I really enjoy live albums and can point to any number of live recordings as having an important impact on my life, from the likes of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Live and Dangerous’, Nazareth’s ‘Snaz’, UFO’s ‘Strangers In The Night’, Twelfth Night’s ‘Live and Let Live’ and so many more. But when I came across this release towards the end of 2019 I actually groaned. Not because it was going to be poor in any sense, but out of the three albums prior to this, two had also been live. True, there had also been a compilation released, and this is the album of that tour, so it does mean there were songs being played here which had not been played in concert for many years. “I didn’t just want to pick out the most successful Nightwish songs for this tour”, Tuomas Holopainen explains. “Instead, I asked myself which songs I would play to somebody who had never heard of our band. At some point during the preparation process, I realized that I was smiling all the time. I remembered the curious, innocent boy writing all of these songs.”
“There was a lot of rehearsing before the tour began”, Holopainen recalls. “We didn't really remember how the old songs went. Floor had never sung them before, and it was also a completely different thing for Troy. I have to give a lot of credit to Floor, Marco and Troy that they're actually able to sing some of the lyrics with a straight face”, Holopainen grins. “Just take ‘Elvenpath’. I mean, it’s about taking a ride with a witch on her broomstick and warming up the sauna.” All the moaning on my part that here was yet another live album (and I love ‘Showtime, Storytime’), really is minor when realising what a great album this is. The whole band are tied together, and on hearing this it really is no surprise that the new studio release has come together as it has, as playing songs such as “Cover With Me” from 2000’s ‘Wishmaster’ would have reminded Tuomas Holopainen and Emppu Vuorinen what they were doing nearly 20 years previously, and it obviously impacted the songwriting.
Of the 21 songs on this album (and yes, I know there was a studio release between the two), only five are both on this and ‘Showtime, Storytime’. I am a little surprised they didn’t bring back “Bye Bye Beautiful”, but perhaps that is no longer appropriate and it wasn’t even included on ‘Decades’, and I would have enjoyed hearing “She Is My Sin” but this is just nit-picking to be fair. “Elvenpath” was the first song on the very first album, ‘Angels Fall First’, all the way back in 1997. Here it has been given the modern Nightwish treatment, and the crowd respond to the spoken introduction, although it must be said the reaction to the following number “I Want My Tears Back” is far bigger as the huge Argentinian audience all join in.
Well, it’s the third live album in six years, but this was indeed a special night and it is great to hear the old songs being played with such conviction, standing up well against the newer material.