearing a King Foo (their management group) shirt recording people’s answer to the question “What is the best thing about Nightwish?” I was his last interviewee, and I believed I replied with “The amazing mix of symphonic music and imaginative lyrics,” which the cameraman nodded and dubbed it a good answer. Perhaps I’ll end up on a DVD or something!
This time around, I came a little more prepared. Thankfully, we weren’t herded past the band like last time, we got a little more time to chant and get pictures and such. First up I snagged a picture with Tuomas, who is one of my biggest heroes, and thank him for everything he has done. At the time I presented him and Jukka my amazing panoramic picture I took during the Islander at their big show in Los Angeles. Tuomas immediately exclaimed, “Oh nice!” and recognized the moment from The Islander. Jukka agreed and said something along the lines of, “That’s the way to capture that moment.” After thanking them and them doing likewise, I quickly slid over Floor as I was kind of holding up the rest of the line. She was admiring the panoramic prints I had just given, and seeing as I now had an extra one, I offered it to her. Then I thanked her for stepping in and told her that I didn’t think I’d ever get to see her perform after After Forever disbanded, and this was a special treat. She said that was sweet! Last up was Emppu and Marco. Emppu looks up at me about to sign his print and says, “Wait, this one is for me? Thanks!” Just like the others, Marco was quite impressed by it, although I’m sure his view of that moment was way better than mine! I was very elated that they all enjoyed their gift; they’ve given so much to their fans, so it was nice to be able to give them something in return, no matter how tiny. I walked away with a signed handbill to match the one from The Fillmore and a signed copy of the Islander print for myself.
With only a handful of people inside, I staked my spot on the right side of the left partition above the pit. It was a great view of the stage! Up there, Kamelot was going through their final soundchecks. At first it was just the techs, but before long most of Kamelot was up there. An orchestrated backtrack starts playing and the drummer starts playing along. Tommy, the new singer, gets us clapping, and before we know it, Kamelot is playing for us! Easily the best soundcheck ever! It was also a good chance to hear Elize Ryd’s beautiful voice as her backing vocals weren’t very audible once the real show got started.
By the time the lights dimmed, The Warfield was packed! It was a very big turn out and Nightwish was still an hour away. Kamelot put on a hell of a show though! Grand sweeping orchestras mixed with blasting metal riffs; they were a great compliment to Nightwish. I had only listened to their first few albums so all these songs were really foreign to me, but it makes me excited to discover their later albums! Tommy Karevik was their relatively new singer, but he already seemed to be right at home on the stage, easily working the crowd. After hearing her during soundcheck, I knew to pay attention to Elize Ryd, when you could hear her vocalizations or she was singing along with Tommy, it was fantastic! When the other female vocalist, Alissa White-Gluz appeared, I actually mistook her for Cristina Scabbia! It wasn’t long before her singing style made it very clear it wasn’t Cristina, but man did she bring some energy. Her boots also had an absurd number of straps on them, 12 by my count. Kamelot’s set really felt a lot longer than 45 mintues, which is a testament to how captivating their music really was!
Following Kamelot’s departure was a very smooth changeover. There was a resounding “Oooohhh” as they unveiled the giant Imaginaerum backdrop. The crowd went through the usual bouts of cheering and chanting Night-wish long before the house lights dropped. When they did, the epic score of Hans Zimmer once again blasted through the speakers. Although I would’ve preferred a backtracked Taikatalvi but that thought was quickly forgotten as the members started appearing.
Once the music started rolling, the crowd’s energy was electrifying! Lots of singing along, clapping, cheering; every hallmark of a good crowd! The pit was also very excitable, with some pushing, moshing, and… slow dancing?! More importantly, everyone was very receptive of Floor for her third concert with Nightwish. They showed her much love and support, which you could tell she appreciated very much. Her stage presence was a bit different then Anette’s. First off, she’s quite a tall lady and her boots elevated her even higher, so she had this commanding visibility on the stage. Having led After Forever for many years, she knew how to work both the crowd and the stage. It’s not necessarily better or worse then what Anette brought, just different. I for one missed being part of the ‘hep hep army’ and watching Anette’s cute dancing on stage. But having a strong, veteran frontwoman at the helm who emitted power and energy seemed to be infectious for the other guys. They seemed revitalized and even more energetic compared to their kick off show in Los Angeles, which I thought was a very energetic performance. Floor was no stranger to some serious headbanging and got Marco to join in, who I haven’t seen do that in a long time! Like always, Nightwish came out determined to give the best damn show they could and they absolutely delivered.
●Storytime (I do believe attending the kick off concert in Los Angeles spoiled me, because the first thing I thought when they started playing this song was, “It needs more fire!” The intro works so well though, the lone keyboard playing in the dark, then the quick bursts of energy, more keyboard, then more energy, add some bass, then finally everyone playing and rocking out. When Floor finally came out, the crowd went wild! Nobody seemed to care that she had missed the first line of the song! Her take wasn’t bad at all, although her voice didn’t seem to soar like Anette’s does. Great vocalization at the end though and a fantastic way to energize the crowd ride at the start!)
●Wish I Had an Angel (Another rocking tune to keep the excitement going. Floor was very reminiscent of Tarja here. And Marco is awesome no matter what he does.)
●Dark Chest of Wonders (We get a little breather as Marco greets us and introduces the “new blood” to the crowd. He also tells us that when Floor came over from Europe, she brought along a “Big Box Of Weird Stuff.” I will never think of this song the same again.)
