Review Summary: Showtime, Storytime proves to be a superb live show, featuring the band at the top of their game, as well as demonstrating that Floor Jansen was the perfect choice for Nightwish's new singer.
Wacken Open Air is one of the largest metal festivals in the world, with nearly every high-profile metal act having played there at least once. The event draws nearly 80,000 people to the far reaches of Northern Germany every year. It's become common nearly to the point of cliché for bands to record a live album at the festival, but there's a very good reason why that is so. The crowd, as mentioned before, is huge, and the sound quality is absolutely superb. Nightwish have become the latest band to record their performance, and it certainly a good one.
The first thing one will note is the song selection. Most of the songs have come from their more recent material, with a few songs from Wishmaster
and Century Child
. While some might find this to be disappointing, they have done a very good job in not only selecting the songs, but also arranging them into a cohesive order. In addition, they bring in new elements to some of the tracks, such as adding a pipe melody to "Nemo", adding vocal harmonies to "Romanticide", and turning the ordinarily lackluster "Amaranth" into a crowd participation song. The band never lose their energy throughout the show, always putting their full effort into their performance. In spite of all this, Floor Jansen is easily the highlight of Showtime, Storytime
, demonstrating that Nightwish made the right decision in sticking with her for the long run. Jansen performs with energy and conviction, handling both the operatic songs of the Tarja era and the more down-to-earth songs of the Anette era with equal competency, as well as putting her own interpretations on the songs. Most notable in this regard is "Romanticide". While the song is one of the lesser tracks from Once
, Jansen's aggressive performance makes it one of the highlights of the set. She even adds new energy to the two weakest songs "Wish I Had An Angel" and "Amaranth". Jansen also interacts well with the crowd, keeping their focus both during and in between songs.
The best moment for both Jansen and the band is their amazing performance of "Ghost Love Score". This song admirably represents the best qualities of the Nightwish sound with its careful balance of instrumentation and emotional intensity. The band gives a top-notch performance, maintaining the original atmosphere and power. Jansen's breathtaking performance conveys the emotional substance of the song flawlessly, while giving it even more depth than it previously had. At the end of it all, it's easy to see why she states the song as her favorite to sing.
There are only two notable issues with Showtime, Storytime
. The first is that the pipes (when they are used) are occasionally drowned out by the rest of the instruments, most notably on "Last of the Wilds". The second is that Marco Hietala is at first hit-or-miss with his vocals, with "Wish I Had an Angel" especially suffering from this. Fortunately, Hietala is completely on the mark by the time "Ever Dream" comes around. Overall, these problems do little to detract from the overall quality of the rest of the show.
proves to be a superb live show, featuring the band at the top of their game, as well as demonstrating that Jansen was the perfect choice for Nightwish's new singer. This album will be easily enjoyed by both established Nightwish fans as well as newcomers. Even if one is familiar with these songs already, like I was, they are likely to find something new and enjoyable here.