Nightwish @ Arena Birmingham, 10th December 2018

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Nightwish in Birmingham caused a flurry of excitement through the Birmingham Live team when the tour was announced.  Could they be as good as promised?  Our photographer Chris went to find out.

The opening act tonight is Beast In Black.  They formed 3 years ago and recently recruited Anton from Battle Beast. They have a striking resemblance to Battle Beast, so fans should also check them out. They are energetic, fun and talented musicians.

The vocals are immense, so are the guitar riffs. They tell us we might see them when they are touring in February supporting their new material From Hell With Love and maybe at some festivals too.   Be sure to check them out they will blow you away.  

To my mind they have already created so many great songs.  Tonight they blitz through a 9 song set including eponymous track Beast in Black and the Blood of a Lion which both show off Yannis Papadopoulos. The crowd are truly engaged with heads banging.  They close on End of the World, its a short but great set.

Now for the main event, the band I have waited so patiently for.  We are invited to witness a moment of greatness, as we go back in time the old way with an opening video intro, including a request for us to turn off our cell phones they are not allowed – enjoy the show. 

The Finnish metal gods open up with a fantastic solo of Swanheart, which ends to huge applause as the goddess Floor (Jansen) enters in a black and gold body suit.  She dominates the stage with an aggressive but glamorous presence.  

This is followed by fire, lots of fire on stage for Dark Chest of Wonders, and the amazing Wish I Had an Angel got the crowd started, they are accompanied by more fire.   After a while the flames calm down for a few songs and Come Cover Me with its catchy backing and Floors stunning vocals show how good she really is.  

Emppu on guitar, plays with and gestures to the crowd while Marco keeps himself looking like the grand master wizard with his magic and trickery on bass. Then it gets interesting with ELAN,a hearty number with great keys and elven folk styles, I feel at home here and as its Christmas I guess it helps being dressed as an elf!!.  

Floor starts gesturing to the crowd with her finger because she wants her Tears Back.  The energy passing between the band and the crowd is immense as the whole place jumps and performs small folk dances.   The King Slayer was amazing, my standout track and crowd favourite Nemo perfect.  The band closed with The Greatest Show on Earth and Ghost Love Score before firing confetti and pyros out for one last time to end the night.

Having fire in 9 maybe 10 of the 18 song set, rivals the best fire master of all Rammstein but its suits Nightwish.  They may be elven gods but they control the elements and I can’t wait to go and see them again

This is more than a music performance, it’s a story, an exciting story, that sucks you in to the magical forest.  The visuals are immense, at heart they are a symphonic metal band but realistically they are far more.  The combination of folk metal, power metal, gothic metal, Heavy Rock, elements of classical complete with having just headlined Bloodstock Festival (yeah that one, the really heavy festival) where went down a treat.  Tonight they proved their live shows are as good as their recordings if not better!

Photographer and Reviewer: Chris Bowley 

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