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Review: Nightwish and Sabaton at the Agora Theater in Cleveland, OH

Posted by on April 21, 2015

Finnish Symphonic metal giants Nightwish are currently on a US tour in support of their newest album Endless Forms Most Beautiful. The tour features Sweden’s Sabaton and Delain from the Netherlands. The April 17th show at the Agora was sold out, as are many of the other shows on the tour (for very good reason I might add). Myself, as well as two other DJs from WCAL trekked the 160 mile drive from California, PA to Cleveland, OH just to see what had the potential to be one of the best tours the US could see this year. There was zero disappointment in what we saw.

Delain

Although we missed their set by the time we got in the door, based on how many people surrounded their merch table when we got in they must have put on a killer show.

Electricity
[youtube]https://youtu.be/UEGTncOOstw[/youtube]

Setlist

Mother Machine
Get the Devil Out of Me
Army of Dolls
Stardust
Electricity
Not Enough
We Are the Others

Sabaton

Storming the stage like warriors charging into battle, Sabaton brings one of the most high energy performances around. One of the things that I didn’t fully anticipate was the comedic stylings of frontman Joakim Broden. Without spoiling any of the jokes, I’ll just say that this man knows how to capture the attention of a crowd between songs. The whole show is absolutely entertaining to watch, from the way they interact with one another, featuring the occasional nipple twister or kick in the rear, to the flawless execution of their songs. Sabaton doesn’t just play their songs live, they transcend what they have written and recorded.

Perhaps the most notable part of their performance occurred right before they jumped into their last song. Joakim brought up the fact that there were many children in the audience, something about metal being family friendly, and then called out two little girls in the crowd and invited them to join on stage. If that wasn’t enough to make their parents jealous, he gave them the wrist band and sunglasses he was wearing, their drummer gave each a stick and had them hit his snare a few times, and their guitarists gave picks. They were then shuffled to the side of the stage for Metal Crue only to be brought out front and center mid song. It was that moment that I realized that I may just eventually want to have kids, if only so I can get them up on stage with Sabaton. Metal has never been so adorable.

This is the third US tour for Sabaton in the past year, and the second I got to see them on. I fully support this and them gaining popularity in the states.

Sabaton – Resist and Bite
[youtube]https://youtu.be/7tP9jPamCT0[/youtube]

Set list

The March to War
Ghost Division
To Hell and Back
Carolus Rex
Soldier of 3 Armies
Resist and Bite
Swedish Pagans
Uprising

Encore:
Night Witches
Primo Victoria
Metal Crüe

Nightwish

After traveling three hours and 160 miles from school to Cleveland, to say that my expectations for this show were exceptionally high would be an understatement. I came out expecting the best, from one of the best around, and there was no disappointment when leaving the show. Nightwish played a solid two hour set, not taking the stage until 10pm. The set featured a healthy portion of brand new material, both starting and ending with the beginning and end of their new song “The Greatest Show on Earth,” because so very meta. They featured a good mix of their hits and classics.

Some of the major highlights to me were “The Islander,” “Stargazers,” and “Ghost Love Score.” “The Islander” featured their bassist/vocalist Marco and his double neck bass/guitar, to which he strummed the guitar part and sang solo. “Stargazers,” a song that they did not perform with their previous singer, was welcomed with open arms by the Floor skeptics, and certainly should have converted the non-believers (at least that is what I took away from the conversation of the couple standing next to me). As for “Ghost Love Score,” that was the first song of theirs that I heard with their new singer from their live DVD from Wacken Showtime, Storytime, and that completely wiped away any skepticism I had. Also, there was a guy not five feet in front of me that screamed the name after every song, beginning halfway through their set and I really just wanted him to shut up.

Floor Jansen does one of the best windmills in heavy metal, and her voice and stage performance makes me feel things in my heart. This just affirmed that she is my favorite of the Nightwish vocalists.

The Islander
[youtube]https://youtu.be/olj0nJ9uEpE[/youtube]

Set list

The Greatest Show on Earth
   (Chapter V) Sea-Worn Driftwood)
Shudder Before the Beautiful
Yours Is an Empty Hope
Amaranth
She Is My Sin
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
My Walden
The Islander
Élan
Weak Fantasy
Storytime
Ever Dream
I Want My Tears Back
Stargazers
Sleeping Sun
The Greatest Show on Earth

Encore:

Ghost Love Score
Last Ride of the Day

Other observations:

Something about the concert inspired the dude in front of me to start writing a My Little Pony fan fiction on his phone mid-set during Nightwish. Not sure why, or of what, but it happened.

Screaming the name of the song you really want to hear so very, very bad between every single song in the hopes that the band will hear you, change their set, and dedicate it to you– Don’t be that guy. I love “Ghost Love Score” and just as much hoped they were going to play it. Yell “woo,” throw up some horns, and enjoy the set. Sometimes bands skip your favorite song and that’s okay. They didn’t play “I Wish I had an Angel” or “Phantom of the Opera,” I think I’ll survive; they’ll go on tour again.

There were a lot of families with young kids at this show; it was pretty cool to see a metal show as a family event. When buying merch I overheard a couple with their kids say that the children had already seen Nightwish twice and I don’t think that those kids could have been older than 10. I’ve been to a lot of shows and seen a lot of my favorite bands, but even that made me jealous.

Pittsburgh to Cleveland for a show is cool. Just over 2 hours each way is a reasonable drive for a tour of this caliber. It was that extra 45 back to school that did some damage, especially considering the show didn’t end until midnight, and this part may not exactly be relevant to those reading this outside of my region of the states, but the post-show Sheetz is a non-negotiable destination. There are always people there following a concert, we ran into three others a solid half-hour out of the city.

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