Live review: Amorphis, Arch Enemy, Nightwish, 20-11-2015, Heineken Music Hall (HMH) Amsterdam

Amorphis and Arch Enemy could easily headline a tour, but at the HMH they support Nightwish. An interesting choice, since it marks Nightwish’s return to a heavier sound. Due to the traffic I only witnessed the last 30 seconds of Amorphis’ performance, but Arch Enemy managed to make me forget about anything else.

While the band started their set, new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz jumped on stage, blue haired and dressed in a white/black fallen angel outfit, complete with small shoulder wings. I still have to get used to her female growls, but the energy on stage and in the audience is great. The band, although ‘female-fronted’ has much harsher music then the headliner does, but a big part of the audience enjoys the set. The song No Gods, No Masters works out amazing, and does fit the moment, just a week after Paris’ 13/11, maybe even because of that the lyrics are very strong.

When the set is finished, it is time for a stage-changeover. When Nightwish starts, the energy in the crowd is full of expectation. After the only tourdate in The Netherlands was sold out quickly, this extra show was planned. It is the first Nightwish tour with Dutch female metal lady Floor Jansen as official leadsinger. For both the audience and Floor it feels like some sort of homecoming. The audience shouts for Floor and Floor in her turn gets very emotional with this attention.

But then: what about the music and the show? Firstly, this show is full of pyrotechnique! The first three songs were filled with fire, both on stage as in the songs themselves. After that, the projections on stage took their turn to amaze. Fitting well with the theme of the last CD, Endless Forms Most Beautiful. The pyro and the projections make this a total experience, together with the energy on stage. Not everything is perfect. Sometimes the volume of the vocals drops, and with some songs the projections do not match the energy of the song. On the other hand, it makes the show very real. Nightwish has a tendency to plan every detail of a live show, with the risk that it will become very automatic. The band shows it can do both: a great performance, with enough moments of contact with the audience and songs that give you the shivers. Especially Sleeping Sun and Ghost Love Score, capture the audience. Older songs like Seven Days to the Wolves and Everdream get a heavier arrangement then the original, which does the songs a lot of good.

After almost two hours the show is over. The last song is probably one of the hardest to find a good form for. The Greatest Show on Earth lasts 25 minutes on CD, with long introductions. The song is performed shorter, but still, with only Tuomas on keyboard and Troy on pipes, it is hard to believe there is no tape on the background of the long introduction…what is actually performed live here? When the band kicks in, especially in the second part, the song really touches the audience. In a way the band is preaching a bit in the very last part: we were here: showing what people do to destroy the earth, depicting the beauty of the earth, showing pictures of a lot of different people dwelling on its surface. Then again, it is part of the theme of the song. And yes, we were here. And it was great to have been there!

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