The first day of winter has welcomed Tarja Turunen and her fans to Milan, Tuesday, December 21, 2010 with cloudy weather, with rain and sleet, at times very cold. The scenery around Magazzini Generali, was very bleak, but it was warmed up by a group of metalheads, already queued from early in the afternoon waiting for one of the most interesting concerts of the year. The heterogeneity of the public was really amazing, there were underage girls accompanied by their parents, boys 20 to 30 years old, to entire families with children of few years only. Beautiful atmosphere to live and breathe that shows how beautiful music can unite beyond prejudice. For a delay in opening of the gates, instead of at 7pm, we are entering after 8pm, coincided with increasing intensity of rain that has made all the more unjustified additional delay hard to bear.
Immediately inside of the concert place, we notice it’s well below expectations, although we were warned that Magazzini Generali are far from exceptional in terms of space and acoustics as well as management. A railway stock is long and narrow, with pillars supporting a balcony within the sides of the runway were already small public was annoying, and when the entire hall was filled, the visibility was very reduced for those who were nearby the stage.
Going to the bathroom, I saw the singer of Kells, Virginie Goncalves, who, as any girl of public, was preparing herself for the show doing her makeup and choosing her clothes, accompanied by her assistant. This scene left me a bit puzzled, you know, I have no sympathy for Kells, even though it is a foreign band with two albums and a third one to be released soon, but at least should deserve more respect, than to make the lead singer to change clothes in public toilet, surrounded by thousands of strangers. In addition I noticed that inside the concert hall there is only one stand with Tarja’s merchandising, among other things sold at prices well above normal, surely requested by Magazzini Generali, a far higher price to give the authorization to sell and that is why at the end of the concert the singer of Kells, I saw, in the pouring rain, to sell their merchandise as a fishmonger at the market. A very sad picture.
The concert opened with French band Benighted Soul (rather unknown to most of the public), who haven’t done a great performance, also because of the bad acoustics of the hall that made the sounds very confused and almost indefinable. The same fate has fallen to Kells (french as well), even if Virginie put the whole engage to get the public involved. Both bands, however, didn’t give emotions to me. We must say though, Benighted Soul are just at beginning of their career, they do not even have a debut album, so they still have a long way to go. And what comes to Kells, even though they seemed quite prepared and talented musically, their songs are so similar to each other and without any originality and personality, moreover the parts sang in growl by Virginie were very embarrassing. There was no novelty in the songs, the proposed ones, were all more or less the same structure and, in the bad acoustics of the hall, although CD could give certain feelings, in concert Kells are completely lost. It should be noted, however, the excellent stage presence of Virginia who has not lost her passion, moving without any moments to rest.
Meanwhile, the hall had filled up almost to collapse. The people were so packed that we sometimes failed to move and in fact I noticed a stillness that I had never ever seen in a concert, perhaps because it was not just because of the shape of the hall. Tarja also did not fail in her blog, after the concert, to write how the public is less impassioned and more static than shows of the Gods of Metal 2009 and 2008 at Alcatraz in Milan.
However, the Finnish soprano, entering on stage, has wiped out the bands that played before her, another planet that is as sound as professional, for that matter in these cases the experience is felt. The technicians of the band have been made in four to be able to fix the problems of acoustics of the hall, absolutely not suitable to host concerts like this, and apraise goes to them and the great job they have done in this regard.
A long piano intro opened the dance by creating the right atmosphere for the show, the silence and the emotion have broken in a moment with the powerful attack of Dark Star where Tarja’s voice was accompanied by Kevin Chown, singer and bassist, and from there on, the show had no stops. The great musicians to follow her, in addition to the already faithful squires Mike Terrana at drums and Max Lilja on cello, at his side there were the aforementioned Kevin Chown, Christian Kretschmar on keyboards (and later the second cello) and Alex Scholpp on guitar.
From the previous solo album, Tarja has been running the powerful My Little Phoenix that has warmed the fans, then paused for a moment with I Feel Immortal appreciated by those present who have sung without reservation. Then followed by the bonus tracks from the new album, Naiad, Falling Awake, and I Walk Alone where in the chorus the fans has sung synonymous with what is beginning to remove the figure from her past as a singer “Tarja of Nightwish” to become increasingly personal, and independent.
Now here’s the first real break after 40-minute show yarn, after only brief interludes sincere and cordial greetings to the public with some spoken words in Italian to delight the fans. And here the mighty Terrana has had his moment of glory, with a drum solo to remember, that is imprinted for excellence and for the choreography that this big man always knows transmitting gives all his passion for music. The Overture to William Tell by Rossini with his mad drumming has warmed the audience giving it deserved applause that seems to never want to stop. The concert has been continued with harder Little Lies and quieter Underneath, both taken from the new album “What Lies Beneath” that live was much more exciting than on CD.
Completely by surprise Tarja gave us a medley 80s with “Where Were You Last Night” (also cover by Nightwish), “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” and “Living On A Prayer”, to continue with a moment of reflective acoustic medley with “Lappi I” , “Damned and Divine” and “Our Great Divide”, where Christian Kretschmar debuted with a second cello, which ended with the very successful “Walking in the Air”, which is always a great pleasure for the ears for people like me who has followed Nightwish from their debut album, feel it in concert together with one voice that no one can ever replace and that remains in the heart. All seemed to feel that the old Nightwish remembering them in their golden era with a touch of sadness and some tears. But there is no time for regrets, “Ciarán’s Well” and “In For A Kill” make us now return to the strong and talented reality where the voice of Tarja reigns on a genre that has been among the forerunners.
At 11:30pm, the simulated end of show does not convince anyone, we all knew there would be a sequel. After a few minutes Tarja did not wait other one breaking down the stage with another charge nostalgic, “End of All Hope” made by Nightwish and we all sang, but that perhaps was hiding a very precise message … that is, the end of hope to hear again Nightwish music in her next shows, and in fact with the advent of the new album, the covers of the songs of her old band are very decreased, Tarja is now showing to be a much more independent artist who does not need to bring up the past to prove her skill and professionalism.
The show closes with the great “Die Alive” and “Until My Last Breath”, this is the new Tarja’s era and is pursuing very good also in terms of stage presence, often criticized as being static and little involved. This time he manages to amaze even from this point of view, a great entertainer with good four changes of clothes: debuting with a long dark jacket with inset very large sleeves and decoration with Florentine lily, then change to wide and particularly black mesh glitter gold, going for a tone on tone black bodice over a long skirt, concluding with a white suit jacket and pants complete with microphone in the same color. Tarja has once again demonstrated that her concerts are “a must” to see by even the most skeptical audience, her solo career and her music has been able to unite not only lovers of different genres of metal but of all ages and to approach to this music by who was also full of undue prejudice.
My Little Phoenix
I Feel Immortal
I Walk Alone
Drum solo + William Tell Overture of Gioacchino Rossini
Medley: Where Were You Last Night/Heaven Is A Place On Earth/Living On A Prayer
Lappi I / Damned and Divine / Our Great Divide
Walking in the Air
In For A Kill
– Pause –
End Of All Hope
Until My Last Breath
Live Report by Claudia ““LaFallenAngel“ Murachelli – Photos by Cinzia Murachelli