Live Evil: Nightwish Helsinki Review / ‘Imaginaerum’ Film Review (Yeah, It’s A Double-Header)
Catherine Morris was in Helsinki last weekend to check out the new Nightwish film Imaginaerum and see the band play their homeland. Here’s what went down…
After the unexpected departure of singer Anette Olzon last month, it seemed for a moment that once again the future of one of Finland’s biggest musical exports was uncertain – that is, until Dutch chanteuse Floor Jansen (ex-After Forever, ReVamp) stepped up as a temporary replacement. With one of arguably the most talented singers in metal joining the band on their Imaginaerum world tour, Nightwish have bounced back remarkably quickly, and in a big way, as they proved when they took to the stage at Helsinki’s Hartwall Areena on Saturday night.
No Nightwish show is ever anything less than spectacular, especially on their home turf. From the spine-tingling first notes of Taikatalvi, during which the silhouette of bassist Marco Hietala sitting on a rocking horse appeared, to the fire jugglers that performed during instrumental track Arabesque, to the deafening fireworks that marked the end of the show after Last Ride of the Day, the band held their audience in the palm of their hand.
Of course, the beauty of Nightwish is their ability to create atmosphere. The arena seemed to shrink to the size of an intimate club venue during the hypnotic, bluesy Slow, Love, Slow, while the mellow, folky Last of the Wilds saw the band joined onstage by their beloved Troy Donockley, and even got the suited-up middle aged fans dancing. And if the fans had any doubts about what yet another line-up change would do to their favourite band, they needn’t have worried. After two singers with very different vocal styles and personalities, Floor’s talents perfectly encompass the best of both worlds. Not only does the statuesque beauty have stage presence – her windmilling has to be seen to be believed – but the girl can sing, breathing new life into old favourites such as Ever Dream and Ghost Love Score with her powerful soprano voice as well as hitting the same high screams as her predecessor in the newer songs.
After the show, the arena was transformed for the showing of the anticipated Imaginaerum film, directed by Stobe Harju. The film is like a window into composer Tuomas Holopainen’s head, with homages and nods to his personal influences that any Nightwish fan will spot. The story itself is about an elderly composer suffering from dementia, and contains fragmented flashbacks of childhood memories and nightmares interspersed with the present reality of himself and his grown-up daughter (who has serious daddy issues). While some scenes feel a little contrived, the cinematography is stunning and the use of Nightwish’s music is tastefully done, with the score complementing the Imaginaerum album perfectly. The fact that the band pulled this off is truly impressive, and the film is definitely a must-see for Nightwish fans.