As a band that has been the pioneer of a metal genre that had influenced thousands of bands around the world, and whose fans are counted among millions worldwide, Nightwish, is considered one of the best metal bands around the world. With the release of their eight studio album Endless Forms Most Beautiful, the band started a new era not only on their career path, but also in their musical legacy. Recently they finished a North American tour where they play live for the first time many song out of that new album.
Seeing Nightwish live is always a total delight no matter the circumstances, I have had the chance to see the band performed with every lineup since they started touring North America back in 2004, and every time it has been a different experience, but I was quite excited to see them live for the second time with their new members Floor Jansen & Troy Donockley at the show in Tempe, AZ.
I arrived around 6pm, and the line to get in felt like a mile long, there was a lot people looking forward for this show, so that got me more excited about this show, around 7:30 pm Delain kicked things off with an amazing but short performance that warmed the crowd for what it was coming, Sabaton was up next, and their style somehow it fitted perfectly the night’s mood.
Now, it was time to see what this Finnish sextet had for us this time around. Their set list this time around it was highly dedicated to Endless Forms Most Beautiful, so we had the chance to experienced songs like Shudder Before the Beautiful, Yours Is an Empty Hope, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, My Walden, Élan, Weak Fantasy, Alpenglow, and The Greatest Show on Earth, It was a lot new material to digest to be honest, but if you were a fan of their new album this set was right up your alley.
Of course, there was more than new songs, their setlist also included old songs from the Imaginarium and Dark Passion Play eras like Amaranth, The Islander, Storytime, Ghost Love Score, and The Last Ride Of The Day. There were also some classics like She Is My Sin, Ever Dream, Sleeping Sun, and Stargazers. so I could say it was a fairly balanced set list aimed to please the fans that got into the band in their different eras.
One of the most interesting things about Nightwish‘s live shows is that no matter how complex and big their music is in their albums are, they live performances always are bigger, and visually more complex than what you get from their records. Overall, it was great to see the chemistry of the band, and how the new songs bonded each of their individual talents along with the Nightwish trademark sound.
The Age Of Metal had the pleasure to speak with Tuomas Holopainen composer/keyboard player of Nightwish about the tour, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, and some questions provided by fans of the band.
The Age Of Metal: Hello everyone, this is Miguel with The Age Of Metal. I am here with Tuomas of Nightwish, How are you doing sir?
Tuomas Holopainen: I am doing excellent really, having a good day here in Phoenix.
TAOM: You have almost 10 dates to go on this tour, including this one. How has been the tour so far for Nightwish?
TH: Oh! it’s been really good considering that it was a 18 month break, when we finished the last tour and started this one. So the routine wasn’t quite there, but since New York, since the first show its been going better and better, and last night in L.A when we played The Greek Theater it was a top 3 show of all time for us, so definitely going into the right direction.
TAOM: Now what are the difference do you see on this tour (besides the obvious ones) compared with the ones you have done in the past?
TH: We had a some wonderful tours with the previous line up as well, so this is equally good as the ones that we had during the best times in the past, so its not that much difference. The venues are a bit bigger, the whole organization is a bit more balanced. I think the stamina of the band when it comes to staying up real late every night has gone down radically, so a bit more sleeping this time, but yeah is just good times.
TAOM: I notice that you guys added some old songs to the set list. Were there any other old songs that you were consider adding to the setlist for this tour?
TH: At some point for sure, but the set list as it is now just feels really good for all of us, and everybody favorite songs are in there, its in great balance so we don’t really feel the need to change it radically at the moment. But, yes there are some plans to bring some of the old songs and maybe some new songs that we haven’t play before also to the setlist at some point.
TAOM: Let me go on record and congratulate you for Endless Forms Most Beautiful, definitely its one of the top albums of the year, to be honest with you.
TH: Thank you.
TAOM: There is anything that you would wanted to add to the album and for X or Y reason it wasn’t there, or didn’t get in there?
TH: Well, I would liked to include the song Sagan into the CD as well, because it fits to the theme of the album, but the limit of the length of a CD is 80 minutes and the albums is 78 minutes as it is now . So one song was required to be left out and Sagan was the first choice of the band.
TAOM: Besides putting together a massive track like The Greatest Show On Earth, what was the most challenging things at the time to make this album from your point of view as a composer?
TH: As a composer, definitely the song Our Decades In The Sun that was the most difficult thing to do, because the subject of the song is so intimate, important and delicate. I just didn’t get the music quite right, I was really happy with the lyrics, but I just didn’t find the right notes. And then Marco gave me a demo CD of a chorus and a riff, and I thought ‘That’s perfect, that’s it, spot on’. But, that took a long time to really nail, but other than that everything was really smooth.
