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'End of an Era' is Nightwish's final release with Tarja Turunen on lead vocals which is why the title is so fitting. Her operatic vocals were a key element of the Nightwish signature sound and will be missed by many.
Since this was Tarja's last concert with the band, it makes it a must own for fans and newcomers alike. The concert features all of the fan favourites such as 'Nemo' and 'Phantom of the Opera' as well as some lesser known tracks which shine in a live setting.
The concert recording is of high quality with good shots of all band members but of course the focus is on Tarja most of the time. I'd describe this as a commercial recording due to the heavy use of multiple camera angles and slow motion effects here and there. I'm a big fan on the multi camera angles as you get a real feel of the whole show and the crowd response etc but the slow mo feels a little cheesy and takes away from the live show, thankfully it isn't over used.
The concert takes place at a large venue which compliments Nightwish's epic sound and you can get a feel for their large and loyal fan base. The band clearly had a good budget for the event as the lighting and pyro effects are top notch. I'm guessing not all of their concerts are on the same level as this one. Tarja manages to have a change of clothes at least 3 times during the DVD so I suspect this was shot over a couple of nights but I could be wrong.
The important part for me in a concert DVD is of course the sound quality. Nightwish have really made something special here, not only does the concert look awesome but it sounds awesome too. The issue I have is that it sounds too good. I hate to be a cynic but I'd say there is a very good chance that the lead guitar parts have been heavily enhanced in the studio since there are so few mistakes and the camera is occasionally a little hesitant to show the guitars during the complex parts and will often cut to a face shot or the crowd.
The biggest bone I have to pick is with Tarja's vocals though. It doesn't ruin the DVD for me since Nightwish is very much a commercial metal band but it is a little cheap none the less. Tarja's vocals are multitracked quite a lot during the concert in the same way they would be on the CD. So when she sings, there is a harmony played at the same time to make her sound a little better. I've not attended a Nightwish concert so I can't comment on whether the harmonies are synthed through Tuomas' keyboards like some of the background vocal parts but I doubt they would be since he's usually quite busy with other sounds. Because of this, there are certain parts during the concert in which it's easy to doubt whether or not Tarja is singing live or whether we're hearing a tightened up over dub. Her performance isn't flawless which is good since it makes it more believable that we're hearing a completely live recording. Marco's vocals seem to be pretty untouched and raw which is essential for capturing his ferocious live screams. He and Tarja seem to have a good chemistry on stage and indeed on the studio albums which makes it even more of a shame that they won't be performing together again.
The rest of the band seems to play very well and I'd like to think this is testament to their musical talents and not to studio overdubs. Tuomas in particular stands out as he manages all of the classical sounds, keyboards and possibly the background operatic vocals. The bass and drum work are fairly standard in Nightwish but again it's done very well. It would have been nice to see a bass solo, drum solo and a separate guitar composition but I guess that's not what Nightwish is about and that's fine. This is one hell of a product and it will be extremely difficult for the band to top this now that they have replaced Tarja. I'd definitely invite them to try however as once you've seen this concert you'll be wanting to see more!
End of an Era is the best footage of Nightwish at their height and I can't recommend it enough. If you like Nightwish or you've heard a track and want more, watch this DVD. It's fairly cheap on Amazon at 9.99 so it won't break the bank. You may notice that Blu-Ray version is available for around 5 pounds more but I'd advise you to steer clear of it. The Blu-Ray version is only 720p rather than the full bells and whistles that is 1080p and won't look much better since most Blu-Ray players can upscale DVDs to around the same quality anyway.
This band is amazing! Very talented and their music is simply beautiful; classical yet metal also. I think Tarja (the singer appearing on this DVD) also added something very special and unique to the band, and it is unfortunate that this was her last performance with the band (due to various disagreements). However, this was a fantastic final performance which is a great way for fans to remember the way Nightwish was.
Each band member has great stage presence and each also gets to display their own musical prowess. For those who aren't familiar with Nightwish, they are a metal/symphonic metal band from Finland consisting of:
Tuomas Holopainen - the main composer and lyric writer (Keyboards)
Tarja Turenen (vocals - operatic singer)
Marco Hietala (Bass guitar)
Emppu Vourinen (Guitars)
Jukka Nevalainen (Drums)
This DVD is a great introduction to the band as it features a great live performance of their best material in front of their home crowd at the Hartwell arena, Helsinki, Finland (in 2005). It features many of the bands most popular songs from up to and including the album 'Once', as well as their fantastic cover of Lloyd Webber's 'The Phantom of the Opera', and their great relationship with the fans and the audience's passion for the band is conveyed very well.
The set list is as follows:
Dark Chest Of Wonders
Phantom Of The Opera
Bless The Child
Slaying The Dreamer
Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan
Ghost Love Score
Creek Mary's Blood
Over The Hills And Far Away
Wish I Had An Angel
The stage set is amazing, with videos and pictures on display behind the stage. I particularly love the performance of 'Sleeping Sun' with the beautiful Northern Lights in the background - a very mystical and beautiful combination which also gives an insight into where the band draw their inspiration.
Tarja's costume changes are also interesting; she even has matching microphones! And the Jack Sparrow on Tuomas' keyboard is a great little detail!
There is some very interesting and telling backstage footage following the band on tour in the lead up to this final concert. This footage allows the viewer to glimpse into the band's life together offstage. There are very funny moments and some not so funny, which perfectly displays the ups and downs of life on the road with a band. It is also inetersting to be back stage with them just before they go on and the atmosphere really comes through well.
The DVD also features a photo gallery and can be bought at the moment from Amazon for £9.79 and HMV for £10.99. It is also available on CD and special addition DVD which comes with a double live CD.