The final night of Bloodstock 2018 is here, and there’s a distinct chill in the air, closing the main stage are symphonic metal heavyweights – Nightwish. From the moment they were announced last year, Nightwish have been a controversial pick for fans on the forums and social media, a band known as much for their ongoing drama as for their music. Indeed tonight’s showing will be the third lead vocalist BOA has seen with the band (Tarja Turunen; 2003, Anette Olzon; 2008) as Floor Jansen takes to the, ahem, floor.
A giant flip-clock on the stage video screen suddenly appears, and begins counting down from one minute, and as the timer hits zero the band burst on stage in a cloud of smoke, straight into ‘End of all Hope’. Jansen energetically jumps around in a leather jacket, but for some reason her mic seems to be criminally quiet for the first half of the song and gives the impression that she isn’t a strong vocalist.
Thankfully, as the backdrop changes to an icy waterfall reminiscent of those hilariously kitsch moving paintings you stare at whilst waiting for your Chinese food order, ‘Wish I had an Angel’ has Jansen’s mic issues fixed and we get our first real chance to compare and contrast. Let’s not pretend we aren’t all doing it, and of course Jansen isn’t hitting the notes of Tarja, but she brings a strong, raw quality to the song. It’s different that’s for sure.
In ‘Come Cover Me’, Tuomas appears to be well and truly locked in a love affair with his keyboards and there are a whole host of expertly choreographed pyrotechnics accompanying the entire show, makes a change from the seemingly random barrage of flames some other bands seem to employ. Jansen asks “…there’s so much energy here after 3 days and boozing I hope?…” and lets us know we’re in for a trip Floor headbands. Looks like she’s having a great time. Studded dress?
Wearing a studded dress that looks a bit like a portcullis, Floor is headbanging and wind-milling her hair for all she’s worth, and gives ‘Amaranth’ a decent effort, but if you’ve spent nearly a decade getting used to Annette Olzon’s high notes, it does feel a bit weird singing along.
‘Devil in the Deep Dark Ocean’ is beautiful, with Marco calling out “Dear citizens of UK… I bring you greetings from… Finland. You deserve something nice… a love song!”, but it’s the firm fan favourite ‘Nemo’ intro that garners the biggest crowd roar. With a white curtain of rain as the backdrop and visuals of the iconic Once album cover, it’s the epic pinnacle song we’ve all been waiting for – and their prowess as one of the slickest metal bands out there is clear.
Closing out with ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ and ‘Ghost Love Score’ to a huge explosion of blood red fireworks above the stage and a billowing CGI Decades banner on screen, Nightwish leave with a wave and a quick plug for their UK tour dates. Notable omissions from the set included ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and the huge ‘Wishmaster’ – but I suppose the point of the Decades tour is to play a lot of stuff that normally doesn’t see the stage. I get it, but at a festival – I think it’s fair to say, we appreciate the hits more than the obscurity.
© Photograph courtesy of Bloodstock Festival