Nightwish Deliver the Greatest Show on Earth to a Nearly Sold Out Crowd at the Fillmore in Charlotte, NC
The Fillmore – Charlotte, NC – 10 March 2018
Since this show was announced I knew this was going to be a spectacle, with the world’s strongest symphonic metal at the helm, this night was going to be nothing but spectacular. From the first day I received the press announcement I wondered who the openers were going to be or if it was just going to be Nightwish taking the stage at The Fillmore in Charlotte. Much to my amazement, it was the latter and the band was on track to deliver a two-hour set spanning journey through the band’s long career.
Nightwish fans of all ages gathered outside the door, down the street, and around the corner for their chance to see the band take the stage. Once doors opened shortly after 7 pm, concertgoers slowly worked their way through the security checkpoints, making sure to stop at the band’s merch table at the entrance to receive their promised copy of the band’s newest collection of music, Decades.
Since the lines were extremely long the band waited to take the stage, giving everyone a chance to take their places and prepare for the show. The thing I think I loved the most about this show was the diversity of the crowd in attendance, from the youngest super fans like this young lady to the older generations that were attracted to the band’s unique mix of musical elements. There was no hostility, no metal purists, and no musical differences, for everyone in The Fillmore on this night, it was about one thing and one thing only, Nightwish.
After everyone was able to get settled into place, the projector screen rose, but before the intro played, a classic tune from Dio (put your fucking horns up) played over the speakers, after the Dio (I did say, put your fucking horns up) song concluded, the band’s intro began. The crowd erupted in anticipation of the artists taking the stage, but in classic Nightwish fashion, they were not ready just yet, all great things come to those who wait. After about 15 minutes of the intro, the large screen behind the stage flashed a No Cell Phone rule, shortly followed by a No Social Media statement, which I applaud the band for doing. If you don’t know my stance on this, you might want to read my editorial about cell phones and shows.
After this statement from the band took place, Troy Donockley made his way to his place on the stage and serenaded the fans with a collection of parts of Swainheart on his pipes and whistles. After a few moments, Tuomas and Drummer Kai took to the stage, followed shortly by Marco, Emppu and lastly Floor, the crowd exploded with emotions as the band broke into “End Of All Hope” which was the second time this song had been played since 2004, the first time being the night before in Atlanta, G.A.
The band’s entire, two-hour setlist consisted mainly of older songs that haven’t been played in many years, but it also did mix in some band and fan favorites from Nightwish’s extensive library. Nightwish delivered on every single aspect that you would expect of a band of this caliber, high energy, spectacular lighting and lots of smiles from every single person in the venue including the band themselves. After 20 years in the industry, multiple lead singers and the departure of their long-time drummer Jukka, nothing has seemed to phase this band. On stage, they are happy and joyous playing the music that they love to play to the people they love to perform in front of.
They sound just as good, if not better than they did the last time I saw them in Charlotte a few years back. As time began to tick down to the end of the set, the band broke into the “Greatest Show On Earth”, their greatest achievement and a masterpiece of musical abilities. As the song slowly began to close Nightwish ended the concert with my all-time favorite song, “Ghost Love Score”. This is probably where another one of my favorite moments of the night happened, as Floor delivered her signature closing scream over the final vocals of the song, Emppu walked up to her with his horns up, delivering a moment of respect to the vocalist. In true showmanship fashion, the band ended the night with a bow, before interacting with some fans and walking off stage.
As I was leaving the venue to walk out to my car, I stopped to chat with one of my buddies that worked security at the venue, before the show he didn’t know who Nightwish was, by the end of the night he was a fan, so I gave him my copy of Decades, so he could catch up on what he was missing out on.
Overall, why are you still reading this? Go get your tickets right now for this epic show, this will be one of, if not the show of the year when it comes to non-festival concerts. It was an amazing night in every single aspect for me, I was able to share the pit with a few truly amazing people, see some of my close friends, drink a few cold ones and rock the fuck out to one of the greatest bands on the planet at one of the greatest venues on the planet. You will not want to miss this one when it stops in your city, I can promise you that!
All photos © James Geiser