May 5, 2015
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Andy Laudano
Photos by Andy Laudano
World Metal Tour Unites And Lands In Texas
The newly reopened Bomb Factory in Dallas was the place for one of the most highly anticipated concerts of the year, featuring the international lineup of Nightwish, Sabaton and Delain. All three bands have worked their asses off building a following in the U.S. the old-fashioned way: touring regularly and putting on great shows. Putting all three together in one touring package is a dream come true for most metal fans. It's also a great way for fans of one band to become exposed to two other great bands and continue their upward momentum.
The show opened with a fun, energetic set from The Netherlands' Delain. The Dutch pop metal band was formed by former Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt and features the beautiful vocals of frontwoman Charlotte Wessels. Delain's all too brief set consisted solely of material from their last two albums, 2012's excellent We Are The Others and their latest, The Human Contradiction. Unfortunately that meant nothing from their 2009 masterpiece, April Rain. Highlights included the title track from "We Are the Others," "Get The Devil Out Of Me" and the tour debut of "Sing To Me," with special guest vocalist, Nightwish's Marco Hietala.
Even before Sweden's Sabaton stormed the stage, the crowd was already loudly chanting "Sab-A-Ton! Sab-A-Ton!" The chants only got louder and longer after each song. That's because Sabaton is one of THE best live acts on the planet! It's nearly impossible to see this band perform and not walk away a fan. Part of the band's appeal is the boundless, nonstop energy they bring to the table. Then there's the great songs with insanely catchy choruses that you'll still be singing long after the show. Most importantly, they know how to truly connect with an audience. Vocalist Joakim Broden not only has a great sense of humor, but he comes across as genuinely humbled by the fan's response and truly honored to be playing for us, instead of the other way around. Favorites included "Carolus Rex" the big sing-along "Swedish Pagans," "Primo Victoria" and their traditional closer "Metal Crue," a tribute to the bands who influenced them.
Most band's would be intimidated by an opening act getting that kind of response. Not Finland's Nightwish; they knew they had an ace in the hole with their new vocalist, Floor Jansen. No offense to either of the band's previous singers, but Floor fits this band in ways neither of them ever could. First and foremost, she is an incredibly versatile vocalist, equally capable of singing the more operatic songs from the band's earliest days with Tarja Turunen to the more pop-inspired material with Annette Olzon. Plus, she has the stage presence of a real rocker and really knows how to work an audience.
Not only was this Nightwish's first time in Dallas with Floor as their singer, it was also in support of their first studio release with her at the helm entitled Endless Forms Most Beautiful. Nightwish started the show with the opening track from the album, "Shudder Before The Beautiful." Obviously the set was heavy with material from the new album, and rightfully so - it's a great album, but there were a few older gems tossed in as well. The band sounded amazing. Newer members drummer Kai Hahto and Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes, low whistle, bodhran, bouzouki) fit in perfectly with founder/composer/keyboardist/musical genius, Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen and bassist Marco Hietala.
The coolest moment of the night came after everyone left the stage but Marco, who sat alone on a stool with a 12 string and began playing a beautiful intimate version of "The Islander" before everyone later joined in. Other highlights included the title track from the new album, "Endless Forms Most Beautiful," "Stargazers," "Ghost Love Score" and the absolutely breathtaking "Sleeping Sun." The only complaint was that not even one song was played from either the Century Child or Once albums, easily two of the most popular in their catalog. Other than that it was a great show and easily one of the best shows of the year, Don't miss this awesome triple bill of metal if it comes near you!