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  • Nightwish with Lullacry @ B.B. Kings NY (8.22.04)

    To say that the level of electricity was high for Nightwish’s return to New York City would be an understatement. The show had gone on sale several months ago when I first purchased my tickets and it sold out within the month. The timeframe was around February or so when I got my tickets for the show that was in August. Impressive to say the least, yet I guess with the band being from Finland this early sale is required to generate the proper interest to cover the costs it will incur. When Nightwish first visited, it was a one-night only appearance at Brooklyn’s famous L’Amour (now since closed). Now, they have returned on a full USA Tour with fellow Finnish rockers Lullacry.

    The show started at a prompt 8:00pm with Lullacry hitting the stage with their more rock and roll oriented sound rather than progressive power metal that is Nightwish music. Without being too critical, I was a little disappointed in Lullacry live. I felt the sound was too low at points (which could have been the venue) and a little muddy. The drums were miked in lousy fashion and instead of rich tones all I heard were dull thuds. It was hard to hear the guitars sometimes in the mix or Tanja’s vocal was too high. It was never equal and that drives me crazy. However, the band seemed energized and enthused to be playing in New York for the first time. Singer Tanja (a vision of beauty indeed) screamed and wailed through their music. The group played mostly songs from their debut release “Crucify My Heart”. Among these numbers were: L.O.V.E. Machine (a WASP cover), Demagod, The Fire Within, Don’t Touch The Flame & Alright Tonight”. I missed a few minutes of the set so don’t have the complete list, and also am hoping this was just an off night for them as I have enjoyed many songs on the CD. I am always willing to give a band a second chance in case my initial impression is not all that good.

    A short 30 minutes later the lights would dim and Nightwish would return to the stage in New York. The crowd roared its approval as each member arrived, Jukka, Emppu, Tuomas and Marco…..followed by the lovely goddess of operatic metal Tarja. She looked even better than she did in their most recent video for “Nemo”. The capacity crowd maneuvering around the venue to gain a better view of the band. Personally I don’t like the way B.B. Kings is laid out for a metal show, as it is long from side to side and not front to back. Makes it a tad weird to see from some angles. I lucked out and parked myself to Emppu’s side. Lucky me, Tarja made many visits to the side.

    The group opened their set with “Dark Chest” which was nice and heavy. I did find much of the newer material to be in this vein. Dramatic and moody at times. The band showcases their skills on it and I cannot wait to own a copy of this CD. Towards the middle of the performance, Marco announced that Tarja needed to take a break and they would be having a special guest to play with them. At that point Jens Johannsen formerly of Yngwie Malmsteen band and Stratovarius joined them onstage to play the keyboards for Megadeth’s “Symphony Of Destruction”. I wanted to make mention that he also played with them last year when they took a similar break during their set. So he must travel with the band on adventures like this. Marco handled the vocal chores on this tune. Not bad, but not Megadeth. I would also have preferred to hear another Nightwish song rather than this, the first of three cover tunes that they would perform this evening.

    Marco while the bassist, seems to do much of the talking. He let us all know that we will all be able to own the new CD “Once” around October 5th when it comes out on Roadrunner Records. The band was until recently on Century Media, but I am unaware as to the terms of the group changing labels relatively quickly.

    Here is the complete set for you to examine: Dark Chest, Planet Hell, Come Cover Me, The Phantom Of The Opera, End Of All Hope, Nemo, Sleeping Sun, Symphony Of Destruction, Bless The Child, Every Dream, Higher Than Hope, Wishmaster, Over The Hills And Far Away, Dead Boy’s Poem, Slaying The Dreamer, I Wish I Had An Angel.

    If you ask me, I felt the group focused on too many new numbers rather than their older tunes which many of this audience would never have seen live. Let’s face it, Nightwish material is not all that easy to obtain here in the United States but perhaps that will change with the new record company signing. The pending US Release might also be why they chose to stick with newer material.

    I thought a couple of Marco’s comments were funny. In this venue, across the back bar is the letters spelling BB KINGS. He remarked that if they changed the BB to VI we would have VIKINGS which they were. He is a funny guy and he seems to enjoy doing this sort of banter with the band.

    On the set’s completion and after good night was yelled, the band remained onstage bowing to everyone and shaking hands for almost a good ten minutes. Clearly Nightwish appreciates the level of support that the US Audience has given them and it was cool of them to remain about. I have been a fan of this band for about 2 years now, and have been lucky enough to catch them on both New York appearances. I recommend fans try to get tickets if at all possible for they will not be disappointed.

    Read more about Nightwish on their homepage and right here on this site.

    Ken Pierce

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