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  • Apocalyptica & Nightwish @ Hartwall Arena

    21 sept. 2009, 15h38m

    Sat 19 Sep – Dark Passion Play World Tour

    If I remember right, this concert was tour finale for both Nightwish and Apocalyptica.

    Long story short, I'll gather the main points for each aspect of the event.

    Firstly, the organization just sucked. There seemed to be kind of three highlights in their agenda:
    1) Treat the crowd like a stampede
    2) Suck off every penny they have
    3) Avoid deaths inside the Arena, lawsuits are expensive

    So, they treated the crowd like they were cattle, victims for leeching and pigs in one of those highly automated profit-proof pig farms of death. We also spent almost two hours in a panic-like mess, I don't know how many got hurt in it but I know the security even used violence against the crowd, apparently without a (good) reason. No cameras/no food/no drinks policy was a pain in the ass. You couldn't even take a small juicebox bought from the shops of the hallways to the concert. That's just simply fucking with the audience, nothing more. I don't even get into detail with the exalted prices they had.

    Secondly, Apocalyptica's gig seemed bit tired. First thing I noticed was the low quality of sounds - you could only hear one instrument at a time for most of the gig. It of course depended on the location of the listener, but where I was then it sounded horrible. I also mentioned the tiredness. On a scale from 1 to 5 where 1 is total disaster, 3 is a normal gig and 5 is perfection, I'd say they deserved a 2. Sure it's been a long tour, but it seemed bit... Well, not enough. I don't know though how the supporting role affected it. Anyway, their set included only one (positive) surprise for me, the rest were easy to guess.

    They had Antti "Hyrde" Hyyrynen from Stam1na doing the guest vocals. He sucked, comparing to both likes of Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica and actually to any singer who could've possibly been there. Wasn't simply good, really.

    Apocalyptica set:

    Wherever I May Roam (Metallica cover)
    Refuse/Resist (Sepultura cover)
    Grace
    One (Metallica cover)
    I'm Not Jesus
    Betrayal
    Bittersweet
    Last Hope
    Seek & Destroy (Metallica cover)
    Inquisition Symphony (Sepultura cover)
    I Don't Care
    Hall of the Mountain King (composed by Edvard Grieg)

    I think that's quite correct, though I don't know about intro or outro.

    Lastly, Nightwish. In short I'd say they did a routine concert. Definitely not bad, but when I've seen them before they've seemed to have more energy. So on that aspect and musically it wasn't nothing special (but nothing bad either). The sounds sucked a bit during Nightwish's show as well, but it got better as the concert went on. It must have sucked to be stuck at some very distant seat, though. They promised us some surprises for this special last show, and the surprises worked quite well. "The Siren" and "While Your Lips Are Still Red" were amazing with violin, "Ever Dream" and "Ghost Love Score" were great to hear. "Wishmaster" was quite different from the original, and ended up being a nice song, but not what it used to be. "Walking in the Air" was very different from what it is on Oceanborn. I didn't really even recognize it at first, and I can't really claim that would be a good thing. It wasn't nostalgic for me in any way really, though it sounded nice. It was kind of like they would've played some very random cover song acoustic there. They played "Meadows of Heaven" for the first time there. Predictable, as Anette sung it at some point in some kind special occasion that can be seen from YouTube. I've never loved the song - it's nice and all, but the gospel parts... *brr* So it was something like "ok" for me to watch. I saw Tapio Wilska in the hallway and kind of hoped for Pharaoh, Devil or 10th Man, but no... Also the cellists of Apocalyptica could've perhaps visited on a song like Kuolema tekee taiteilijan. Well, it was pretty okay as it was anyway.

    Highlights of the concert for me were "Ever Dream", "Romanticide", "The Siren", "While Your Lips Are Still Red", "Sahara" (perhaps) and "Ghost Love Score". And the bad picks... Well, "Amaranth" was in a terrible spot, right after "Romanticide". Imagine, that energetic bastard there taking the atmosphere through the roof, the tempo and the aggression, simply the metal and awesomeness in that song... And then you get a poppish radio hit. To put it in one word: bleh. Another blaster, or a very beautiful ballad would've worked a lot better. "Nemo" suffered same fate as well, although its spot after "The Poet and the Pendulum" wasn't as bad. "Wish I Had an Angel" was predictably the last song, and I already started walking when it came. Heard too many times. I heard they played "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" as an outro (from tape) when they were bowing at the crowd. That's a song they were planning to cover on Dark Passion Play (or at least on B-side of one of its singles) but their plans stopped when the song's composer didn't allow the band to release it. So it was something quite special to see, especially if the song is not going to be released at all, ever. I don't know if the composer changes his mind, but I can't really blame him. The atmosphere on the cover is very different from original, and if he doesn't like it, well... It's okay by me. The original appeared in the film "The Piano", by the way.

    I didn't mention the emotional side yet. Between "Ghost Love Score" and "Wish I Had an Angel" there were long speeches. They thanked the crew and the crowd and such, I don't remember the exact words nor the jokes, but point was that. Then the crowd hurrayed at them really long and they really seemed to like it... They just looked back and stood there, hopefully appreciating more than feeling uncomfortable or something. That's something every Nightwish fan would've wanted to see.

    What else... Well, the stage. Tuomas was in his boat and they had these platforms on back of the stage, left and right. Emppu and Marco occasionally went there, and the violinist was there as well. The flames and the pyrotechnics were great, there were lots of bombs. We faced also two confetti rains, "snowfall" and "rain". Big bands with their toys... Anyway, that side was what you could expect, great. Lighting as well. One more spectacular thing was when during "The Islander" and "Walking in the Air" the lights were shut and the crowd held up their lighters, cellphones and cameras... It looked fantastic.

    Nightwish set:

    Intro (Finlandia)
    7 Days to the Wolves
    Ever Dream
    Wishmaster
    Romanticide
    Amaranth
    The Siren
    While Your Lips Are Still Red
    The Poet and the Pendulum
    Nemo
    Sahara
    Dark Chest of Wonders
    The Islander
    Walking in the Air
    Last of the Wilds
    Meadows of Heaven
    ---
    Ghost Love Score
    Wish I Had an Angel
    Outro (The Heart Asks Pleasure First)

    Guest performances:
    Pekka Kuusisto - Violin (on "The Siren" and "While Your Lips Are Still Red")
    Troy Donockley - Bagpipes, flute, etc. (on "Finlandia", "The Islander", "Last of the Wilds" and "Meadows of Heaven")

    And I could add something about the fans... I was in the line for 19 hours and slept on the ground with other fans. The atmosphere there was great. Of course, on Saturday we saw lot of cutting in the line and so on, but the people were singing together also outside, before the concert.

    Anyway, as a summary I state the following:
    very poor organizing + perfect concert != perfect experience

    If bands want to make everything perfect for the listener, they could look into that part as well, if they can. That kind of "pay or starve" attitude from the organizers doesn't really elevate the mood of the audience. Of course the concert is what matters the most, but that kind of exploitation policies really annoy a lot. I'll maybe look deeper into who's responsible and boycott their doings in the future.