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Live Reviews : Nightwish, Sabaton @ Palace Theatre, Melbourne (14/15)/01/2013

By on January 19, 2013

After selling out their first concert at Melbourne’s the Palace, Nightwish, Sabaton and Eyefear announced a second show, and Metal Obsession were along for the ride for both nights.

Eyefear are one of Melbourne’s most established power metal bands, and have supported a number of high profile acts in recent years. As a result, their performance would have been the 6th time I would have witnessed their live show, so I skipped them. There’s nothing wrong with Eyefear’s music, or their performances, but sometimes a man’s gotta prioritise…

Sabaton are an interesting mix of Scandinavian power metal and American militarism, with a little bit of the Village People thrown in for good measure (their words, not mine). The venue was already packed on the first night by the time their set began and the crowd took to them straight away, clapping and headbanging along to their very approachable style of metal. Vocalist Joakim Broden keeps up the proud tradition of Swedish vocalists talking shit on stage (see the Hives, Opeth), keeping the crowd entertained with easy and sometimes awkward banter between songs.

Like any professional international act worth their salt, Sabaton knew the way to the Aussie metal fan’s heart – blatant patriotism. Some bands start an “aussie aussie aussie”, others wave our national flag. Sabaton played a song of their’s called “Cliffs of Gallipoli”. Kid you not. Not even joking. Srsly.

The main talking point before Nightwish’s set was of course their new vocalist Floor Jansen. Annette Olson, Nightwish’s second singer, split with the band after this tour had already been announced, so fans had reason to be concerned that they might not be getting what they paid for.

Thankfully, Nightwish have replaced her – although temporarily – with a skilled and entertaining vocalist. Floor was able to pull off the older, operatic vocals of the Tarja era material far better than Annette ever could, and sang the more recent material with energy and passion.

The set was mixed up over the two nights with a bunch of golden oldies in the mix. Ever Dream, Dead to the World, and even their cover of Over the Hills and Far Away gave their long time fans something to cheer about. The material from their latest album, Imaginaerum, got a fairly positive response. However, their jazz inspired tune Slow, Love, Slow was an unusual choice, but was the only cricket chirping moment in the set.

Apart from whenever Marko spoke. The man is a beautiful vocalist, and his sweet power metal screams had the ladies quivering in their boots (his beard dealt with the men), but when he tried to talk between songs, all the crowd got was a muffled inaudible blur, not knowing if we were meant to cheer or say “noooooo” (the obligatory “this is our last song” response).

The crowd response on both nights was electric. Even on the Tuesday night, when the top two tiers were closed off and the venue appeared only half full, the screams and cheers of the crowd were deafening.

Nightwish’s following just seems to grow with every album and every tour. Despite their recent changes, with Floor Jansen at the helm, the future of Nightwish looks bright.

Review by Matthew Dworak


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