[ 26.6.2008 Kaisaniemi, Helsinki ]

Due to last years Tuska line-up being much heavier than earlier years, the warm up festival presented a more melodic package, which seemed like a reconciliation for those who had to miss Tuska this summer. The warm-up gathered some 8000 people, who had to deal with heavy rain and hailstorm while Epica and Amorphis played. By the time Nightwish got on stage the sky was clear. The band didn't have this luck in Sweden Rock a few years back though, where the otherwise sunny festival decided to rain heavily only when Nightwish played. Now the tables had turned, and the weather supported their pyroshow. The only thing missing was the darkness, which falls between eleven to twelve o'clock during Finnish summer time, and the show was already over at ten o'clock.

The Dutch EPICA was the first band of the three, being a Tuska-guest for second time. They pushed a very heavy set through on their short stint with a couple of easier ones in the middle. Simone Simons had a great day vocally and the Tuska crowd, especially men, were flabbergasted by her beauty and her sexy and very seducing performance. Her red long mane moshing in circles was a fiery element on stage, she's not shy about moshing either. The band was excited to play in Finland again, although they didn't have time to stay here longer. The stormy and unpredictable weather spoiled most of their show, the lazy crowd was more concerned about the heavy rain, thunder and lightning, than focusing on a very good show from Epica. They met their fans here and the media was interested in them so it was mostly a good trip for them, but hopefully they'll get better weather conditions next time.

The ambassadors of Kalevala-metal were escorted on stage by sunbeams. AMORPHIS brought the sun to Tuska, and as the show continued, it seemed as if the weather was in alliance with them. In the past Amorphis carried the title of an unbalanced band, but the last few years has shown them as a very unit band. When they dumped most of their deathmetal influences they also lost a few fans on the way, but most still concider them as one of the best metal bands in Finland. They might not astonish with their presence much, but their songs tell their stories. Those are the stories of Kalevala, the epic poems from Finnish and Karelian folklore. The mystique of the poems is well captured to their music, their shows have an alluring sensation to them, nearly hypnotical. The guitars by Esa Holopainen and Tomi Koivusaari and keys played by Santeri Kallio set the mood to their melodic and melancholic metal, among singer Tomi Joutsen's vocals, that are both roaring and angelic.

When the band took a new turn towards the more melodic sound in the 2006 release "Eclipse", the first album featuring Joutsen, they have since concentrated more on their two latest releases live, "Silent Waters" being released in 2007. They still carry a powerful energy amongst the melancholy though, which is one reason for their success. Finnish metalheads are suckers for melancholy and raging energy, and the set covered all that. Amorphis possesses certain typical characteristics of the Kaurismäki movies (Finnish director), their simplicity and mostly inexpressiveness is fascinating and tells more stories than most motionless bands can. Of course Amorphis aren't complitely motionless, Joutsen is the most active member who sometimes seems like an incarnation of pain, but mostly moshes carelessly away with his long hair. The alliance with the weather once again showed when Joutsen introduced the crowd to "Silent Waters", a song about water, he said, and now it was Amorphis ' turn to get their share of the not so silent waters. Perfect timing from the weather all through the show, and "House Of Sleep" was a great ending for a great set.

Set included: On Rich And Poor, Leaves Scar, Towards And Against, Against Widows, Into Hiding, Silent Waters, House Of Sleep

NIGHTWISH played only a few dates in Finland in 2008, and headlining Kaisaniemi followed their lengthy world tour that continued afterwards. Nightwish gathered an exceptional crowd this year to the Tuska warm-up with various ages and looks. I've followed the bands career since their second show in January 1998 in Lepakko, Helsinki, and from those erratic days they've grown to a beautiful monster with an endless hunger still stirring up their crowd. Nowadays their shows are all spectacles with pyros, great lights and confetti. Tarja's follower, singer Anette Olzon, dresses more freely than Tarja, but her looks suit well for Nightwish as does her vocals, which still aren't a match for Tarja in the old songs.

The amazing and unusual pyros opened the show and the band charged for the first song "Bye Bye Beautiful". Nightwish didn't let down this time either, they were as professional as ever. The pyros were comprehensive, some I don't recall ever seing in their show, and the glitter bombs were exciting in "Dark Chest Of Wonders". The first part of the show went in energetic spheres, followed by "Dead To The World". Afterwards Anette took some time to talk to the crowd in Finnish, which she likes to do in each show. "Amaranth" and "The Islander" followed. The creator of Nightwish, Tuomas Holopainen, walked alone on stage followed by Marco Hietala, performing this latter serene piece together, while Anette was singing backing vocals. It's great to hear these slower pieces as well, and notice how well and emotionally Nightwish masters them live.

"The Poet And The Pendulum" is a tough nut for the band live, especially for drummer Jukka Nevalainen, who has to deal with the tempochanges and bash fourteen minutes in a row. People aren't much into long epic songs, but somehow the band pulls this through each time. Those fourteen minutes can be a bit easier for their crowd with the visual side, the confetti and pyros, but I find this song as interesting as the rest of the "Dark Passion Play" -album. The tempo and mood changes animate its spirit, and Anette has a cute way of expressing herself. "Slaying The Dreamer" is not among my favourites, but the pompous and angry mood spice up the show and cut some of that excess operatic melodrama. Marco was on vocals on few songs, and "While Your Lips Are Still Red" was an interesting addition in a setlist that doesn't change much. Again Marco did a wonderful job.

After "Sahara" it was time to sing a birthday song for guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, who reached 30 years two days earlier. The crowd was noisy and the guitarist flattered by the attention. Looking at Anette and her pixylike energyboosts one can hardly imagine her being seven years older than Emppu, and she commented on her age by saying she feels good. Tuomas is also in the younger league, but at his age has reached something to be really proud of. "Nemo" is one of his masterpieces, and this song still shoots the mood to the roof. It would be a good closing song, but there were still "Sleeping Sun", "7 Days To The Wolves" and "I Wish I Had An Angel" to come. "Sleeping Sun" has never reached its emotional level live, but this evening it dug deeper than before. The two closing songs were a sheer mixture of pyros and a chance for the crowd to really loosen it up. This was another great show from Nightwish, who still bowed down for goodbyes and left the stage with Anette's words "I love you Finland". I still wished to hear "Eva" live as well, and why not "Last Of The Wilds".

Setlist: Bye Bye Beautiful, Dark Chest Of Wonders, Dead To The World, Amaranth, The Islander, The Poet And The Pendulum, Slaying The Dreamer, While Your Lips Are Still Red, Sahara, Nemo, encore: Sleeping Sun, 7 Days To The Wolves, I Wish I Had An Angel

Report by Satu Reunanen, satu [at] rockunited.com
Pictures by Kari Helenius, carda [at] metalphotos.com
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