The Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver is a beautiful historic building that has been a staple of Granville Street since 1927. With its large dome, arches, and creamy gold and velvety red interior, it is a testament to the opulence of the roaring twenties, and the perfect home for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. However, last weekend, the Orpheum Theatre hosted a very different kind of symphony. On April 25th, Nightwish, arguably the biggest metal band to come out of Finland, took the Orpheum stage by storm for the filming of an upcoming DVD and delighted the large crowd amassed in the majestic venue with an evening of epic metal with the support of the Dutch symphonic metal act Delain and the historical metal juggernaut Sabaton, from Sweden.
Though I was skeptical about the choice of venue at first, it became obvious during Delain’s set why the old theatre was chosen for the shooting of Nightwish’s DVD. The sound at the Orpheum is astounding and really brought out the best out of Charlotte Wessels’ jazzy voice. As per Delain tradition, they were electric, and while the lighting left a lot to be desired, their performance was soulful, energetic, and got the crowd excited for what was coming next.
As a diehard Sabaton fan, I was wondering how the crowd would be considering the energy emanating from the quintet is usually contagious and the general admission area of the theatre is sitting room only except for the front row, but the seating arrangement didn’t seem to bother the crowd who got behind the power metal band 100%. Everybody sang along, laughed at their antics, and awed in unison as singer Joakim Brodén gave his signature aviator glasses to a young child in the audience who was attending his first metal concert. Their set when opening for someone else is always very similar, but somehow, Vancouverites never seem to get sick of listening to the five Swedes playing “Swedish Pagans,” “Carolus Rex,” “Ghost Division,” and “Primo Victoria.” The Swedish band charmed the diverse crowd of men and women, both young and old, from all walks of life who had braved the bipolar Vancouver weather to catch the Finnish headliner’s performance and gained many fans in the process.
Much to the enchantment of the spectators, it wasn’t long after Sabaton left the stage before Nightwish took their place. The eerie backdrop and tree-like stage props set the scene perfectly for the over the top, rich, and thrilling performance delivered by the six musicians. Floor Jansen’s operatic voice resonated throughout the entire theatre, filling the ears of the thousands in attendance while the five men on stage provided the perfect sonic support to create an experience most magical. The Finnish act played many new songs including the title track from their new album Endless Forms Most Beautiful, the first single “Élan,” and “Shudder Before The Beautiful,” as well songs that preceded Floor Jansen such as “Stargazers,” and “Storytime.” Nightwish were spectacular and delivered a performance most exhilarating that will be remembered by all for years to come. Thankfully, the entire show will be available on DVD, allowing fans all over the world to experience the one of a kind performance that left the Vancouverite crowd pouring out of the Orpheum Theatre smiling from ear to ear.
Written and Photographed by Kai Robidas Goblin Photography