Live Reports

Nightwish: Stronger than Covid and cancer!

Finally. Nightwish have played their soldout headliner show at Lotto Arena in Antwerp this 20 November. A show we thought would never happen: postponed by the pandemic during 2 years, then the cancer announcement from Floor Jansen a couple of weeks ago. But nothing could stop them and they played one of their best shows ever!

On the surface, life seems back to normal. For the first time since 2019, we are in the middle of a huge marathon of shows. This show in Antwerp with Nighwish is just one more shows during this busy time in between Stick To Your Guns, The Hu or Evanescence. Just to mention to shows on the days around. So we could almost forget tonight was an event postponed 2 times because of the pandemic. So, yeah, we can say it’s finally happening!

Turmion Kätilöt had the difficult job to open this evening. A band that almost nobody knew and their 25 minutes set won’t be unforgettable. That’s the least we can say. This industrial metal band from Finland didn’t have the best sound to make their proofs either. But for what we’ve been able to listen to, it wasn’t really special. Maybe in better conditions, it could have a better effect but not tonight.

Main support on this tour, Beast In Black have already toured with Nightwish in Europe before and have already a strong reputation. Their both shows in Antwerp (Trix Main Room) and Liege (Reflektor) in February prove it, such as the many t-shirts seen in the audience.

It’s with their singer Blade Runner that the almost-Finish band launched the show. We say almost Finish because of their Greek singer and Hungarian bassist. From the first notes, the band signed on Nuclear Blast confirmed thy’re not just a small opening act but a band with already a strong career and know how to make the crowd move. Well, at least, sing and clap their hands. Because, during the whole night, we won’t see any moshpit, ciclepits or any movements in the crowd. But that wasn’t a surprise at all.

Beast In Black @ Lotto Arena – 20 November 2022 // FreakMike Photography for Ctrl Alt Music.

During the next 40 minutes, Beast In Black played some of their most famous songs from all their 3 albums, with a bit more from their debut full-length “Berserker”. We can easely see their influences from the 80’s, coming from their singer who looked and sang like Judas Priest or the musicians who loved to play with some choregraphies sometimes like heavy and glam metal bands from the same decade. Yes, it sounded/looked a bit cliché sometimes but it worked and a large part of the audience had a great time. What else?

Set-list: Blade Runner, From Hell With Love, Dye By The Blade, Beast in Black, Moonlight Rendez-vous, One Night In Tokyo, Blind and Frozen, End Of The World.

After a 30 minutes change-over with a beautiful backdrop to hide the stage, Nightwish made their appearance on the beautiful intro of their latest album followed by Noise as opening song. Many things to mention after only one song. First of all, it’s their first tour in Europe since Marko (bassist-vocalist) left the band which results in a few changes for the places on stage: Floor as only main singer is now in the middle of the stage with Emppu (guitarist) and Jukka (new bassist) on her both sides. Behind them, we find Tuomas (keyboard) in the middle with Kai (drummer) and Troy (vocals – additional instruments) on both sides. This first song, even more with Storytime as second song played, confirmed it: Floor is the real leader of the band on stage now. No doubt about that! And what is even more impressive is she got an important surgery a few days ago to remove a breast cancer. Finish a American tour, get a huge and sad news, get a surgery and go back on stage for another strong headliner tour: all of this in like 4 weeks. Who could do that?! Getting back on stage after such a long time because of the pandemic is already hard and emotional for an artist but with that: damn, tonight was emotional. For her. For them. For us.

The first highlight of the show was definitely Dark Chest Of Wonders, one of the biggest songs of the band. First of all, because of the song itself. Then because of Floor who left the stage after the previous song (Sleeping Sun) in tears, thinking about all the obstacles she had to go through the last months/years. And then, of course, because they played it perfectly with tons of pyro on stage and a great crowd singing this hymn. For Harvest played right after, Floor sang it sitten on stage. She looked a bit tired and it’s fully understandable. Her voice sounds still so great, with a insane way to go very high but lost a bit of power since the last time was saw her before Covid, in 2018.

Nightwish @ Lotto Arena – 20 November 2022 // FreakMike Photography for Ctrl Alt Music.

On I Want My Tears Back, Floor asked the audience to wake up a little and dance. That’s a party, come on! Even the other musicians tried a few moves. One of the funniest moments of the evening. One important thing to notice here: Troy sang the parts from Marko… and did such a great job! Too bad he had to wait someone left the band to get even more place. He might have less power in his vocals than Marko, he has a beautiful voice.

Of course, just when we thought she felt a bit tired, Floor delivered us a strong performance on Nemo and How’s The Heart. From that, the show continued to get higher and higher on intensity, energy and production effects on stage.AfterThe Last Ride Of The Day, one of the 3 songs played from the insane “Imaginareum” released in 2013, all the band members congratuled and enjoyed the moment! Reassured? Just happy? An emotional moment we don’t get? Anyway, it was great to see a friendship moment between all of them because until now Emppu seems very lonely on stage… but less than the new one in the band, Jukka. He could be not on stage, it would have the same effect sadly…

Set-list: Intro, Noise, Storytime, Tribal, Elan, Sleeping Sun, Dark Chest Of Wonders, Harvest, I Want My Tears Back, Nemo, How’s The Heart, Shoemaker, Last Ride Of The Day, Ghost Love Score, The Greatest Show On Earth, Outro.

Nightwish delivered one of their best shows ever in Belgium – at least since Tarja left. Better than we thought and it’s even more epic after what the band – especially Floor – went through the last 3 weeks. Congratulations to them for this sick show we’ll remember for a while!

Nightwish @ Lotto Arena – 20 November 2022 // FreakMike Photography for Ctrl Alt Music.

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