TAOM: Now, you released a solo album last year. Are there any works, music, ideas for a continuation of a second album?
TH: Not really. Its all Nightwish. Well, this solo thing is something that I don’t really fancy. I don’t see myself as a solo artist, but to do a thematic album about Scrooge McDuck doesn’t really fit into Nightwish, and it couldn’t be fair towards the other band members because they are not so attached to the character and the books. So, this one time I decided to go solo, maybe it’ll happen sometime in the future that are certain things that don’t fit into the Nightwish concept, but I really don’t see it happening any time soon.
TAOM: This is a question that came out after I talked to some Nightwish fans. Someone came out with the question that if you ever consider re-record any of the old albums or at least a compilation with Floor Jansen?
TH: Absolutely not. It would be disrespectful, it would give a message that we feel that they could made in a better way, which I don’t think. I even thought that remaking Sleeping Sun was more or less a mistake at some point. Well not a mistake, but just not a good idea. Whenever you record a song, an album you do them with full force, with full heart, and they are an image of the time that they were made, and they should remain like that, so I think it would be a travesty to go a do those things with Floor again. It’s a whole different thing live, and live recording, but to start from scratch do them all over again its just disrespectful would be the word.
TAOM: Out of all scientists out there that you could write a song about, why Carl Sagan?
TH: It’s such of big hero of mine and his Cosmos series from 1979 and 1980 made a huge impact on me, just huge, and I really like him as a character as a person as well. There is some kind of warm on him that I really admire.
TAOM: This is another question that came out from fans, and they were wondering: How do you get your creative juices flowing, what is your regular creative routine?
TH: You just have to be emotional inspired by something, whether is an event, whether is a movie or a book, or happening in your own life, falling in love, being really pissed off about something. Just as long as you have this emotional need to get the stuff out of your head, and then just try to make it into a story, make it into a song, that is the best I can describe it.
TAOM: Talking about the movie ‘Imaginarium‘ which was an amazing cinematographic event for Nightwish, would you be inclined to do another film?
TH: Never say never, but I highly doubt so because if you thought music business was tricky, try movie business, it’s on a different level and we were such small fish in a huge lake, it was a very challenging experience, and I am very proud of the result and really happy that we did it, but I don’t see us doing another one.
TAOM: Now, Tuomas closing up what is next for Nightwish for the rest of the year after finishing with North America.
TH: well, the festival season which goes on for about three months, and that is follow by a South American tour including Rock in Rio for the first time, I can’t wait for that. Then we have an extensive European tour starting in November, and that is gonna end in Wembley Arena on the 19th of December, then we have a Christmas break, and then continuing January 16th first Australia, then all kinds of stuff that I don’t really know about yet.
TAOM: Tuomas, thank you very much for the time and the Interview
TH: Thank you very much.
Nightwish North American Tour 2016
Feb. 19 – Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
Feb. 20 – Webster Theater – Hartford, CT
Feb. 21 – Metropolis – Montreal, QC
Feb. 22 – Music Hall – London, ON
Feb. 24 – Carnegie Music Hall – Pittsburgh, PA
Feb. 25 – LC Pavilion – Columbus, OH
Feb. 26 – Royal Oak Music Theatre – Royal Oak, MI
Feb. 27 – Rave – Milwaukee, WI
Feb. 29 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
Mar. 01 – Burton Cummings Theatre – Winnipeg, MB
Mar. 02 – O’Briens Events Center – Saskatoon, SK
Mar. 03 – Winspear Center – Edmonton AB
Mar. 05 – MacEwan Hall Ballroom – Calgary, AB
Mar. 06 – Wilma Theatre -Missoula, MT
Mar. 07 – Showbox SoDo – Seattle, WA
Mar. 08 – Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
Mar. 10 – Knitting Factory – Reno, NV
Mar. 11 – City National Civic of San Jose – San Jose, CA
Mar. 12 – The Grove – Anaheim, CA
Mar. 14 – Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ
Mar. 15 – City Auditorium – Colorado Springs, CO
Mar. 16 – Uptown Theater – Kansas City, MO
Mar. 18 – Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
Mar. 19 – Aztec Music Hall – San Antonio, TX
Mar. 20 – New Orleans Civic Theatre – New Orleans, LA
Mar. 21 – Iron City Live – Birmingham, AL
Mar. 23 – The Ritz – Tampa, FL