mercredi 7 mai 2008

Nightwish : Merci so much ! (english)

(Version française : ici)

Nightwish 6.4.2008(photo credit: Nighwish France)

Well I am late... The Nightwish concert at the "Zénith" (Paris) was on sunday april 6th, 2008, that is one month ago. I will however tell about this memorable day.

Let's start from the beginning... Leaving the house at 9am to take the kids to auntie Débo, then food and go to highway A1 to Paris. Arriving on the highway ring the GPS goes down but don't worry, we could do it even before the invention of those gadgets. Moreover the Zenith is easy to find and we manage to arrive without problems. Let's go to the parking:
- You're coming for the Zénith?
- Yes!
- The "Night fee" is 6€, but only from 4pm on. It is 3:30 so it's the "whole day fee" at 10€.
- Ah?

It's not really possible to turn back with all the people ahead and behind, so we do anyway. After all, with all the fuel and highway fees, 4€ is nothing... It's the price of a beer around here.

After getting the car parked, we go to the Zénith entrance... Already quite a few people are waiting, but we're not going to spend 4 hours queuing. We decide to go and take a drink at the "café de la musique" right there.

FlyersRight after recovering from reading the prices list, we realize that outside snow and hail are awaiting! Not encouraging for the waiting in front of the doors! Finally we get out around 5:30pm (the snowing calmed down) and, after swallowing some sandwich, we get to the Zénith entrance. The queues is quite longer than before, and we begin the everlasting wait (we've seen longer though) with the sound of very near "Djembés".

We'll remember a long waiting in a nice atmosphere, and a large collection of various flyers (sample right here). The usual crooks are there to try and buy tickets in order to resell them more expensive (one of them had a bundle of banknotes that contained at least a few thousand euros!). Also near the end of the queue, a good dose of snow/hail on the corner of our faces. Luckily, the opening of additional gates speeds up the process and we finally enter the hall around 7pm.

Quick glance in the hall... the merchandising is this time quite abundant (not like in 2004 where everything was sold out in no time). Quite a few persons around the stands but we won't succumb this time: the minimum price is 35€ for a plain t-shirt! We'll find better on the net, or even on the parking outside. Entering the show area, we head towards seats not too high, a bit on the left (but right in front of the scene). Another waiting period, more comfortable this time. Down there the standing area is filling rapidly, and the seats are almost all occupied. Tonight the room is quite full.

Quite monotonous waiting, punctuated by the cries of candy vendors and by ambient excitement. Right before the beginning of the supporting show, a screen comes down from the ceiling to show us 'eally nicely targetted ads, like Walt Disney films, hair gel "stutu pour scucu vos checheux" (stupid french ad slogan in the text). Abundantly laughed and hooed by the audience, with reason.

Pain Setlist
Same Old Song (L1)
Eleanor Rigby (L1)
End of the Line
Zombie Slam
Nailed to the Ground
Just Hate Me (L1 L2)
On and On (L1)
Shut your Mouth (L1 L2 L3 L4)
8pm. Finally the lights go down and the supporting band comes on stage. It's the swedish guys from Pain, a band - led by Peter Tätgren - which I barely knew about. The least one can say is that those guys have quite some energy! Right from the start of the first song, they take over the parisian audience and almost trigger mass hysteria. One of the greatest moments of their show, their cover from The Beatles's song, Eleanor Rigby. Already one of my favourite songs from the bugs, the version Pain is playing tonight, while remaining very close to the original on the melodic side, has an incredible energy. The chorus is repeated in unison by a crowd gone mad. Unfortunately I did not find on youtube a video that makes justice to their interpretation. Their set goes on with always sharing this energy with the audience and ends with a completely hallucinating shut your mouth. Pain really scored tonight and gained many fans. The bands seems to keep a very good memory of this concert too if you read this post on their blog.

After a 45 minutes show, Pain leaves the stage to a bunch of roadies that get the stage ready for Nightwish. The band finally arrives around 9:15, under the cries of a properly hysteric crowd.

Nightwish setlist
Intro (L1)
Bye Bye Beautiful (L1 L2)
Dark Chest Of Wonders (L1)
Whoever Brings The Night (L1)
The Siren (L1)
The Islander (L1 L2)
The Poet and The Pendulum (L1)
While Your Lips Are Still Red (L1)
Amaranth (L1)
Sahara (L1 L2)
Dead To The World (L1)
Nemo (L1 L2)
Rappels :
7 Days To The Wolves (L1 L2)
Wishmaster (L1)
Wish i Had An Angel (L1 L2)

Video reconstruction: L1 L2 L3 L4
Then begins an unforgettable, 1 hour and 20 minutes long, concert. Quite short but so intense! The band begins with Bye Bye Beautiful that emits an always communicating energy, a chorus that's screamed in unison by the audience... Then follows Dark Chest Of Wonders, first occasion to compare Anette et Tarja on one of the main titles from Once on which Tarja was singing. To my opinion, Anette does an extremely good job on Tarja's usual performance, even though adjustments and modifications were done in some places - most notably more ancient songs. Pyrotechnics are used, perfectly synchronized with the music, and give a visually perfect result.

