Nightwish as a band has been through a lot over the past 8 years as it's changed, vocalist, direction, changed course again, changed vocalist again and received a mixture of adoring praise and scathing bile throughout. In 2013 major changes came through and joining the Nightwish crew permanently, Floor Jansen, vocalist from After Forever and Revamp, for the tour, and then for as a permanent vocalist along with Troy Donokle who had been working with the band since 2007 on "Dark Passion Play" with his assortment of pipes and whistles. The change has been one of the most positive forces Nightwish has ever received and this live DVD is the ultimate tribute to that, an epic tour de force of Nightwish' symphonic power and stage presence as they take on 85,000 fans at Wacken and knock em dead.
First of all - Floor Jansen, many have praised her and she deserves every bit. I'm one of those people who liked both Tarja and Anette for different reasons, they suited the songs written for them. Floor is just breathtaking, her stage presence knocks both of them out of the water, her voice is dynamic, powerful and manages to get both vocalist styles and trump them. Featured alongside this DVD is a live clip of "Ghost Love Score" from Buenos Aries in Argentina and that is the ultimate show of her skill as a vocalist as she gives it a loud, dramatic ending which is just outstanding and asserts her rightful place as one of the best, if not the best, female vocalist in the genre. And singing beside her is the underrated Marco Hietala who has sung with three vocalists and never failed to disappoint. Vocally, Nightwish are at their strongest here.
But as bitching fans on the internet often forget, the vocalist doesn't define the band and the rest of Nightwish are damn solid in this live album, playing their hearts out with chemistry, passion and smiles written across their faces. The set list is extremely good with most of the songs from either "Once" and "Imaginaerum" and a few songs rarely heard such as "She is My Sin" and "Romanticide" combined with the old classics like "Dark Chest of Wonders" and "Nemo." The songs are all outstanding and with no previous versions to compare to, songs like "Storytime", "Ghost River", "Song of Myself" and "Last Ride of the Day" are incredible to hear live for the first time. The ultimate highlight though is "Ghost Love Score" which Floor does absolute justice and is solidly performed all round, with the guitar more prominent than in the "End of an Era" version of the song. The show itself is steadily and spectacularly filmed, getting the best shots of an enthused crowd and a passionate band performing at a new height.
Included with the Wacken show is the documentary "Please Learn the Set List in 48 hours" which is one of the most interesting tour documentaries I've ever seen, although it sadly lacks Annette Olzen who, despite an unfairly negative reputation as a Pop vocalist, had a big part to play, it was her choice, but still a shame. It gives an intimate insight into one of the biggest tours in Symphonic Metal history, and compliments the show perfectly. Overall Nightwish does extremely well here, and I look forward to their future releases with Troy and Floor.