With Support From Elyose
Rock City Nottingham 12th February 2014.
For me, tonight was seen as something a little different, yet very special. With the operatic metal or ‘symphonic metal’ genre being ever popular, it was only made possible thanks to this, very talented musician and amazing vocalist, Tarja.
Supporting Tarja, which can’t be easy, was Elyose who is also an amazing talent, in her own right. Formed in 2009, the band has grown in popularity at a steady pace, firstly gaining support in their home country, France. Gradually, as they relentlessly travelled through Europe, performing show after show, they gained an ever increasing troop of loyal followers who discovered this superb talent. Over the years, their sound has evolved (and will continue to do so) to what we hear today, a heavy guitar riffed, metal, operatic fussed masterpiece.
Thankfully, for Justine Daaé, (Lead Singer) tonight’s set started bang on 7pm, as she’s not an early riser (Her words) on this very wet and windy Wednesday night. Justine is a very tall and attractive brunet, with a figure to die for however, it’s her vocal talents that took our breaths away. To look at her, with her delicate frame, you wouldn’t expect such powerful vocals, maybe a little too powerful sometimes but it was a mostly a pleasurable experience by enlarge.
The band has seen several guitarists over the years, but Marc De Lajoncquière seems to be the right choice for the band now and what a great choice he is too! Tonight he played out of his skin, producing some great technical guitar playing and one of the performances of the night, for me, great guitarist!
Ghislain Henry, is the bands bass player and looked uber cool in his sun glasses. A trademark stage persona, it seems and I can’t blame him, especially tonight as Rock City got given a lighting boost as the bands bought their own kit and along with the house lights, these helped to illuminate them! It’s safe to say the stage was awash with colour and were great conditions to photograph in, helping us to produce some fantastic images of these guys tonight! Finally, Patrick Kzu, on drums helped to keep the band sounding tight and doing a superb job as percussionist!
So, tonight I’ve been given the opportunity to witness the legendary vocal talents of Tarja, which is the same honour previously bestowed upon the Finnish President at the celebrated National Independence Day Party. My, what a career – how she has grown!
Tarja is celebrated as being a founding member of Nightwish where she produced four albums, the most successful being “Once”. Sadly her role as lead singer came to an abrupt end, as the rest of the band dismissed her by letter. It seems Nightwish are somewhat unlucky in their pursuit of the perfect vocalist as still to this day, I’m reading of another vocalist who’s been dismissed and replaced with their now vocalist Floor Jansen!
Anyway, before Nightwish the ‘symphonic metal’ genre was still unexplored, but thanks to her remarkable and diverse talents, Tarja Turunen made it become every bit a reality. Seen as being the genres founder and leading figurehead, without her, this genre would probably cease to exist!! First and foremost Tarja was seen as being an outstanding opera singer and has had great success in being so too. It seems, however, her love for all things metal has helped shape who she and this genre have become today. With plenty of Sisu (Finnish for strength, loosely translated), after splitting from Nightwish Tarja embarked on her now illustrious solo career and has produced six studio albums, to date the latest being “Colours in the Dark”. This current set of European tour dates is to promote her new album, and my, what an album – if you are a fan of this genre, I’d highly recommend it. Tonight’s Nottingham show was the second of only two UK dates in 2014, the first being in London, where else!
As Tarja took to the stage, she was greeted by rapturous applause, from a less than packed Rock City, I doubt the weather helped but those that were there, certainly made enough noise. Dressed in a sexy all black number, she went about rocking the crowd, in her unique way. It was clear for all to see, this is a woman that has found her true calling in life and loves what she does. There can be no disputing that Tarja’s exceptional beauty and powerful vocals are a great combination, which simply blew me and everyone in the room tonight away!
I though this was a nice touch, Tarja had a Cello player Max Lilja, performing along side her, who also gave the band great depth to their sound. The rest of the band consisted of Mike Terrana, on drums, playing on quite possibly, the most futuristic and largest set of drums I’ve ever come across! Christian Kretschma on Keyboards, Anna on Bass, who I recognised from when she played with Mitch Malloy, at Firefest in 2012 and finally Alex Scholpp on the Guitar, whoose performance tonight was incredible and helped to compliment Tarja’s amazing voice. His solo at the end of the track “Never Enough” (whilst Tarja goes off to change her outfit, something she’s used to doing with Nightwish) was a great display of the man’s talent and the crowd showed their appreciation, at the end, with a massive round of applause.
Tonight’s set list consisted of: 1. Deliverance 2. In for a Kill 3. 500 Letters 4. Dark 5. Star 6. I Walk Alone 7. Anteroom of Death 8. Never Enough [with Band Outro Solo] costume change 9. Sing for Me 10. Die Alive 11. Mystique Voyage 12. Neverlight 13. Medusa
(Encore) 1. Victim of Ritual 2. Ciarán’s Well 3. Wish I Had an Angel (Nightwish cover) 4. Until My Last Breath
Words and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)