Tonight’s gig was Tarja’s first UK show outside London since leaving Nightwish. As a result I was curious to see how big a crowd would attend, and when support band Elyose took to the stage at 7pm the venue wasn’t busy – they certainly suffered from the early start, but the crowd grew steadily during their set and I’d estimate attendance at around 700-800 which is certainly a good crowd and is similar to the crowds she draws in London.
Elyose were first up. A french metal band fronted by singer Justine Daaé, I’d only heard a couple of their songs before tonight, but I’d liked what I heard, so I was looking forward to hearing them tonight. I have to say I was impressed. Justine has a great voice and a good stage presence and does a great job of getting the crowd involved. The rest of the band put in great performances too, and they sounded superb. A really impressive start to the night – it’s just a shame that the unusually early start meant they had a smaller crowd than they deserved.
At 8pm Tarja took to the stage and kicked off with “In for a kill”. I’ve see Tarja peform live on several occasions and her voice is always amazing, but performance-wise she’s never seemed that comfortable on stage until recently, and tonight she put in the best performance I’ve seen from her – she looked happy, relaxed, confident and natural on stage and frankly put in a flawless performance.
Alongside her she has a very talented band including her long time drummer Mike Terrana who’s giant drum kit takes up a load of the space on the right of the stage. One element that you don’t get in many bands is a Cello and right from the start of the show it’s clear that it plays a key part in the sound as it adds a lot of richness to the sound alongside the usual guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. A particularly impressive part of the show was while Tarja was off-stage doing a costume change and we got a guitar and cello instrumental duel which sounded stunningly good. The band were clearly having a great time on stage and during the end part of “Never enough” while Tarja was off-stage they started throwing drumsticks backwards and forwards to each other while still playing, and the smiles and laughter showed they were having fun.
Tonight’s setlist is made up almost exclusively of her solo material, with the only Nightwish song in the set being “Wish I had an angel” during the encore – as she’s released more and more solo material the amount of Nightwish songs in the set have steadily reduced.
Tarja put in a superb peformance tonight and she went down a storm with the crowd – there was a lot of applause and cheering after every single song and despite being just 7-800 strong, the crowd were far louder than most sold out gigs I’ve been to at Rock City.
Tonight was a fantastic gig, and hopefully the great reception Tarja got will encourage her to play some more gigs outside London on her next tour.
In for a Kill
I Walk Alone
Anteroom of Death
Sing for Me
Victim of Ritual
Wish I Had an Angel
Until My Last Breath