Nightwish Live » The Chance, Poughkeepsie, US

Source: BeyondEarCandy

May 7th, 2008
Contributed by Ann Marie Reilly

The specter of doomed tours past seemed to haunt Nightwish as they attempted to renew their quest for U.S. recognition with a second pass through the states on the Dark Passion Play tour. A canceled cargo flight left their equipment in Mexico City, resulting in the cancellation of their first U.S. date on May 5th at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. As the band cooled their heels in New York City, the gear finally crossed the continent, only to be missing four cases of some of the most important equipment. Thus the show May 6th at the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT was also canceled. Wary fans now waited nervously to see if the following night's show at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY would fall victim to the curse. Miraculously, the tour demon released its grip; the gear arrived, and the band made their way up the shores of the Hudson River. The show was on.

A college and light industrial city, Poughkeepsie has its picturesque sections and its downright seedy sections; The Chance is located in the latter. The short walk from the Grand Hotel to the venue is a tour of shabby stores, closed restaurants and a gauntlet of questionable characters hanging in doorways. Tucked down a wide alleyway, The Chance has stood reign over the nightclub scene for over quarter of a century. Worn but not weary, it's layout of many levels and a generous stage makes it easy to see the bands from nearly anywhere in the venue and the sound is usually excellent.

The opener for this leg of the tour is Sonic Syndicate. A multi-faceted, gritty metal band, Sonic Syndicate won a 2005 competition with record label, Nuclear Blast to establish themselves in the NB stable. Their solid debut Eden Fire in 2003 was followed up with the well-received sophomore effort, Only Inhuman in 2005. Reviews were positive, focusing on their layered creations of dark metal themes, biting guitar riffs and atmospheric keyboards. Live, they seemed to lose the edge that sharpened their recorded productions. While their stage performance is energetic and inspired, their sound comes off regrettably generic. The many layers of guitar sequences and vocal statements seem to meld into a muddy blend of aggression that doesn't do their music justice. Nightwish fans were patient but not enthusiastic in their reception. A spin of Sonic Syndicate's actual discs is really needed to appreciate this young, talented band that has not received their due on this tour. Perhaps some extended work on presentation is in order.

Nightwish alleviates their fans chronic anticipation with a frontal assault of the naughty, but nice "Bye Bye Beautiful." Full of angry emotions yet confidently hopeful, this song has been the constant opener for the Dark Passion Play tour and it perfectly sets the tone. Past disappointments evaporate as the fans become totally caught up in the aggressive lyrics and energy of the band. Anette owns the stage like a demonic pixie. Bouncy, cute but volatile and dead-on with her delivery, this little lady does not mess around. She easily engages the entire hall with her delightful expressions and captivating vocals. The band seems well rested after their unexpected days off and they infuse each song with a great deal of passion and energy. The sound explodes from the stage, but is well modulated and tight.

Nightwish keeps up the pace launching next into "Dark Chest of Wonders", the Once tour opener. "Whoever Brings the Nights" follows, and then Anette delivers a spirited performance of "The Siren." It is songs like this where Nightwish fans tend to assess her vocals versus former lead, Tarja. Of course, she does not have the powerful operatic style of her predecessor, yet her voice is sweet, strong and clear and she gives a mesmerizing rendition of this eerily beautiful song.

The band keeps the energy high throughout the entire show, which focused naturally on selections from the Dark Passion Play album. Anette gave a thoroughly animated performance of the jaunty hit single, "Amaranth" which was followed up by a haunting rendition of "The Islander" by bass player, Marco, whose commanding vocals are positively hypnotic. Other selections from the Dark Passion Play include, the disturbing, yet majestic opus, "The Poet and the Pendulum" along with "Sahara" and "Seven Days to the Wolves." Marco got a chance to show off the more mellifluous aspect of his voice with "While Your Lips Are Still Red," the bonus track from the "Amaranth" single. A nod to past favorites is delivered with "Dead To The World" and "Wishmaster." Also included from the Once album, was the catchy "Nemo" and the evening closer, "Wish I Had An Angel."

A thoroughly engaging and energetic performance, the Nightwish show at The Chance was well worth the wait. More

than a few fans, undaunted by the cancellations, made the trek to Poughkeepsie to see this Finnish phenomenon. The

final applause was long and enthusiastic, and it was clear Nightwish was well on their way to resuming their conquest of

the U.S. metal market.


Anette Olzon - vocals

Tuomas Holopainen - keyboards

Emppu Vuorinen - guitar

Marco Hietala - bass, vocals

Jukka "Julius" Nevalainen - drums


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