Nightwish – End Of An Era

A few things about this DVD bug the ever-living-hell out of me.
 
The Editing – There is absolutely no possibility within the human realm that someone can get from one side of the stage all the way across to the other side of the keyboards in a single moment, the batting of an eye. BUT, it happens on this DVD an awful lot. There is also the angle of the cameras that make the band look as if they are moron’s, albeit talented moron’s. And, coinciding with the photo gallery, one could be easily led to believe that two concerts were actually held.

The Music – Seems a bit on the perfect side… I don’t go to a concert to hear exactly what is on the CD. If that were the case I would save my money and just stay home and listen to the CD. I know bands, even the best of them, make mistakes while playing live and vocalists never sound too damn good. WOW! This is almost too damn perfect. I would rather have all the imperfections of trueness than over-editing.

The Music – Yes, I repeated myself (read on).

Track/Set list for End Of An Era:
01: Dark Chest Of Wonders
02: Planet Hell
03: Ever Dream
04: The Kinslayer
05: Phantom Of The Opera
06: The Siren
07: Sleeping Sun
08: High Hopes
09: Bless The Child
10: Wishmaster
11: Slaying The Dreamer
12: Nemo
13: Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan
14: Ghost Love Score
15: Stone People
16: Creek Mary’s Blood
17: Over The Hills And Far Away
18: Wish I Had An Angel

There is not one song from Oceanborn or Angel’s Fall First. Granted, it is their set and they can do what they want, however, aside from Tarja Turunen, all the other members know it was to be her swan-song performance with the band. There are three songs from Wishmaster, four songs from Century Child, and eight from Once, plus the odd songs High Hopes (Pink Floyd cover), Stone People, Sleeping Sun (not originally on a Nightwish album), and Over The Hills…
     Where are Elvenpath, Sacrament Of Wilderness, Beauty And The Beast… Yes, it would have been a long show but it was her last show with them and it would have been a treat to hear what those songs sounded like after originally being recorded years ahead of this concert. Would they be reinterpreted? Slowed down, sped up?
It was Once Upon A Tour but it was also her last show with them and I don’t believe Tarja will ever return since she stated so on her latest release in the song Falling Awake.
     So, we are left to hear these songs sung by Annette (who will not sound like Tarja – Kudos for that Annette) and by a band that cannot bring forth the same emotion/feeling that Nightwish does when performing these songs. Both situations can be summed up like this: It is like hearing Vince Neil’s band perform Mötley Crüe, or taking Colonel Sanders out of Kentucky Fried Chicken (you take away the Colonel and you are doing nothing but frying just another piece of chicken). Sorry guys and gals, I did say I was honest.
     If you only just now discovered Nightwish and their back catalog, you may feel like you missed one hell of a magical moment in music and metal since you are finding out after the fact. There are many bands now that are similar in direction to Nightwish, but there is only one Nightwish.

As for the DVD itself, the concert, it is what it is. The last show we are able to see a glimmer of the aforementioned magic with a very large crowd of people before we are left wondering what happened less than twenty-four hours later.

In the bonus material, we do get to see the documentary “A Day Before Tomorrow” that does show animosity in spades – everything from sideways glances to barbed remarks to uncomfortable silences broken up by meager attempts at civil conversation.
     I think one of the more poignant moments in the documentary is at a festival like show in South America where the band is gathered to take a picture. Before this, Tarja is seen warming up her voice and the band enters her dressing area, she playfully begins to banter back and forth with Jukka who returns her banter with about as much emotion of a dead body on a battlefield.
     The next scene is the band prepping to go onstage. Marco is warming up with a few yells, group hug, and then nerve’s. The players head up the stairs for their intro with the camera following them until whoever is manning the camera abruptly stops and pans back down to where Tarja is left alone. The shot does not last long but it speaks more words than the band knows. It is a solitary, fearful display of uncertainness that seems to permeate the entire documentary and all of the band members who hide it behind anger, false-smiles (smile pretty the cameras on) and silence.
     Throughout the documentary is Nightwish’s very own Yoko Oh-No; Tarja’s husband Marcello Cabuli. My gawd, when they are all in the same room together the silence is deafening. It should be noted that whenever he is alone with the band members Marcello does make attempts to defuse the situation, some so damn goofy even they cannot help but laugh, but when Tarja returns the silence and downcast eyes begin anew.

