» Tarja 2008 05 27  
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Reviewed by David
Special guest: Doug Wimbish, Passionworks
City: Malmö, Sweden
Venue: KB
Date: 27 May 2008
Doug Wimbish set length: 20 minutes
Passionworks set length: 45 minutes
Tarja set length: 85 minutes

Doug Wimbish/Passionworks

As a real crowd warmer the bass player of Tarja's band, Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), did his own little show. He is a top-notch musician, no doubt, but his compositions are more of, well let's say … experiments, than hits. He was joined by the rest of the band for the second half of his set, which made us realise that they are all great musicians - as if we didn't knew that before.

Passionworks are more of dark, slow pop rock than goth metal. I cannot say that it falls into my alley at all. The singer Harriet had a 'large and strange cap with bear ears'-thing on her head, pants that went up to her arm pits and a jacket with chains and spangles. I didn't really understand the meaning of that, either. So I will not dig deeper into these acts, but rather go straight to the main attraction of the evening.

-- chalices of 10

(sorry, no setlist)


Tarja is the queen. I just wanted to straighten that out first and foremost. But at the moment she is a fallen queen without a throne. She reigns with her majestic appearance alone. While Nightwish is doing pretty well with Anette Olzon and Dark Passion Play, they still miss their prime lady live on stage. Both as a charismatic front woman and a singer - especially when it comes to the old classics.

Tarja on the other hand is doing quite well live, with excellent back up musicians such as Mike Terrana (Masterplan, Axel Rudi Pell), Doug Wimbish (Living Colour) and Max Lilja (Hevein, ex-Apocalyptica). She definitely has her impressive voice intact (and she looks as beautiful as ever by the way). But she lacks the great compositions of Toumas Holopainen. Sure, she does Passion And The Opera and Wishmaster, but overall this is a set that rather mark distance to Nightwish than trying to build on the former fame. So the question is, who is going to do the Nightwish classics justice - ever again?

The solo debut My Winter Storm is better than reputed. It has some really great songs. But it also has a bunch of fillers, and it does not suffice to cover a whole set. 'Nightwished' covers such as The Phantom Of The Opera and Over The Hills And Far Away, along with Tarja's version of Poison comes handy. If I had to choose I wanted to hear a couple of songs from Century Child or Once rather than the older Nightwish material we got, but that is bearable.

Also joining Tarja on stage was a crew cut man, almost as wide as he was tall - built of pure muscles - who sang the male parts in Passion And The Opera and Phantom Of The Opera, besides handling some electronic drums and guitars. He did a great job, but I couldn't stop wondering where Tarja had found such a strange mismatch of a guy, visually. It turned out that it was her little brother … Toni Turunen. That'll about explain it all.

Tarja showed some real joy and passion on stage this evening. Sure it is back to the smaller venues and stages and the crowd tonight was not even close to covering all of the space at KB. But those who were here gave love to the star, and she returned it with honest smiles and gestures. She really looked thankful for this second chance in the metal world. Because although not riding on the Nightwish heritage directly, she is sticking with a band that states 'metal' über alles.

Especially the rhythm section with Terrana and Wimbish brought a heavy load to the sound. Even the many ballads turned into a rock show every now and then. Those who thought that Tarja never really liked metal and would return to the opera side of her music career thought wrong. But if she does it for business or out of love for the music, I cannot tell. She looked very satisfied with it all, and that spread out to the audience. I think no one left disappointed. I left with a warm smile, all the way from within, that just wouldn't go away.

8 chalices of 10


Lost Northern Star
My Little Phoenix
Passion And The Opera
Minor Heaven
Over The Hills And Far Away
I Walk Alone
(band solo)
Ciaran's Well
Our Great Divide
Phantom Of The Opera
The Reign
Sing For Me
Die Alive
Calling Grace

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