Nightwish at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, California
After having their tour postponed a couple of times, Finnish symphonic metal legends Nightwish finally embarked on their USA tour. This was their first USA tour in support of their ninth album Human. :II: Nature. which was released in 2020. Supporting them on the tour was European heavy metal band Beast In Black who, just the month before the tour, had played their first USA tour. In 2021, Nightwish announced that their bassist of 21 years Marko Hietala had left the band citing his struggles with chronic depression. Filling in on bass for the tour would be Jukka Koskinen who plays bass for Finnish metal band, Wintersun. Funny enough, Nightwish's current drummer Kai Hahto is also the drummer for Wintersun. Nightwish knew that they have a huge Los Angeles fanbase and ended having not one, but two shows back to back at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. This specific Saturday night was the final stop on the tour. Even before doors opened, the huge line went around the venue as fans had been eager for a couple of years to see one of their favorite or favorite band.
For a lot of people in the audience, they had either never heard of Beast In Black or it was their first time seeing them. They came out with traditional clothing and leather from a 1980's heavy metal band. Hearing their music, you could tell how they got their influences from bands like Judas Priest, W.A.S.P. and Accept. They shred through songs like Blade Runner, Die By the Blade and No Surrender. There's no doubt that Beast In Black made lots of new fans and impressed everyone who had zero expectations. They finished up their show which was emotional with it being the last stop on the tour, bowed to the fans, then left the stage for the headlining band of the night.
The lights went out and the almost sold out crowd cheered and went into a frenzy as the percussion intro to Music started. The band members came out one by one to start the first song Noise and naturally, the last member to come out was singer Floor Jansen. You could tell from the energy in the air that fans were super ecstatic to either see Nightwish for the first time or see them again for the first time in a few years. Jansen's voice is on a whole 'nother level which easily makes her one of the best female singers in the world. For the second song, Nightwish played an old favorite, Planet Hell from their highly acclaimed 2004 Once album. The keyboard solo really lets founding member/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen shine. Aside from the beautiful music, Nightwish also had a really impressive light show to go with the music compared to a lot of bands that have generic lights from the venue. The only thing that seemed to be missing from the show was the presence of Hietala. He will be sorely missed by all the fans, but his well-being comes first. Koskinen did a great job filling in for Hietala and the fans made him feel welcomed to the band. Nightwish played many of their hits from their huge catalog which included Élan, Dark Chest of Wonders, I Want My Tears Back, Ever Dream and She Is My Sin. The whole performance from start to finish was beautiful and perfect. Jansen was as happy as can be as she would head bang and dance on stage so you knew she was happy to be performing on stage again. Nearing the end of the show, Nightwish played one of their best songs, Ghost Love Score. Clocking in at ten minutes, it is absolutely perfect symphonic metal song. Even if you're not familiar with Nightwish's music, just listening to this song alone shows off the brilliant mind of Holopainen. For the show's grand finale, Nightwish played The Greatest Show on Earth. On the album, the song is a glorious 24 minutes long. For the sake of the live performance, only seventeen minutes is played. Jansen starts the song with her beautiful and perfect soprano voice. The rest of the song followed and Nightwish lets the audience sing along to sing the final lyric of, "we were here!". The two-hour show sadly came to an end and all the band members came forward to the stage as Jansen finished up the show and sang one last time with her soprano voice. Nightwish bowed to their audience and stared in awe as the crowd cheered and cried. Hopefully Nightwish come back around real soon because they're easily one of the best live bands and the fans are some of the best people you'll meet.
Photos and review by Misael Ruiz
Beast In Black