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Nightwish & Pain - Birmingham Academy - 06-11-2012 | FESTIVALPHOTO

Nightwish & Pain - Birmingham Academy - 06-11-2012



First up were Pain, on a rare visit to the UK. Singer/guitarist Peter Tagtgren is probably the only person who'd attempt to play guitar while wearing a straightjacket (with the sleeves unfastened obviously). They're an odd choice of support for Nightwish as they are so different musically, and quite a few Nightwish fans had expressed disappointment when they were announced yet again to support Nightwish in the UK. Despite this, once they started playing they did actually go down very well with most of the crowd. Musically they're a hard band to describe - I'd say its mainly industrial metal but there's also a strong electronic feel to the music too, and this really lifts the music up a level making it far more catchy and entertaining. Visually they were slightly disappointing, being very static on stage, but that's a trivial complaint really. Watching them and also watching the crowd reaction I'm certain they made quite a few new fans tonight.

After Pain came tonight's main attraction - Nightwish. With Floor Jansen replacing Anette Onlzon on vocals (only for the current tour - a permanent replacement has yet to be decided), anticipation was high, and reports from the Manchester and London dates meant there were a lot of excited fans waiting for this performance. As soon as the lights went down, the place erupted in cheers which only grew louder as the band came on. The band kicked off with "Storytime", the first of six songs from the latest album Imaginaerum, and straight away it was clear that in Floor Jansen they had found the perfect vocalist to join them - Floor not only has the vocal range and power needed but more importantly has a great stage presence. It's always slightly strange the first time you hear a song being performed by a different singer to the one who recorded the version you're used to, but despite this I was blown away by how good Floor was. She's able to handle the classical style vocals as well as metal vocals with equal ease.

The whole band look to be having a great time and after "Dark chest of wonder" Marco introduces the band with particular praise for their "Dutch angel, Miss Floor Jansen", which leads nicely into "Wish I had an angel".
The time seemed to fly by with never a dull moment. Part way through the set the band switched to acoustic mode to do several songs including an excellent version of Nemo. Troy Donockley joined the band for five songs with his pipes adding that distinctive sound that Nightwish fans are used to hearing on the albums.
After the acoustic set it was back to full power with tracks like "Planet hell" and "Ghost river". Floor's headbanging is amazing to watch - I swear she's got a neck made of rubber as a normal neck shoudnt be able to headbang and windmill that hard without snapping.
Tuomas swigs from his bottle of wine between songs (we're assuming it's only one bottle but with that impressive keyboard stand he could easily hide a mini-bar in there), and during the set Emppu is particularly active racing around the stage - the whole band seem to spend most of the set with huge smiles on their faces, which suggests it's not just the audience that's having a great time (although some of the smiles could be them trying not to laugh at the "We love Troy's massive pipe" banner that some fans have draped over the barrier).

I've seen Nightwish several times including in April on their European tour with Anette as vocalist, and despite the scaled down stage show and the lack of pyrotechnics, tonight's show and the previous night in London were by far the best I've seen them - pyros just didnt feel necessary as the show was so impressive. I don't know how they do it, but Nightwish keep getting better and better, both with their albums and with their live shows. I'm certain that after this UK tour there will be a lot of fans pleading with Nightwish to make Floor their permanent new singer, and with Floor to convince her to stay as Floor Jansen with Nightwish is a match made in heaven.

An absolutely superb night. Pain were extremely good, but frankly can't compete against Nightwish. I'll certainly try and get to see Pain at one of their UK dates early next year, and will definitely be planning to see Nightwish again at the next opportunity.

Pain setlist:

Same Old Song
End of the Line
Monkey Business
Zombie Slam
Dirty Woman
The Great Pretender
It's Only Them
On And On
Shut Your Mouth

Nightwish setlist:

Dark Chest of Wonders
Wish I Had an Angel
The Siren
Slow, Love, Slow
I Want My Tears Back (with Troy Donockley)
The Islander (with Troy Donockley)
Nemo (with Troy Donockley)
Last of the Wilds (with Troy Donockley)
Planet Hell
Ghost River
Ever Dream
Over the Hills and Far Away (Gary Moore cover) (with Troy Donockley)
Ghost Love Score
Last Ride of the Day


Writer: Anthony May
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