●Amaranth (I enjoyed this one. Just like Anette how put her own twist on Tarja songs, Floor changed up the vocal line during the chorus a little and made it sound great! They performed the bridge with the Emppy’s grindy riff and Jukka’s slick disco beat and got everyone to shout along. My friends and I showed our HEP HEP Army pride and shouted that out while spelling out HEP! across our 4 phones. Emppu even squinted at us trying to read it! Floor ended up singing too soon during the bridge and then missed the big vocalization at the end. Still not bad for having a week or two of prep time! Once again, we were left with Emppu and Jukka to finish out the song with their grindy groove while Marco did his funny sounding “Woaaaah, woaaaaah!”)
●Scaretale (Normally a very fun and silly song, but I just wasn’t feeling it tonight. Tuomas was rocking the intro for sure, and Marco’s interlude in the middle was great as always. Unfortunately, Floor just doesn’t really fit this song :( Anette and her “evil witch” voice was what really sold this song, and not hearing it really made it seem strange. But it didn’t stop me from screaming out TENTACLES!)
●Dead to the World (This song felt so old school! Floor definitely nailed this one, once again making it hers by absolutely nailing the chorus! It was nice to hear some of their old power metal tendencies again. If Floor sticks around, I hope they consider bringing back some of their older songs!)
●Slow, Love, Slow (Marco tells us they’re gonna try something different. Try something a little more… sensitive. The lights dim and Tuomas starts playing that haunting piano melody. It seems that Floor hasn’t really found her voice for this song yet, as it sounded uninspired for lack of a better word. It wasn’t bad, she just didn’t take hold of the song and make it great. Emppu sauntered out about halfway through, trying to get us to snap our fingers. Probably the best thing about this song was the hilarious dancing. Two totally metal guys, who had been pushing and moshing previously, grabbed each other and started slow dancing to the song! By the end, there were several other couples dancing too. Later on, Marco exclaimed that he thought he saw one of those couples that San Francisco was know for, hah!)
●I Want My Tears Back (The natural progression from the last song. The talented Troy Donockley joined the band on stage for the next several songs. Wasting no time, he was blasting his uillean pipes to this song. Great three part harmonies and an awesome instrumental section. All in all, a fun song like always!)
●The Islander (Per their new tradition, Marco called for phones, cameras, lighters, flashlights and the likes to be pulled out and lit up. Definitely looked great, but I may be a bit biased in saying it was nothing compared to the Gibson Amphitheater :) This one is always a great moment in the concert, it always feels more intimate, with the relaxed mood and the giant singalong. The outro was extended and allowed for Marco and Floor to improvise vocal lines while Troy added a flute solo behind them. Incredible way to end the song.)
●Nemo (Marco introduced us to Tero as he swapped out his guitar for his bass, who is known for his crazy antics on the backstage portions of the DVDs. They continued with the softer side and did their acoustic rendition of Nemo. Floor kept it nice and simple while seated on the drum riser next to Jukka and his nifty cajon. Emppu delivered some nice acoustic solos for us as well!)
●Last of the Wilds (When the fellows started playing this song, the crowd was ecstatic! Lots of jumping and bringing the energy back into the room!)
●Planet Hell (Naturally, Marco tells us that he’s taking us all to Hell! And what a ride it was! We get a taste of the power that Floor has behind her voice! This is definitely a good song to show it off on! Not only that, but this is one of the few songs that we still get a Tuomas keyboard solo on! He did his new thing of working in the keyboard solo from Stargazers and the piano line from Gethsemane into it, which is a great kick back to their Oceanborn days! To finish it off, Floor really nailed the operatic vocalization at the end!)
●Ghost River (Strangely, Marco starts asking us if we’re getting warm. A confusing question, but it all made sense when he suggested we cool off by drowning in the Ghost River! I was really hoping this was on the setlist at Gibson, so I was very excited to finally hear this live! Emppu’s guitar riff is every cool and I still can’t get over how catch Marco’s chant/singing is during this song! Floor ended up singing it very similar to Anette, which wasn’t a bad thing. Anette’s backing harmonies played quite loud over the speakers, almost like she was singing along in ghost form! There was a great moment after the second chorus where Tuomas, Marco, Floor, and Emppu were spread out on the stage, all headbanging! \m/)
●Song of Myself (In an odd move, the band seems to skipping the whole rigmarole of leaving then coming back for an encore. The lights dimmed, and Tuomas took the stage, bathed in blue light while he started right into the epic intro! This song seriously gives me chills, such a grand and ambitious song with so much power and emotion poured into it. Aside from Tuomas being the obvious star of this one, Jukka was really into this one, drumming so vigorously! They ended right after the 3rd section with Marco and Floor harmonizing with the choir.)
●Last Ride of the Day (Floor takes a moment to thank us all, for the support and energy we’ve given her. She then pits the floor against the balcony in a screaming contest. Surprisingly, the balcony is quite loud! Sadly, they have to take us on the last ride for tonight. At least it’s an exciting one to go out on! Blasting orchestra, blaring guitars, and powerful screams from Marco and Floor at the end!)
This was definitely the caliber performance one comes to expect from a Nightwish concert. Even in the face of turmoil, the band rises up and gives it their all. I will miss Anette and the unique things she brought to the band, though I do wish her well in whatever endeavors she chooses to peruse next. As for Nightwish, they are still a musical powerhouse and will continue to be one with Tuomas at the helm. Floor was a great addition to the band’s live presence. Not only that, but she entered gracefully on short notice and was respectful of the path that has been carved out by Tarja, Anette, the rest of the band, and most importantly the fans. Whether or not she will continue on in Nightwish, only the future can say. Until then, there is no doubt in my mind that the band will continue to perform each show as passionately as the last. The voice of the music may have changed, but Nightwish’s music will always endure.
Nightwish with Floor Jansen as lead singer performing Ghost River on their North American Imaginaerum Tour. This was her third show as replacement for the recently departed Anette Olzon. Recorded in San Francisco at The Warfield on October 3rd, 2012.