There’s a big difference between a pub band and a major international act: professionalism. The ability to continue under the most deranged circumstances.
In the extra features on the DVD we join Nightwish half way through their US tour. The singer Anette Olzen has been hospitalised by flu and that night’s concert is a sell out. The doors have opened and the crowd are in. What do they do? Band members Tuomas Holopainen and Troy Donockley go out on stage and make the crowd an offer they can’t refuse: cancel the show or continue with two singers who are with the support band Kamelot.
The crowd choose to continue with the show, which is great news for them, but means Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz have thirty minutes to learn Nightwish’s repertoire. Easy as falling off a log! They go on stage, lyric sheets in hand and perform the set and you can only admire that kind of resilience and, yes, professionalism.
Whether asking Ryd and White-Gluz to sing prompted Anette Olzen to quit the band is a moot point and there are thousands who would relish the thought of yet another Nightwish controversy. Later in the film the band are joined by Dutch singer Floor Jansen and the tour continues, the shows go on and ultimately lead to Wacken, the humungous metal festival in Germany.
Nightwish are Finnish, demonic pixies. Bass player Marco Hietaler looks like an extra from The Hobbit, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen stands like he has one leg twenty inches longer than the other, keyboardist Huolopinen is the mad hatter of the band, and drummer Jukka Nevalainen is the nearest thing to a rhesus monkey looking around his kit for nuts. Add widdly diddly uillean piper Donockley and supertall Jansen and you have a band who have been ominously approaching metal perfection for a number of years. Their complicated mixture of high symphonic grandeur and tooth rattling metal is an antidote to the metal-by-numbers of a lot of upstarts coming into prominence.
Maybe that’s the secret to success, less emphasis on the sweatbands and more on tortured psychology, a lot of icy landscapes and continuous trauma. Luvly.