Since the 1990’s Finland’s symphonic power metal giants Nightwish have completely dominated the scene with their larger than life orchestral arrangements, energetic live shows, and beautiful front women. Celebrating 2015’s release ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful’, Nightwish hit the road in January yet again; this time joined by Sonata Arctica and Delain. On March 16th, I was lucky enough to catch the stop in Colorado Springs, CO at the City Auditorium, a large, beautiful, building that is part of the historical district downtown. The line forming before the doors opened was seemingly endless, wrapping around multiple blocks, giving me a wonderful first impression of a Colorado Springs metal show. Though the last time Nightwish was in Denver, they played to a large sold out crowd; I shouldn’t have been all that surprised.
Dutch symphonic metal six-piece, Delain kicked off the night with a bang. This band has become known for their highly energetic performances, catchy melodies, and yet again, a beautiful front woman. Opening up with “Suckerpunch” off of the new EP Lunar Prelude, it was pretty refreshing to hear new material, as each time I have seen the band the set list has been relatively the same. As expected, the band played the fan favorites “Army of Dolls”, “We are the Others”, and “Get the Devil Out of Me”. The other new track “Turn the Lights Out” slowed down the tempo of the evening a bit, as the beautiful Charlotte Wessels owned the spotlight. As usual, it was a total blast to watch the animated guitarists Timo Somers, and the newest addition, Merel Bechtold. On a personal note, however, I hope the tour managers start to mix up the line-ups on the power metal tours. A lot of these bands, and all of the similar big names are starting to tour together far too often. I hope they start adding some lesser known bands and really help the European power metal scene flourish here in the states. There’s far too many power metal bands out there to only have the same six or seven tour here.
That being said, I will never complain about seeing Sonata Arctica live. Hypocritical or not, saying that this is one of my all time favorite bands is an understatement. Hell, my boyfriend looks identical to keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg, and I am not ashamed to admit it. For those that know me here at Metal Wani, you know that I have an entire sleeve of tattoos on my left arm dedicated to this band. I was finally able to show the band the last time they headlined a tour through Denver, and meeting them was a total dream come true. This night, being able to photograph my idols, was yet another evening I’ll never forget. The band was the happiest I have ever seen them, despite being on tour for a couple months at this point. They played a very short set, at only seven songs, and I wish they were given more time. “The Wolves Die Young”, “Don’t Say a Word”, and “Fullmoon” were some fan favorites on the set list, but unfortunately, no “Wolf and Raven” or “Victoria’s Secret”. Still, vocalist Tony Kakko dominated the stage, smiling every step of the way, and every second was completely enjoyable.
Nightwish came on stage to Hans Zimmer’s “Roll Tide”, followed up by the explosive “Shudder Before the Beautiful”. In total, the band played 16 songs covering every full length release, featuring fan favorites like “My Walden”, “Élan”, “Nemo”, and “Ghost Love Score”. Kai Hahto, known for his drumming in Finland’s own Wintersun is filling in for Jukka Nevalainen on this tour, though most Wintersun fans are probably just wanting him to finish Time II instead. Vocalist Floor Jansen owned the stage as usual, with her statuesque presence, fantastic smile, and phenomenal voice. As anticipated, the band put on a fantastic show, complete with recordings of Richard Dawkins featured on the new album. Unfortunately Colorado can’t be as lucky as the crowd in London that got to see Dawkins himself come out on stage to narrate his part, but I love his recordings nonetheless.
In all actuality, this was probably the happiest I have seen all three bands on stage. Their smiles were contagious, for myself and for all those around me. Every time I see Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, or Delain, it truly gives me a new outlook on why I love power metal so much. If you are able to catch either band on their next go-round here in the States, don’t miss it! This tour runs until March 23rd, followed by dates in East Asia, Russia, and Belarus. Nightwish can also be found playing numerous European festivals this spring and summer. As Tony Kakko said in his speech between songs, it is the fans that are keeping live music alive, so do your part! Support your scene!