Last week, I finally was able to attend a Nightwish live performance in North America that was within driving distance (understand 4-5 hours drive) and without any severe weather (driving through the Texas-Oklahoma panhandle with a tornado watch in mind is surely not a good idea).
I attended Nightwish gig at the Diamond Ballroom at Oklahoma City (OKC as we call it). First time I attend an event in OKC, that cuts from the routine 5.5 hours I have to drive to attend an event in Dallas-Fort Worth area. Also it was a good time to take the kids out for their spring break. In brief, it was hitting two birds with one stone.
I purchased the VIP “Meet and Greet” experience back in December during one of these 50% OFF special price and since I rarely attend a gig, I thought it would worth the experience. The venue was taking place at the Diamond Ballroom, located just east from OKC:
The venue does not look that fancy from the outside but indeed was fairly big from the inside and well-designed for the indoor live performance, with ample space to fill 2000 persons at full capacity. The sound system was pretty good and not too much pushing on my ears, thats fairly important as I start to grow old :D.
The VIP package consisted of a meet-and-greet, a personal photo taken using your own smartphone (or camera), a signed poster (and anything extra you wanted sign) and a photo booklet from the North American Tour in 2015. The VIP experience was okay in terms of experience but maybe overrated for the regular price ($200 for that, whereas Epica VIP experience was also providing a T-shirt free of charge for half that price).
As I was waiting in line (we were about 40-50 persons with the golden VIP ticket), I thought it would be nice to buy some merchandising.
The hard copy of “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” was very well priced ($10) that can get some added value once signed (thats some unique experience to have a CD signed by the band) and foremost a T-Shirt as a trophy to complete my collection. Nightwish has nicely had this reproduction of Darwin’s “tree of life” illustration that doubled-down on me as a metal fan and a biologist. It was some nerd alert.
As we were waiting in line, Delain was warming up and testing their equipment (this I would talk about a bit later). What I like about attending metal concert is you meet nice and friendly people from all over the place. I friended with a guy from Venezuela (or Columbia) that was studying at Oklahoma University. A lot of people from Tulsa, OK were attending the gig as well. We were chatting, discussing, sharing playlists and thoughts until our turn came.
Then came the time to meet Nightwish. It was a great experience to shake hands with the band, one by one. Of course, they were seasoned to these VIP sessions but was great to meet in person with Marco, Kai, Floor, Tuomas, Emppu and finally Troy followed by a photo.
The time was counted but I wish I could chit-chat with Tuomas to ask him what was inspiring him to dedicate this album to Darwin and evolution. As a biologist, I got bathed in it and after all these years I still remains in awe about evolution and developmental biology. Among other fans, I also met that guy that really nailed down scientific certitude to have a nice phylogenic tree and DNA doublestrand tattoo-ed on his left arm (dear guy, if you recognize yourself in that pic please let me know :D).
As we were waiting for the GA door opening, I was chilling a bit and was able to see Delain rehearsing “Turn the Lights Off” on stage.
That was some of a blast because first time I ever hear Charlotte Wessels sing live and it also felt much heavier than the album. That was a blast for me that night.
The evening was pure awesomeness: Delain, Sonata Arctica and Nightwish that drove for over 5 hours the Diamond Ballroom into a shark frenziness.
Delain opened her act with “Sucker Punch”, followed by “Army of Dolls”, “Get The Devil Out of Me”, “Turns The Lights Off” and “We Are the Others”and the feature song “Sing to Me” with Marco on their playset.
What a great performance from the band, I was meh based on their album (because their sound is maybe too electronic and not enough heavy) but they were definitively sounding heavy. Charlotte voice is definitely refined and is simply awesome.
The next act was played by Sonata Arctica opening their act with “Wolves Die Young” and pursuing with some of their best songs such as “The Cage”, “Dont Say A Word”, “Last Drop Falls”, “Full Moon”, “The Misery”.
Oh yeah, to have some of the best powerful metal ballads sang by Tony and guitar riffs was simply awesome. Finally came the “plat de resistance” with Nightwish. 90 minutes of pure joy with the entrance of Nightwish with “Shudder Before The Beautiful”, followed by a scan of their 20-years of discography re-exploring some classics like “Wishmaster”, “Ghost Love Score”, “Nemo” as well as some more obscure to me like “I want my tears back”, “Lips are Still Red” (because I skipped Nightwish Annette-era) to several songs of their latest album such as
That was a blast! After all these years, I finally able to watch Nightwish and Sonata Arctica live performing as well as Delain. It was some of these life experience that you said worth the money.