When I was planning to attend Tuska during my vacation last year, the concert that sealed the deal for me was this one. I don’t think anywhere else in the world I would be able to see a show of Nightwish, Amorphis and Epica! At least not in a festival bill. So I had to take advantage of this and attend this concert no matter what. And it was also a perfect fit in my traveling schedule since I could attend the Lacrimosa show in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the next day take a train to Helsinki, Finland for this show and the Tuska festival.
After arriving in Helsinki, we quickly found our hotel and left our backpacks there, since the concert was scheduled to start 4:00 pm. We arrived at 12 pm and had 4 hours to figure out how to get to our hotel, find something to eat, find the place we had to pick up our concert tickets (next to Kampi shopping center) and find the site of the concert (which turned out to be right next to the train station where we arrived). We made it on time and were standing in line to get to the concert area in Kaisaniemi Park right on schedule.
The stage area was world-class level, like in many ‘big’ concert or festival, and that’s what I expected from Tuska (this show took place in the same place Tuska was going to happen during the next few days). The weather was kind of weird that day, since it was very sunny when we arrived in Helsinki, but it started to get clouded, and a bit cold.
The first band of the evening, to my surprise, was Epica. By this time, it started to rain, so I was not able to completely enjoy the beginning of their set. However, when the rain stopped we got closer, so we could catch the show from a better angle and watch the band perform.
Epica’s performance was great since the band put a lot of energy to it, and they all coordinated their head banging in several parts of their songs, getting all the crowd into it. By this time, the place was not very full and not very many people were paying attention to Epica. But it did not stop the band from giving it their best effort, even with the rain and the cold weather. Simone’s vocals are always great in their albums, and her live performance was no exception: she delivered every song with studio-recording quality, with her exceptional charisma on stage. Their set was pretty short in my opinion, since they played for 35-40 minutes and that was it!! I and other Epica fans were calling for more, but it did not happen.
After Epica, it was time for Amorphis, but not before a 10-20 min break to set everything up. This time we made it over to merchandise booth where we purchased several items from the Tuska festival (to avoid lines in the next few days) and let me tell you: I’ll never complain again about paying 20 dollars for a tour t-shirt, since here all the t-shirts were 20 EUROS!!, yep, and at that time the exchange rate was 1.6 dollars per Euro, so I cried a little bit inside and shelled out the cash for the goods.
Now Amorphis is ready to go… and I’m about to realize my dream of 14 years of watching them perform live. The adrenaline is flowing and they kick start their performance with Leaves Scar and I’m blown away. Amorphis is ten times better live than in their albums, in my opinion. I was greatly enjoying their songs specially when they started Against Windows but then the skies go dark again and it starts HAILING!! So people run to find cover and only some hardcore people stay up front. Luckily, it did not last for too long, so I could go back and freeze (I was wearing a t-shirt since it was sunny and warm when we left the hotel) while enjoying the show. I was surprised that they did not have many old songs in their set list because they mainly focused on their newer material. Their performance flew by. Since I was extremely into it, I did not notice time fly, but I remained unsatisfied because I did not get to see them perform Black Winter Day, however, as for my first time watching Amorphis, I was completely content and it was well worth the waiting for this day.
After my high of watching Amorphis, I was interested in seeing Nightwish perform with Anette Olzon as their vocalist. I’ve seen Nightwish before with Tarja and I was always very pleased with their concerts.
By this time the concert area was 3 or 4 times fuller than at the beginning of the evening, and for my surprise, the crowd was very diverse, and by “diverse” I mean parents and their kids, metal heads, and grandparents. The typical crowd that I would say attends a regular pop or rock concert.
The time for Nightwish to hit the stage came and they did it in such a fashion and energy that only great performers do. Their set list started with Bye, Bye Beautiful with great pyrotechnics and lights show. After reading mixed opinions about Anette’s performances with Nightwish, I was waiting for this concert to determine it for myself. While Anette’s live presence is undeniably very energetic and it matches her bandmates efforts, the old songs sound funny with her voice, since it’s very different from Tarja’s classically trained voice, but they have been adjusted to fit her vocal style.
The band’s on-stage chemistry is great and they seem to have fun while playing their songs. All the members look very comfortable with each other and even joke with each other during the concert. All the songs are perfectly executed and the set list is perfectly designed to flow from one song to the next one, picking their best hits from all their albums. The energy that the band has on stage is clearly transmitted to all the audience, since there were many kids and parents singing, as well as lifting their horns up, yes, you read it right, I saw kids, parents, and even older people raising their horns up in the air for Nightwish. It was clearly weird, but it was understandable since Nighwish’s show was very amazing and everybody was so much into it.
This concert was a great warm-up before Tuska. I was obviously satisfied with the sound and the location of the event. The 3 bands performed at their best level and all the rain, hale, and cold weather were all worth resisting. After this show, I was more pumped for Tuska festival than before.
Evil double rainbow at some point of the evening