NIGHTWISH – Olavinlinna, Savonlinna, 15-16.08.2009

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If there is a perfect location for a certain band to perform, then Nightwish has found theirs: the island castle of Olavinlinna by the city of Savonlinna. One mid-August weekend, the band shook its medieval rocky walls for 2 days. It was an absolutely unique experience both for the band and the audience, to be a part of a concert that may just have earned the title of Most Epic Show in the history of Finnish metal music.

2009-08-15-nightwish-olavinlinna-17The occasion for this event was the Savonlinnan Puhelin Oy‘s 120th anniversary. The people behind the whole idea of this concert and the team of organizers did a remarkable job all together. The old castle was conveniently adjusted to welcome such a big amount of people at once and make their stay as pleasant as possible. Every little aspect has been carefully thought through from media instructions to security coverage. Admittance was organized like clockwork and no queues were seen.

Approximately 2,200 people (per day) were lucky to witness the event, which will be one of the brightest musical memories for most of them. Surprisingly, the audience seemed older than the usual crowd you see at Nightwish gigs. Most of them were the locals and the clients of Savonlinnan Puhelin Oy. Only a small percentage came from outside the area.

 

2009-08-15-nightwish-olavinlinna-13The band was welcomed by the loud cheers and stomping of the crowd. As Tuomas Holopainen stepped into his boat, the show started with “Seven Days to the Wolves” and ended about 1½ hours later with “Wish I Had an Angel.” Two songs from the setlist were changed for the second day. It wasn’t the best idea to have a seated audience like they do during the Savonlinna Opera Festival because there is no way that the crowd can stay put during something as dazzling and bombastic as this performance was. However, at the beginning of the show, Anette Olzon promised to have everyone up on their feet by the end. That promise was kept – during the last song only the most stubborn and tired ones were still sitting, and luckily there were very few of them. After 2 years of touring for the last album, Dark Passion Play, Nightwish showed everyone that they still can kick it better than ever, probably also being enthusiastic about their long-awaited vacation coming closer.

Olzon’s performance was top notch. She was radiant, energetic, and gave an all-out 100%. The hard work she had done fronting Nightwish and the long tour has resulted in her improving a lot as a singer and a performer. Known for her extravagant outfits, on Saturday she went out in a classic black cocktail dress that fit her perfectly and on Sunday she was wearing a black airy-fairy dress. Holopainen came on stage with the usual aura of mystery around him, sailing on his boat through the ocean of melodies. He reigned the castle with his keyboards. Marko Hietala was charming as ever, always ready to make jokes and rock the crowd. Even the walls around the stage must’ve gotten shivers from the power of his voice. The band was rather excited about playing at such a location and this could be felt in the audience. People went crazy after every song, shaking the seating platform.

2009-08-15-nightwish-olavinlinna-8Every foot stomp or hand clap echoed from the stones of Olavinlinna, amplifying the sound. However, the technicians did a great job and the band’s sound was not affected. Pyrotechnics, light effects, and the overall visual part of the show was the evidence of the high-class professional work their team does. It took 2 days to put up the stage and the tent, which was covering the whole backyard area where the gig took place. The second day of the event turned out to be rainy and nothing should’ve spoiled such a perfectly planned show.

Olavinlinna castle has survived the Russians’ invasion back in the days and stood tall over five centuries, but surely nothing so spectacular has ever happened within its walls. It took Nightwish only 2 days to bring the castle into subjection and leave a footprint on its history.

Setlist (August 15th):
1. 7 Days to the Wolves
2. Dead to the World
3. The Siren
4. Amaranth
5. Romanticide
6. The Islander
7. The Poet and the Pendulum
8. Nemo
9. Sahara
10. While Your Lips are Still Red
11. Escapist
12. Dark Chest of Wonders

Encore:
13. Sleeping Sun
14. Wishmaster
15. Wish I Had an Angel

Setlist (August 16th):
1. 7 Days to the Wolves
2. Ever Dream
3. The Siren
4. Amaranth
5. Romanticide
6. The Islander
7. The Poet and the Pendulum
8. Nemo
9. Sahara
10. While Your Lips are Still Red
11. Escapist
12. Dark Chest of Wonders

Encore:
13. Sleeping Sun
14. Ghost Love Score
15. Wish I Had an Angel

2009-08-15-nightwish-olavinlinna-1Text: Tanja Caciur | Photos: Jana Blomqvist

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