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Nightwish / Children Of Bodom / Sonata Arctica

Live Review

Venue: Ratinan Stadion, Tampere, Finland

Finland’s biggest band electrify their home turf

The air has been hanging heavy with a brewing storm for the past 24 hours, but in the end the only thunder and lightning comes from the stage. Tonight, Tampere – a mid-sized city of 200,000 in southern Finland – plays host to the biggest headline show by the most successful band the country has ever produced. And with it comes a manmade spectacular that matches anything nature could conjure up.

This isn’t quite a homecoming gig for Nightwish – not when its members live in half a dozen different cities spread across Finland, Sweden and the UK – but it may as well be. Nearly 25,000 devotees of a band who sit at the top of the symphonic metal food chain have been drawn to this modern athletics stadium. Most are Finnish, but by no means all. There are British accents, German accents, Japanese accents, even a handful of fans from the Philippines. If you’re looking.

It’s not a perfect setup. For starters, alcohol is only available in a proscribed drinking area at the back of the dusty central field, which encourages the more thirsty audience members to knock back, then head to a more visually accommodating part of the stadium (on this evidence, no one weaves happily quite like a Finn). And, if we’re being honest, we could have done without the presence of SONATA ARCTICA [5] opening this all-Finnish three-band bill. Sure, frontman Tony Kakko is an old mate of Nightwish mastermind Tuomas Holopainen, but there’s something underwhelming about their anaemic power metal. The likes of X Marks The Spot and 8th Commandment strive for the operatic but fall well short, while Sakko ladles on the overwrought posturing like someone auditioning for an am-dram version of Hamlet. Worst of all, there’s a man playing a keytar onstage. That’s a straight red card right there.

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