The documentary also has pop-ups with questions answered by band members. What stands out is that Tarja has the most rock-star answers for the questions though she seems the least rock-star type.
     Another thing is the lack of Tarja’s presence when you feel she should be there standing besides the other band members but she mysteriously is there later in the shot. Is she there? Is she not there? What?
     The documentary does not reveal what really tore the band apart, just the slow build-up to an imploding end that no one within the band did a damn thing to stop.

The bonus material is small but the impact of it is huge. The concert is good aside from the editing that insults the watcher’s intelligence. I would rather see the entire performance without the cuts, mistakes be damned!

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Nightwish – End Of Innocence

End Of Innocence, released in 2002, is not the typical band DVD. There are videos, concert performances, photograph galleries in the “Extra” option and there is an “Extra of the Extra’s” option. The main choice is a documentary, or interview, with Tuomas Holopainen, Jukka Nevalainen, Tapio Wilska (yes, he is not in the band but he has done guest vocals and is a friend and apparent drinking buddy as you see on this DVD).
The DVD has many humorous moments: the boat motor that won’t start, Tuomas musing over the lyric “The scent of a woman was not mine…” as being not something a man would write, Jukka still wondering about the oak leave pictures and still not getting the reason for them, Tapio thinking something was wrong with Tuomas on the release of Century Child because the lyrics seemed so sad…

The island they are on, owned by Tuomas’s family, is also the same place Nightwish came into being; the place immortalized in Sacrament Of Wilderness from Oceanborn. There is a small dwelling on the island where much of the interview takes place, the sky is overcast and from the chosen attire worn by the people the weather is growing cooler. Along with the booze and the intimate setting, the pace of the documentary is slow and mellow, and relaxed: just three friends taking a day out to reflect and muse.

There are outtakes from backstage, in the studio while making Century Child, on the tour bus, at hotel’s; the band and crew playing pranks on each other and other bands, Tuomas in the state of F.U.B.A.R. and being led to his hotel room where he is lain on his bed. The crew, having noticed something peculiar with Marco Hietala, put a camera on an amplifier and recorded just a single concert and what he was doing (I’m not going to say but the look on his face when he notices the camera is priceless), and what a concert sounds like behind the drums while playing.
The interview is informative, introspective, and a bit nostalgic to the point of sadness as the discussion goes back and forth from the earlier times of the band to the recorded present. It is this intimacy that makes End Of Innocence compelling, so much so that the extra content seems piddling by comparison.

This DVD is still in circulation in the United States and can be purchased, counting whatever retailer you patronize has a distributor that carries releases not widely known (my CD store here in Missoula, Montana does, yeah me! Got me Kiske/Somerville, but the owner carries a wide selection of metal music from Europe).

Listing for End Of Innocence:

01: “The Whole Story” Documentary/interview

Extra:

01: Videos: Over The Hills And Far Away
                   End Of All Hope

02: Photo Gallery
03: Interview with Mtv Brazil
04: Live performance in Oslo, Norway (4th of July, 2003)
      01: Sleeping Sun
      02: Wild Child (W.A.S.P. cover)
      03: Beauty And The Beast
      04: She’s My Sin
      05: Slaying The Dreamer

05: The Extra Of The Extra’s

Live performance at Summer Breeze Festival 2002
      01: End Of All Hope
      02: Dead To The World
      03: 10th Man Down
      04: Slaying The Dreamer
      05: Over The Hills And Far Away
      06: Sleeping Sun

Supposedly, there is a hidden outtake of Tarja singing an Acapella version of Sleepwalker. I have never been able to unlock this.

End Of Innocence is worth the money you will spend on it. If you attempt to download it you will not get anything but the documentary if pirating. If you like Nightwish buy the damn thing and support the band (that goes for any band you like. If they don’t make money how can they continue making music?)