It’s been somewhen back in the late 1990’s when I’ve been zapping through the evening’s TV program and got stuck on MTV. Watching that station had always been quite unusual to me but this time the hard riffs of guitars hit my ear as well as an angelic voice. This was the hour when I became a huge fan of one of the (in my opinion) greatest Power Metal bands of this world: NIGHTWISH
Now it is 2018. Slightly more than two decades have passed since the little metal head in me heard and fell in love with beautiful voice of Tarja Turunen. Two decades in which I grew older. The world around us all changed and so did Nightwish. And thus the band named their tour: DECADES
An unfair comparison
What I am going to do now, is a bit unfair. Unfair out of two reasons. Nightwish changed the singer twice and whenever a band changes its singer it is in the nature of the things to compare those singers. But this is most often an unfair comparison because only very seldom the new one can subjectivly match the singer one “grew up” with. And in the case of Nightwish Tarja Turunen, the one and only original set quite unreachable standards.
Still I will compare them, for in that comparison lies the secret of my experience at Nightwish’s DECADES tour concert in Berlin. I will compare Tarja Turunen with Anette Olzon and Floor Jansen and I will do it with out any rating.
Of course every change had been a deep cut. When Nightwish announced the split from Tarja, I thought it the end of the band, because who should replace the classical educated voice of Tarja?
Indeed Anette Olzon had been no replacement to me. Anette is different and Nightwish with her had been a whole new band. Anette has a beautiful voice but it hasn’t the range of Tarja’s. Comparing them both I always said and still say that Tarja has has the far more beautiful voice (due to her classical education) but Anette is far easier to listen to.
The songs of Tarja had musically always been quite complex and became complexer over the years. When Anette joined the band, the music changed. It’s been basically the same still, symphonic Power Metal. But the sound became a bit less complex in the arrangemant but more powerful.
And then came Floor Jansen, former voice of the dutch Power Metal band After Forever. Again a change? What will happen to Nightwish now? At least Floor has her own experience in that genre. It sounded promising.
So if Tarja has the more beautiful and Anette the easier to listen voice, where stands Floor? I daresay she’s somewhere between them. Floor’s voice sounds more “classical” than Anette’s but she lacks the a bit the range and fullness of Tarja’s.
Listening into Nightwish’s latest album didn’t convince me to buy it. I was even a bit disappointed. It was nothing new, wasn’t Anette’s powerful music, wasn’t as voluminous as Tarja, wasn’t something of its own. “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” hadn’t been bad but it didn’t catch me. Still that didn’t keep me from seeing Nightwish live once again.
And here it goes
If I didn’t enjoy, you might ask, the first Nightwish album with Floor Jansen’s voice, why did I wish to see them live? Was there a difference? Was it worth it?
It was. I’ve seen Nightwish the first time back in 2012 at their “Imaginaerum” tour. Or was it 2013? I actually don’t exactly remember. “Imaginaerum” had been the last Anette Olzon album (which of course I didn’t know or expect then) and though I still stuck a bit in the old times – you never get the first voice of a band out of mind – I had to see them. And so my beloved and I had a great evening with a great show.
Even if an album doesn’t catch you, things are far different with live concerts. And so, as I learned that Nightwish will come to Berlin, I bought two tickets to see if the experience repeats itself. It did.
Still without rating them I must say, that Tarja’s voice is unmatched. Neither Anette Olzon nor Floor Jansen reach it. But the DECADES concert had been a kind of time travel, for it was about all the old songs.
As strange as it might seem – though Floor lacks Tarja’s volume and range of voice, she did a nearly perfect job. Hearing the old Tarja songs went as well as hearing songs originally sung by Anette Olzon. Floor did absolutly great, when she had the time to sing every note to its end, having a voice, that might not fit to opera but still for musical. Just in the moments she had to push a bit harder, she failed a little bit, not fully reaching the power of Tarja. It seemed hard for her to switch between her classical and her metal voice. Though singing the Olzon songs Floor had the power that fascinated me in “Dark Passion Play” and “Imaginaerum”.
I believe it hard to replace two very different voices and to sing their different styles. But Floor Jansen, being in between Tarja and Anette, did it and still brought something of her personal own into this songs.
But a concert is not just music, it is also show. A concert is the musical performance of the people on stage as well as the stage itself.
A bad example for a concert had been Manowar in 2007. Three man stood on an empty stage. Having had no reference the music had been ok to me but it hadn’t been a great show. If it was a show at all…
Nightwish’s “Imaginaerum” concert had been a great show. And DECADES put something on top. When the light in the hall went out, a picture had been projected onto the back of the stage. So far, so normal. Most bands do this nowadays. The difference are the pictures themselves, which were vivid in there way, which where fantasies matching the songs. And the difference had been the way, the pictures had been projected, involving the whole stage in a way, that sometimes the drums seemed even to be floating in the air.
So as I spoke of a kind of time travel, this was not only about the songs. The whole show was a travel through time and space, taking me back to earlier times and away to other places. And that’s why I want to thank Nightwish for that special evening. And I want to thank the band for the DECADES of their music.