Whoever Brings The Night follows, very nicely played (with a chorus "All your love is a lie..." screamed by the crowd), as well as another title from Once, The Siren. Another title composed for Tarja that Anette takes over while modifying the melody, it was a successful adaptation.

The Islander is the moment for Anette to leave Marco singing and playing accoustic guitar, together with Emppu (accoustic guitar too). A very strong moment for a very emotional title. Then comes THE moment of this concert, the epic The Poet And The Pendulum. By the way, after this The Islander rather calm, a wave of pure hysteria crosses the audience at the announce of this anthology title of symphonic metal ; it's the main track of the album Dark Passion Play and it is also on stage. A perfect interpretation, in which energetic and more calm and emotional phases altern. At the end of this title, Marco and Anette publicly thank Tuomas, placed in the pursuit light, for having composed such an impressive song.

This time, Anette and Emppu leave the 3 other boys on stage to play, as a world first time live, the track While Your Lips Are Still Red (see here). Let's recall that, while not being an official Nightwish song, this excerpt from the finnish movie Lieksa! soundtrack is present on the Bye Bye Beautiful single edition. Visually very successful with a red light around the musicians and musically perfect, this was another great moment of this concert.

Anette and Emppu then come back and the titles go on :Amaranth (second single from Dark Passion Play), Sahara (the daily aerobic moment according to Anette), Dead To The World (the only title from Century Child that was played tonight, with a very well managed duo between Marco and Anette), Nemo... And already Anette announces the show ending soon...

3 more titles are played. First 7 Days To The Wolves (very good one, with nice screams during the chorus) then Wishmaster. This song extracted for the album with the same name, is, by far, the most difficult one for Anette, for it was composed and written with Tarja's voice in mind. Anette sings it one octave down and with a different melody in some places. The result is good, but it confused a part of the audience - you can read it on the net. At the same time, we all knew Anette and Tarja were different, the lyric kind of singing being unavailable to Anette's rock voice.

The concert beautifully ends with Wish I Had An Angel, again from Once, a true release of energy and visual effects.

After a long standing ovation the band seems to really have enjoyed, we get out of the hall and return to our vehicle on the parking. There snow awaits us, as well as the usual vendors : posters, t-shirts with obviously unbeatable prices. Ah, it seems they are the same as those who were reselling tickets...

After one houre (!) waiting to finally get out of the parking, we get to the highway ring and head back home, a 2h travel under the snow...

All in all, it was an unforgettable concert and night. The comparison between Anette and Tarja being inevitable, I will say, and despite what others might say, that Anette made it very nicely. Some people will never admit Nightwish can exist without Tarja and will always long for that period. To my opinion, musically speaking, the titles played were very close to the "Once" period, which was already very different from the "opera" period (Wishmaster and before). In that sens, replacing Tarja with Anette, despite the circumstances, made sense. Anette would obviously had trouble singing tracks from Oceanborn - none was played tonight by the way, and none from Angels Fall First either, but one can feen the band wishes to follow the new musical track anyway, already begun wth Once. Almost all tracks played tonight were chosen in the last two albums, Once and Dark Passion Play. No Sleeping Sun, played too often, and that's good.

Having seen Nightwish on stage in September 2002 (Élysée Montmartre, Paris) and November 2004 (Zénith de Paris, see here), I can also afford to make a comparison between their different parisian shows. To this regard, this 2008 concert was far more perfect than the previous ones, be it on a sound level (the bass was much better mixed than 2004 and did not crush all the rest, Marco's singing was cleaner and more mastered), on the visual level (pyrotechnics were there, we missed them in 2004) and relational. In this regard by the way, the comparison between Anette and Tarja definitely turns to the advantage of Anette, who most noticeably makes efforts to speak French (sometimes in a very funny way, like this "Merci so much") and dédicates a song (The Siren) to the french fan club, whereas Tarja, much less comfortable, did in this plan the bare minimum. Let's add the musicians did not drink or smoke on stage, this is always good.

All in all, it was a great moment in the life of a fan...

Do not forget to check the videos in the frames around. Sound is rarely good and the videos are not DVD quality, but they give a good idea of the whole atmosphere. Don't forget either the official french-speaking fanclub's website...

Actuellement joué : Whitesnake - Burn - Stormbringer
via FoxyTunes

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