Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Nightwish / Sabaton @ Fillmore Silver Spring 5/14/2015

I went to see Nightwish's last stop on their Endless Forms Most Beautiful tour ($35) at the Fillmore, Silver Spring. This was the last stop on the tour. I saw Keddy, Martin and Vicki, Lauri and Danica, Bridget, mari, Dorothy, Paul and Christine, Patricia, ETHAN, Russell, Tom, Scott, Marie and Rolland, and Dylan and Deidre! I know Lacy, Chris Crazy-Wolf, Spencer, and Ray were there but I didn't see them. I was so pumped when this show was first announced, an then extra amped when Sabaton was added! I'd been waiting for this excellent lineup for months!

The place was sold out. Perhaps OVERSOLD, based on how hot it was, how many people were smushed on the lower level, and the insane line to get in that was so slow and cause Delain missing. A great show to bring to the Fillmore, but I think doors really would need to be opened up an hour earlier, realistically.

Sabaton again lets me down with shirt designs

Delain with their silly shirts
There was a ton of merchandise, much of it was Nightwish's, who took up the entire front area. Sabaton had a setup on the inside of the venue near the right bar, and Delain had one nestled between the stage and the bar. I think there was another merch station on the left side of the stage, nestled near the bar, but I think it was more Nightwish stuff. I believe one insider mentioned that the tour manager demanded multiple merch stations for Nightwish... as many shows I've been to, the only times I've seen multiple stations were at much larger venues (ex: Jiffy Lube Live). They slashed prices down to $10 for their tour shirt, so I grabbed one of those. Their other shirts were normal price ($25). Delain and Sabaton had their shirts normal price ($25), unfortunately. There were also various drumheads, CDs, some DVDs available as well.

Just a small taste of the volume

So when I got there before doors, I saw a long line about halfway to the garage I parked at. I was hungry and needed to eat, so I went to do that, figured I would return closer to Delain's start time (7:30), and be fine. However, after running into various delinquents (Keddy, Martin, Vicki, Marie, Rolland, Paul, Christine, and of course Ethan), we made our way to an EVEN LONGER LINE which was longer than it was before doors! I was a bit miffed because I was doing the math and figuring that I would miss at least part of Delain due to this gross mishandling by The Fillmore.

Consolation Charlotte Wessels from last tour
When it was all said and done, I MISSED DELAIN. I heard a little when we walked in front of the door, but that's it. THAT'S IT. I was a bit mad because I arrived in time, but was refusing to stand in line all that time. So that was the worst part. That and it seemed that the Fillmore oversold the place (this was sold out, but more so, more packed than any other sold out show I've been to here!). After Sabaton ended, there was a bit more breathing room, but still it was uncomfortable and even too warm during most of the show. I don't know how to properly explain the fury without photographic evidence, but I do know I waited pretty much all of Delain's set in line.

This really IS the Art of War

Sabaton would come on a little later than their billed time of 8:20, and the anticipation was paramount! I grabbed Russell and we weaseled our way to what we thought would be a mosh friendly area. And then after the "March to War," we started pushing people for "GHOST DIVISION" and kicked it into overdrive!  Unfortunately I was massively dehydrated after that, and had to escape to the back until Nightwish. Sabaton was, of course, amazing. They had 50 minutes, but it seemed to go by so quickly. They had a predictable setlist, with some new songs, no real complaints except it was too short! Oh and I guess I still am not too big on "Swedish Pagans." We got the standard Sabaton humour with the set as well. There was a short "YMCA" sing along, a "Run to the Hills" tease, and frontman Joakim Brodén grabbed a guitar and started to play "Smoke on the Water." Basically high energy from start to end! Maybe some of the synth was a bit out of the mix at some point, but otherwise the sound was amazing.

Just Singing

After about a half hour, the lights went out and the Finnish symphonic metal legends Tuomas and the Nightwishes made us "Shudder Before the Beautiful." I'd last seen them with Anette Olzon, whom fans either loved or hated. After Anette's sacking, Floor Jansen joined the fold as the new singer, albeit allegedly only for the initial tour. Floor's got a more operatic style than Anette, who was a bit more 'poppy' (again, some enjoyed, others despised), but also does some more 'regular' singing and even harsh vocals (ex: "Yours Is an Empty Hope").

Floor's Outfit, blurry

There was a small light show, with the coloured lights changing depending on the song. The nasty and intriguing smells of BO, perfume, ass, sweat, beer, and fried food were permeating the sold out crowd (that did seem a little thinner after Sabaton stopped).There were no costume changes (surprisingly), but a ton of backdrop changes (one friend remarked that it was more than King Diamond!). Floor wore an odd mix of clothes- a corset with shorts, boots, and some sort of frontless skirt. I don't think anyone was complaining! She sounded great, and maybe only sounded a bit out of breath once or twice. Her best songs were newer songs like "Weak Fantasy" and "Sleeping Sun" was incredible live of course.

