On Wednesday, Nightwish took over the Carnegie Library Music Hall in Pittsburgh, PA, marking their first trip to the Steel City in the bands 20-year career. It was apparent before the doors had even opened, that most of the crowd had been eagerly waiting most of those 20 years for their chance to be enchanted by the kind of music that Nightwish have become so famous for.
The night kicked off with an always-too-short, but incredible set by the Dutch band Delain, who had just released their new EP Lunar Prelude the prior week. In a show of confidence with their new material, Delain played all three new studio tracks off the EP during their eight song set, including “Suckperpunch” and “Turn the Lights Out;” a song inspired by Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novel series. The fans were also treated to a semi-rare rendition of “Sing to Me” of their last album The Human Contradiction, which featured guest vocalist Marco Hietala of Nightwish. Vocalist Charlotte Wessels demonstrates a connection with the audience that is equally fun and playful as it is captivating and at times enchanting. Additionally, this tour features the first appearance of the bands newest addition on guitar, Merel Bechtold. Delain closed out their set with “Not Enough,” to which the crowd enthusiastically agreed. It’s a rare thing to see an opening act command headliner-worthy attention from another band’s fan base, yet Delain is accomplishing this night after night on the last several tours through the US.
The mood carried right into another powerful set from Sonata Arctica, of Finland. Being every bit the seasoned veterans of their craft that Nightwish are, they took us through a captivating set of songs kicked off by “The Wolves Die Young,” the only song featured off their current album Pariah’s Child. The rest of the set largely consisted of hits from their 1999 debut Ecliptica including “My Land” and “8th Commandment.” Vocalist Tony Kakko led the audience through the set that continued to keep the theater at full attention. By the time their short set was through, they had left the crowd wanting more, but also in full anticipation of what they had come for.
Finally, after what could easily have been a complete package between Delain and Sonata Arctica, Nightwish arrived to bring Pittsburgh what they had been longing for. They kicked their set off with “Shudder Before the Beautiful,” the lead track from their current album Endless Forms Most Beautiful. If you’ve never heard of Nightwish before, do yourself a favor and play this track before you even continue reading, you’ll thank me.
Nightwish continued through the night with a sixteen song setlist that was balanced well between showcasing their current album (current vocalist Floor Jansen’s first album) and their classics. Highlights included “Storytime” and “Last Ride of the Day” from their previous album Imaginaerum. While Floor has proven herself to be a more than capable vocalist, she really goes the distance on the classics such as “Nemo,” “Ghost Love Score” and “Stargazers”, displaying a range any long-time Nightwish fan would simply smile in awe at. The night was capped off by selections of the 18+ minute Richard Dawkins-inspired epic “The Greatest Show on Earth.” There was no question, most in attendance agreed as they left the venue. Nightwish and company have been selling this tour out night after night and wrap up the tour March 23rd in Tampa, Florida. Sonata Arctica and Delain will continue on for several dates in the US following the wrap of this tour.