“There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” – Charles Darwin ~ On the Origin of Species
Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish took the world by storm in March of this year with their eighth studio album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful. Overcoming hiccups throughout the years with the two previous vocalists, in 2013 the band officially announced Floor Jansen as the new front woman, and Troy Donockley on back up vocals and folk instruments. After the announcement, the band hit the studio and prepared to release an album that not only earned them new fans worldwide, but impressed the loyal base the band had built over the years. With yet another massive theatrical release under their belt, it is no question why Nightwish is the most successful Finnish band, known worldwide. To celebrate, Nightwish hit the road for a worldwide Endless Forms Most Beautiful Tour with support from Swedish heavy metal band Sabaton, and Dutch symphonic metal band Delain.
This is where my story begins. April 21st was a rainy Tuesday evening in Denver, CO, but it didn’t stop one of the longest lines I have ever witnessed from forming outside of the Ogden Theater on Colfax Avenue. After finishing my interview with Tuomas Holopainen, I went for a walk outside to kill some time before the show and could not get over how endless the line was. I drive by this venue all the time, and have never seen a crowd like this. To no surprise, the show sold out and the Ogden Theater was filled to it’s capacity with barely any breathing room. My job that night was to snag some photos, so I made my way to the front of the barricades and got comfortable with the security guards and other photographers. The two square feet we were given to move around was limiting to say the least, but I was still unbelievably excited for this show to begin.
Right on time, Delain took the stage and woke everyone up with their upbeat music and high energy performance. The beautiful Charlotte Wessels captivated the entire theater, singing songs ranging all around their discography, and was even joined on stage for a guest appearance from Marco Hietala. Delain, sporting smiles all around, brought such a positive and exciting vibe to the crowd, perfectly preparing fans for the show to come.
One of the best live bands to ever hit the heavy metal scene was up next, as moving room in the theater became nonexistent. Watching Sabaton live is like watching a heavy metal workout video. There is just so much moving, jumping, running, and kicking that it made me feel guilty for the beer in my hand and triggered me to return to the gym the next day. Being the fifth time I’ve seen these Swedish men, I was just as excited to see them as I was Nightwish. Sabaton is truly not a band to miss, as they incorporate their killer heavy metal with lighthearted jokes, playful crowd interactions, and always pick out a kid in the crowd to make their night. After a fantastic set, and after the crowd felt like they just did a hour of Zumba, Denver prepared for the headlining act, Nightwish.
The stage setup was beautiful and dramatic, much like the band itself, and the energy in the theater was palpable when the intro track from “The Greatest Show on Earth” began. The moment that the members walked on stage the crowd erupted, and the music began. Beginning with an in your face couple of tracks from the newest album, “Shudder Before the Beautiful” and “Yours in an Empty Hope”, every single person there was staring in awe at the performance before them. While Nightwish isn’t quite as interactive or high energy as the previous act, the massive and larger-than-life music coming from the stage made up for any sort of vigor members may have been lacking.
In an interview I had with keyboardist and composer Tuomas Holopainen before the show, he mentioned that he liked playing the old classics, but playing newer songs was so refreshing. This was obvious throughout the night as the band played crowd favorites hits like “Amaranth” and “I Want my Tears Back”. However, a lot of the new album was covered including my personal favorites “My Walden” and “Elan”. After the set list was over, the crowd demanded an encore and in true Nigthwish fashion, they returned quite dramatically playing “Ghost Love Score” and “Last Ride of the Day”. The night ended on more dramatic chapters from “The Greatest Show on Earth” as the lights came back on and the crowd filtered out.
As my first time experiencing Nightwish live, I can truly say this rejuvenated my interest in the band. I listened to them on and off since the early 2000’s, but with certain vocalist choices I really stopped looking into their music. “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” took me completely by surprise, and I return to that album more frequently than any previous release as a whole. I am so honored to have had the ability to not only meet Tuomas Holopainen, but to see his musical talent and genius live. As the tour nears it’s end here in the United States, I can only hope that you readers had the opportunity to catch this show. Of course, the tour is not over, as it is heading back overseas to countless festivals and many dates throughout Europe later this year. But for all of you Nightwish fans that may have lost interest or hope over the years, do not miss this show. It will completely blow you away and rejuvenate the passion you once had!
Cheers to you, Nightwish!