Nightwish – Heineken music hall, Amsterdam – 19th November 2015

I arrived at the venue for tonight’s show to find a huge queue despite the doors having opened some time ago.  The reason soon became apparent – coming not long after the tragic events in Paris, security had been stepped up for tonight’s show with everyone being thoroughly frisked and bags carefully searched.  Despite the delays this caused nobody complained – instead I think people appreciated that it was done for their safety.

After exchanging money for drinks tokens (probably the only thing I dislike with Dutch music venues where in general the bars only accept tokens instead of cash), we headed into the arena and walked in just as Amorphis played their opening notes – pretty good timing, and we were able to stroll to the front and get a good spot at the barrier to one side – surprising since fans had started queuing outside the venue before I’d even arrived in the country.

Tonight’s set from Amorphis includes several songs from their latest album, Under the red cloud, as well as songs from earlier albums.  It’s a set that has been well chosen to suit the audience so it’s more biased towards their newer more progressive sound rather than the older heavier material. They go down really well with the crowd and I’m sure they’ve gained some new fans tonight.

Amorphis setlist:

Death of a King
Hopeless days
Bad blood
Silver bride
The four wise ones
House of sleep

Next up was Arch Enemy- a band I love but one that seems a surprising choice to support Nightwish with the heavy music and growling vocals of Arch Enemy being so radically different to the more melodic music and operatic or softer vocals of Nightwish.

By the time they came on, the venue was full, and the band wasted no time in getting on with putting on the best show they could.  It’s a very talented band, and with Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis on guitar then as you’d expect we get some great guitar playing, but there’s very little in the way of solos in tonight’s set, instead they use their time to play as many songs as they can.  Singer Alissa White-Gluz does an amazing job – she really is a perfect replacement for Angela Gossow and her seemingly limitless energy really drives things forward.  She bounces around the stage, leaps in the air, runs around, all while putting in one hell of a good vocal performance, and she also does a fantastic job of getting the crowd involved, whether it’s getting them to raise their fists in the air, jump up and down, or just make lots of noise.

Arch enemy go down extremely well with a large portion of the crowd in the standing area getting involved.  By the time their set ended I was wondering how Nightwish could follow that sort of performance.

Arch enemy setlist:

Yesterday is dead and gone
War eternal
Stolen life
You will know my name
As the pages burn
No gods, no masters
Under black flags we march

After Arch enemy finished, a curtain dropped to hide the stage while the crew got the stage ready for Nightwish.  When the start time came and the curtain dropped there was a cheer, but that Cher was dwarfed by the one when the band came on and started the show with a bang (literally) as the first of the pyro detonated.

From then on it was a stunningly good show both musically and from a visual perspective.   The band have been changing the setlist each night so it was impossible to predict exactly what we would hear.  Kicking off with “Shudder before the beautiful” they played a two hour set mixing material from the new album with songs from the archives. I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear “The poet and the pendulum” nor was I expecting “Nemo” to be included and restored to its full glory rather than being the acoustic version we’ve had on recent tours.

Pyro, flames, explosions, CO2 jets, LED screens, a great light show and confetti cannons all combined to make it a stunning show visually. The whole band are in great form, and Troy now plays a bigger role, playing some guitar and singing as well as playing the pipes.  Floor is visibly moved by the great reception they get from the crowd – this was her first show with Nightwish in her home country since joining the band.
Ending the show is a cut down version of “The greatest show on earth” – it’s still an epic length song, just not quite as long as it is on the album as they’ve chopped out the slowest parts and most of the speaking parts.

It’s a stunningly good set from Nighwish and its one that even fans who aren’t keen on the new album are almost certain to enjoy.  U.K. Fans are in for a treat when the tour reaches Wembley on December 19th.

Nightwish setlist:

Shudder before the beautiful
Yours is an empty hope
Ever dream
Story time
My walden
The islander
Weak fantasy
Seven days to the wolves
The poet and the pendulum
Sleeping sun
Ghost love score
Last ride of the day
The greatest show on earth

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.