Bonus Wonder Woman from Darwyn Cooke's Justice League: The New Frontier

She is still slightly over 6 feet tall (more in heels I guess), and was like a real life super heroine, Wonder Woman or She-Hulk sprang to mind. I think she's a great role model because she's the frontwoman, she's got that great voice, and is up there headbanging with "the boys" that she towers over. Probably a woman can have a more coherent thought about that.

Troy, Floor, and Emppu. She really is an Amazon

The diminutive Emppu Vuorinen on guitar was dwarfed by Floor when he was even slightly near her. He did do a couple excellent solos, but for the most part was really more of the background than anything else.

Troy w/ some Monkey Friends

Other newcomer (well, as a full fledged member, as he has guested before), multi folk instrumentalist Troy Donockley,was also present on this tour. His involvement was limited to a few songs, or so it seemed- a lot of times his instruments were not audible, drowned out by the METAL or Floor or Marco's voices. He also looked a bit tired, sitting on his stool on the side of the stage. I don't know how effective he is as a full fledged member of Nightwish, but I did enjoy his folk instruments when I could actually hear them (ex: "My Walden," "Alpenglow").

Don't Make her Angry!

 Marco Hietala (bass and vocals) was using a double bass, and got a bit of spotlight with his amazing voice on the not so amazing "Islander." The crowd ate it up tho, which is fine, but I just don't think its that great a song. He's still a great singer, and seemed to have a lot more singing than last time. He sounded pretty great, and I believe is still underestimated. Need to check out more TAROT.

Tarja Jr. Floor Harassing Tuomas

Nightwish mastermind and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen was on the left side of the stage, letting Marco and Floor do all the talking for the band (which was pretty expected).  Without him, Nightwish wouldn't be, so he can do what he wants on stage. I was kind of surprised he didn't have a top hat or anything (just some guyliner).

You can kind of see Kai
Drummer Kai Hahto (Wintersun, Swallow the Sun) was covering for Jukka Nevalainen, who had has some issues with insomnia. He sounded loud enough to me! Thankfully we didn't get any drum solos (but perhaps a drum intro that was a tad bit too long on one song).  Don't get my wrong, I love Wintersun, but I really don't love drum solos.

The cast (note the dude in drag 4th from the right)

At the end, on "Greatest..." almost all the members of the other bands came out to celebrate! One member of a band was in drag, with either Charlotte Wessel's or Floor's extra corset and some makeup. He got a huge hug from Floor. Everyone looked like they were glad that the tour was finally over, but also a bit sad that it was. They left the stage after the song, and then Nightwish did their quasi encore.

Weak Setlist Fantasy

Setlist wise, you can't please everyone. They were heavy on the new album (predictable, and perhaps a good move to promote it and Floor as the new singer), 7/11 tracks were played. They pulled out some old school tracks like "Sleeping Sun" and "Stargazers," arguably the best tracks of the evening (although I loved "Dark Chest..." and "My Walden")! I think I would have started pushing people if they played "The Riddler," "The Elvenpath," or especially deep cut "Crownless" (obviously since this was the last show of the tour, there was little to no chance of that, looking at the setlist beforehand). As I thought "The Greatest Show on Earth" was not as advertized, and "Last Ride..." kind of sucks, I thought the ending could have been improved, but the positive energy from the people who apparently have listened to those songs way too much overpowered me and I still had a great time. I also thought "7 Days to the Wolves," although having wolf in the titles, was still not a great song. Again, only my opinion, because the rest of the crowd seemed entertained.

Good bye!

Overall: it was (performance wise) an AMAZING show. The number of people, the temperature,  the obscene wait, and of course MISSING DELAIN made this show an exercise in patience and tried my even temper. It was well worth the wait, but I would have swapped out a few songs ;3

Next Show: SAXON


Sabaton (8:24- 9:14)
  • March to War (tape)
  • Ghost Division
  • To Hell and Back
  • Carolus Rex
  • Swedish Pagans
  • Resist and Bite
  • The Art of War
  • Night Witches
  • Primo Victoria
  • Metal Crüe 
Nightwish (9:49 -11:45)
  • Shudder Before the Beautiful
  • Yours Is an Empty Hope
  • Amaranth
  • She Is My Sin
  • Dark Chest of Wonders
  • My Walden
  • The Islander
  • Élan
  • Weak Fantasy
  • Storytime
  • 7 Days to the Wolves
  • Alpenglow
  • Stargazers
  • Sleeping Sun
  • The Greatest Show on Earth (Chapter II: Life; Chapter III:…)
  • Ghost Love Score
  • Last Ride of the Day