I feel that I should start this review by stating that I am not really a fan of music DVDs which are recordings of live shows. Nothing can compare to being at a show, and in my experience, if the recording is even slightly off, it ruins the feeling of actually being there that the recording is trying to emulate. That being said, this is Nightwish, and the this DVD is a recording of the first Nightwish gig I haven’t been to for years. So I jumped at the chance to review it! I admit it, I am contrary!
I was actually really pleasant surprised by this DVD – the production values are good, the shots of the crowd come at appropriate times and aren’t cut away from the band mid-song, and the sound recording is fantastic. It made me sad that I wasn’t at the gig, which is exactly the feeling a good live recording should give.
The gig starts with a bang and we’re watching the band play the first track off their most recent album – “Shudder Before the Beautiful”. Nightwish seem much more comfortable playing together than the last time I saw them live, which was very soon after the announcement that Floor had joined them. Floor seems much happier on stage, and interacts with the audience much more than either Tarja or Annette ever did.
After a brief introduction, the band launch straight into “Yours Is an Empty Hope”. The third song up is “Ever Dream”, which is my favourite Nightwish song of all time, and has been known to make me cry when played live. Floor seems content to let the crowd sing the opening bars of this Nightwish classic, and then the guitars kick in and everyone’s cheering. She sings this song with ease, and I have to say her live version is better than I’d ever seen with Tarja.
Up next is “Storytime”, from Imaginerium, introduced by Floor, which is followed by “My Walden”, introduced by Troy, the pipe player, who references Byron and Shelley and goes on to say “Good evening, Wembley”, fulfilling his childhood dreams!
Following the folky end of “My Walden”, we have some talking from Marco, who introduces “While Your Lips Are Still Red”, a song rarely (in my experience) played live. After a fantastic showcase of Marco’s vocals, we’re back to Floor, with “Élan”, which she tries to get the audience involved in.
After a brief interlude of Richard Dawkins talking over the dark, we’re treated to a drum solo, followed immediately by the opening of “Weak Fantasy”, and at the end we’re launched straight into “7 Days To The Wolves”. Immediately following that up is “Alpenglow”, which is fun, and Floor really seems to enjoy singing. A slight step towards something a bit more mellow up next, with the intro to “The Poet and The Pendulum”, before the guitars and drums kick in and we’re back in classic Nightwish territory.
Next up is “Nemo”, and the crowd goes wild as Marco shouts “Yeah, you know this one!” This is swiftly followed by “I Want My Tears Back”, and the crowd is jumping and throwing horns.
After some more talking to the crowd, Floor asks if the audience want to hear a really old song. The response is enthusiastic, and the band launches into “Stargazers”! Floor totally pulls off this song! After a stunning performance of a truly classic song, the band heads straight into “Ghost Love Score”, another classic, although a slightly more recent one. They’ve changed the ending slightly to suit Floor’s vocal style, meaning that the ending is truly epic.
Following this is “Last Ride of the Day”, again with a slight variation to it’s original version, to suit Floor.
After the excitement of the last few tracks, we’re back in modern Nightwish territory, and the band are playing “The Greatest Show on Earth”. Anyone who’s read my review of Endless Forms Most Beautiful knows my opinion on this track, so I’ll say no more about it! Richard Dawkins appears on stage as the band exit, and this is the end of the Wembley Show, which comprises disc one of the DVD set.
There are two other DVDs in this set – disc two contains the live show filmed at Ratina Stadion in Tampere, and disc three contains masses of bonus material. In other words, a great package for any fan.
Vehicle of Spirit is out on December 16th and available in the following lovely formats:
- 2BluRay-Digibook – (feat. Live @ Wembley Arena London & Live @ Ratina Stadion Tampere + extras) Amazon pre-order
- 3DVD-Digibook – (feat. Live @ Wembley Arena London & Live @ Ratina Stadion Tampere + extras) Amazon pre-order
- 2BD+3DVD+2CD-Earbook – (limited edition, content as above + 2CDs (feat. The Wembley Show)) Available here or via Amazon
- Exclusive NB Mailorder BOX (Earbook + 3LP vinyl (black, white, red vinyl) + 12” poster + 12” photo card) Only available here