This will be a comparatively short review, because I can only describe what was played and done on stage. I’ve given this quite some thought, but I don’t find any aspects that could be criticized – this concert by Tarja can only be called perfection. So let’s simply start at the beginning:
With a warning to everyone who is planning on seeing a concert at the FILharmonie Filderstadt: On my Eventim- ticket it says that the address is: Tübinger Straße 40, 70794 Stuttgart – Filderstadt. Thus we typed into the navigation system „Tübinger Straße 40, Stuttgart, which was found and we drove off. When we arrived, it became aparent that this was not a street where a concert hall would be – ever – and No. 40 was a gym. Thus we had to ask passengers and finally learnt that contrary to the completely missleading mention on our tickets Filderstadt is not a district of Stuttgart, but an entirely independent town a couple of kilometers outside of Stuttgart. So we entered ‚Tübinger Straße 40, Filderstadt’ into the system and what do you know – another hit! So – pretty much pissed off – we started another 20 minute drive and finally found the FILharmonie in Filderstadt OUTSIDE of Stuttgart!! Dear Eventim staff, I can’t believe you!! Why on earth did you mention the city of Stuttgart right behind the postal code?! Let Filderstadt live!! It is a nice city with a great concert hall – they don’t need Stuttgart!!
Thanks to all that CRAP we did not arrive until 5 minutes after the beginning of the concert. The SCHEDULED beginning that is. 😀 Because the support group “Passionworks” did appear until 40 minutes later – and it was not worth the wait. The singer was wearing a brown fur hat with bear’s ears (I’m serious!!) and all the songs were more or less indistinguishable. The only song that caught our attention with a catchy melody and more diverse composition was ‘Falling’. This song topped the Finnish charts at the time.
I don’t think I’m risking too much when concluding from the audience’s reaction that most people were not actually thrilled by Passionworks.
The more we were now looking forward to Tarja. Forward to a time far in the future… because again we waited for about thirty minutes. At least we were able to sit during that time, because the FILharmonie is normally concert hall with seating. That made it a bit more comfortable. I really have to say the place was great. Apparently they also show concerts from other genres and musicals there, you know, occasions where people sit. 😉 There were ranks, where rows of seats could be embedded and the floor was parquet. Of course that is not ideal for a metal concert, but in Baden-Württemberg it is forbidden to smoke in public buildings anyways and I guess the parquet will not be destroyed by a little fuel. 😉 However, it was a very fancy place and I’m sure Tarja liked it. 😉 The only negative thing was that the right speaker, which was near to us, started to hum in the middle of the show. Luckily this could only be heard in between songs, so it was not a big deal.
The concert started with the title ‘Lost Northern Star’, followed by ‘My little Phoenix’. Tarja, sporting a new stage outfit, welcomed the audience partly in German after that.
Then she invited us to dive into the world of ‘Passion and the Opera’ and thus the first Nightwish- song of the evening was played. I’d like to add a short remark here, because I read a couple of comments on Youtube that went like: „Tarja sings this song amazingly, but the new band is ruining it.” That’s what it sounds like in the video, but I found out it is not true. The band plays the song exactly like Nightwish do, but there are choirs and effects coming out of the speakers that are different. Tarja seems to have realized her own vision of the song here.
Tarja sang ‚Minor Heaven’ next and then disappeared for a short time to slip into the red coat for ‘Nemo’. This song sounded just like the ‘original’ as well and I was quite impressed, Tarja really found herself a couple of great musicians.
They distracted us a little while Tarja threw on the next coat fort he hymn ‘I Walk Alone’.
After that, Tarja’s accompanists played some amazing solos on drum, bass and guitar while she changed again. Each of them is so talented and had so much fun playing for us!
By the way, the same can be said for Tarja. I totally bought her enthusiasm and she carried me along when she came back on stage for ‘Ciaran`s Well’ wearing a corset and long leather gloves. I read that at the beginning she could not adjust to this particular song too well, at least that’s what was said in a review of the Warm Up Tour that I came across. It said after that song she excused herself for the song sort of shyly, saying that was the fastest song of the evening. By now there is nothing left of this uncertainty and she used ‘Ciaran’s Well’ for copious dancing and headbanging, just like many in the audience.
An interesting detail: We were a bit confused to see that there were two drumkits built up on stage. Turns out the normal one is for drummer Mike Terrana and the electronic one on the left for Tarja’s brother Toni Turunen (wow, he sure works out a lot 😉 ). Toni helped out here and there, be it with vocals, playing the guitar or on drums. The Turunen family sure has some offspring with diverse talents.
Tarja told us that she wrote the next song, called ‘Our Great Divide’, by the sea.
After that a song came up that Tarja called ‚an old new one’, by name ‘Over the Hills’ by Nightwish. Then they played ‘The Reign’ and ‘Sing For Me’. For the song ‘Oasis’, Tarja was all alone on stage and played the piano as she sang. The audience rewarded this with some extra applause.
After that the concert turned a bit heavier again and Tarja sang together with her brother Toni the Alice Cooper cover ‘Poison’. After that the last Nightwish song of the evening came up – Wishmaster. Then there was one last costume change, because they were going to play the second single from Tarja’s album ‘My Winterstorm’, which is called ‘Die Alive’.
Around that time we were suddenly surrounded by the ‘Farmer Boys’, the former band of guitarist Alex Scholpp. 😀 As it happens he is from Stuttgart and thus his old collegues paid him a visit at the concert. Maybe I should have said something, because back in the day I used to listen to the Farmer Boys. But I was not entirely sure it was them until I convinced myself back home using the internet.
The next song was Calling Grace. All of a sudden, Tarja turned all melancholy – those of you who know the lyrics understand why – and she said that this (the concert I guess) is her dream and the song is for each of us, because thanks to us it is coming true. She was accompanied only by Max on Cello and Alex on guitar.
I guess the concert was supposed to see its end afterwards, everybody was bowing and Alex had already removed his in-ear-monitors, but people demanded an encore so loudly that they eventually played ‘Phantom of the Opera’.
After that I needed a while to get along with the fact that someone can have such a voice. All this time I had been admiring how she sang so amazingly without showing the slightest sign of effort, but when she sang the Phantom I was simply blown away. I can only recommend Tarja’s concerts to all of you and when she comes back to the area the first ticket will be mine!