Nightwish – February 24, 2016 – Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, Homestead, PASaturday, 27th February 2016
On quite the sold-out show streak, Nightwish played what will probably be their most subdued and curious show of the tour in Homestead, PA, which is located right outside of Pittsburgh. Reason being, the Carnegie Music Hall is an old-style theater with all seats (remember that), making it hardly the suitable venue for a metal show of this magnitude. Patrons of all ages were in attendance, some qualifying as toddlers, naturally situated right behind DR and his wife. Surely they wanted to sit; so did everyone else. It was hardly the raucous, spell-binding event it should have been. Such is the proverbial toss-up when playing Pittsburgh.
Dutch crew Delain were up first. Vocalist Charlotte Wessels was decked out in a revealing outfit, exposing her mid-drift (think of the children!), but such are the necessities in being in a band like Delain. Their formulaic, albeit mildly catchy tunes still place the band firmly in the mid-tier of the female-fronted symphonic metal subgenre, so it’s often up to Wessels to up her game on the visual end. Still, the band got things started in appropriate fashion with “Suckerpunch,” the current lead single from their new Lunar Prelude EP. Marco Hietala from Nightwish joined the proceedings on “Sing to Me,” while “Not Enough” closed out a set list that eventually saw the throng rise to their feet to what amounted to a standing ovation.
Sonata Arctica got roughly the same amount of air time as Delain which was odd – the Finns have been around for much longer and have a significantly better track record. Anyway, Tony Kakko was his usual flamboyant, show-y self, decked out in a scarf and some rather bulging biceps. (He must work out.) Two cuts from the band’s 2014 Pariah’s Child effort – “Wolves Die Young” and “I Have a Right” were aired, leaving the rest of the set to times of yore, including the manic “8th Commandment,” ballad “Last Drops Fall,” and “My Land.” Closing out with “Don’t Say a Word,” Sonata Arctica made due with the lackadaisical crowd, finally eliciting some participation at set’s end.
Surprised at the number of kiddies in the audience, which shows just how far Nightwish’s reach extends these days. This was the band’s first time in Pittsburgh, earning a well-deserved full room, to which Floor Jansen immediately summoned to their feet. Everyone obliged, thankfully. Lots of cuts pulled from Endless Forms Most Beautiful, most notably “Shudder Before the Beautiful,” “Yours is an Empty Hope,” the fantastic “My Walden” and even better “Weak Fantasy.” Jansen is as you would expect, a commanding presence, headbanging and gliding across the stage, carrying herself like few other frontwomen do. The rest of band traded smiles and nods to one another, especially during “While Your Lips Are Still Red.”
With so much catalog to plow through, Nightwish didn’t totally forget about their marvelous early period, with “Bless the Child” and “Stargazers” getting a go. The always-climatic “Ghost Love Score” led into “Last Ride of the Day” and the extended “The Greatest Show on Earth,” which brought the house down. Granted, had this been any other venue, Nightwish would have done that far earlier into the set, but the band’s ultra-professional and formidable live presentation was more than capable at overcoming such obstacles. After all, no one does it better.