Finnish symphonic metal legends Nightwish made a surprising stop at Poughkeepsie, New York's The Chance on their Spring 2008 US tour, along with opener Sonic Syndicate, the promising young band from Sweden. In recent times Nightwish has regularly played much larger venues here than The Chance, but in a way it was nice to see them in such an intimate setting. Though the club was not quite filled to capacity, the 400-500 or so that made it out on this Wednesday night were treated to a solid night of metal that featured the return of one of the most beloved acts in the genre. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo was on hand....
It was to be a rare 'no nonsense' night at The Chance, no local opening acts, just the main bands playing their sets. Sonic Syndicate took the stage promptly at 8:00PM and played roughly 40 minutes of their hard driving European metal-core, drawing from their two solid studio albums. The new darlings of Nuclear Blast were sort of an odd fit for this tour, but seeing as there were plenty of young females in the audience, most of whom had probably never heard the band, their modern metal style and good looks seemed to really hit home with the audience. I had seen this band before on the Amon Amarth tour, and while they had better sound at the Irving Plaza show, the band were definitely tighter and more energetic on this evening, blasting through their set that relied on a dual-vocal attack, crunchy riffs, and plenty of metal posturing. Next, I think the band's management needs to get them on a tour with other acts of their ilk, as I think that mass appeal is just a step away for Sonic Syndicate given the right kind of exposure.
The crowd was ready for the headliners, a thunderous applause was delivered as the conquering heroes hit the stage, minus former lead singer Tarja Turunen of course. After the opening instrumental interlude, new vocalist Annette Olzon walked out to a very surprising ovation, and tore into "Bye Bye Beautiful", her angelic vocals working perfectly alongside the venemous attack of bassist Marco. Though the set was heavy on tracks from the lastest CD Dark Passion Play, including spirited versions of "Amaranth", "Who Ever Brings the Night", "The Islander", "Sahara", and a heavy take on the epic "The Poet and the Pendulum", the band did dip into their back catalog. Much loved classics like "Dark Chest of Wonders", "The Siren", "Dead To the World", "Wish I Had an Angel", and of course "Nemo", were played to perfection, Annette of course no Tarja but giving her own spin on things, toning down the operatic quality and delivering these songs with more of a pop sensibility. The band as always was top notch all night, keyboard player and mastermind Tuomas Holopainen laying down plenty of symphonic passages while guitarist Emppu providing lots of crunch and virtuoso solos.
It's great to see, despite the fact that this band dismissed their most popular member, that their fans have remained loyal and accepted the change, embracing Annette for who she is and what she can bring to the table. It might never be the Nightwish of old, but as they are proving on this tour and with the new album, this is a new Nightwish that can still deliver quality symphonic metal. Hopefully they will continue to do so for many years to come.
Photos by Hayley Brooke
(Click here to View the Rest of Hayley's Photos From this Concert)
Nightwish Set List
Bye Bye Beautiful
Dark Chest of Wonders
Who Ever Brings the Night
The Poet and the Pendulum
Come Cover Me
While Your Lips Are Still Red
Dead to the World
Wish I Had An Angel