This spring, what a marathon. This year I told you about some epic events since April. I was glad to review some great gigs for Metal Insider – Anvil in Brooklyn or even Dark Angel in the city. As a metal fan, I needed to fall out with one more gig to cap off an adrenalized second quarter in concerts. The only way was with the Finnish soprano singer, Tarja Turunen, on June 17th in Manhattan, where I and her New York faithful migrated to the Gramercy Theatre.

Having another breezy Saturday at work, I clocked out at 6:00 PM and took my usual route to the city by boarding a nearby L train to Union Square. Unbeknownst to me, I arrived with little time to spare as the doors opened while I was on my way. Luckily, I showed up moments before the angelic lyric took the stage at 7:25 PM for an emotional hour journey of music.

Taking the stage to a deluge of smiling neoclassical metal fans, Tarja and her band powered up their set with the 2022 cut, Eye of the Storm. After that, Tarja took Manhattan on an adventure filled with career highlights like I Feel Immortal, Naiad, Enough, Nemo, the Nightwish classic, and more making up the set-list. It was an enjoyable time with one of Finland’s finest. The energy the band brought to the stage was outstanding.

Another high point was in a solitary moment, Tarja serenaded an already mesmerized audience with Oasis / You and I, a splendid two-song medley on the piano. Both aesthetically and vocally throughout the evening, Tarja beautifully represented the chorus of Queen’s Killer Queen: She’s a killer queen, gunpowder, gelatine, dynamite with a laser beam, guaranteed to blow your mind, anytime.

Tarja Turunen is to her métier what Max Cavalera is to Soulfly. Tarja is also a revered metal icon. Aside from the cover of Nemo (Nightwish), I was not surprised that she decided to craft a headlining set list of songs from a discography that Tarja has spent building since the early 2000s. The connection she created with the longtime fans of Tarja and newcomers alike was astounding. This show was a long time coming. It was worth the wait!

Between the loud, quiet, and loud again, not a dull moment went by at that show. Tarja and company wrapped a pleasant, cozy night with Until My Last Breath, with a literal standing ovation for both the band and just Tarja on stage was one of the warmest moments I have seen at a concert.

After witnessing another one of the best shows of 2023, the New York faithful went home happy, while I headed back to Williamsburg for a late-night banger of a sandwich | corned beef, pastrami, salami, with cheddar, and Swiss cheese on hero bread. Overall it was a brilliant performance, and I hope Tarja does a second U.S. leg of this tour.