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End of an Era (Live)

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Album Review

There's an element of Zen that's involved when listening to Nightwish — you don't question the pageantry or analyze the music; you just let go and enjoy the experience. Perhaps it's no surprise then that End of an Era beings with "Red Warrior" from The Last Samurai booming over arena speakers while thousands of fans roar their approval. It's a dramatic introduction for a band that specializes in theatrics, all of which are captured on the album. There's the crowd, the blast of pyrotechnics, the echo of the music filling a cavernous arena. Recording a band this layered (Guitars! Drums! Vocals! Keyboards! Backing tracks!) in a setting like this is always a risky venture, but the sound quality on End of an Era is exceptional; it manages to capture the vastness of both the venue and the act without being marred by reverberation or uneven tone. Vocalists Tarja Turunen and Marco Hietala soar above it all, their delivery all the more impressive considering that this would be their last concert together — Turunen was dismissed from the band after the show. Fortunately, Nightwish don't appear to have brought their internal tensions on-stage. The group is in its element here, and its energy doesn't diminish a bit over the course of the two discs it takes to capture the tour-ending show. The biggest strength of End of an Era is its ability to re-create the concert experience; the band is at the forefront, but the cheering, clapping, and chanting of the crowd are included as an integral element of the music, not a separate entity. There are points on the album when this becomes a detriment (particularly during slower, quiet numbers like "Stone People"), but there's nothing more authentic on a live recording than capturing the requisite concertgoer whose duty it is to break the mood by shouting at inappropriate times.

In the end, this dedication to realism is a minor complaint when compared to the benefits, as demonstrated to great effect with the opening number, "Dark Chest of Wonders." This piece brings it all together — the song itself, dark, theatrical and operatic, with Turunen's rich voice floating over power chords, a charging rhythm section, an orchestral backing track, and the enthusiastic crowd at her feet. It's a fine choice to open the concert, and the recording re-creates everything but the visuals. The vibe continues on "Planet Hell," the first of several songs to showcase a Turunen/Hietala duet and solos by keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen and guitarist Emppu Vuorinen. Powerful performances and dark, romantic themes continue to dominate throughout End of an Era, but this does not mean that the album slows down or becomes monotonous. Instead, each song plays to the band's strength and uses the crowd's energy and enthusiasm to drive forward and craft memorable moments. As in the beginning of the concert, the final songs are rousing, passionate, and dramatic. "Creek Mary's Blood," a lament inspired by Dee Brown's novel of the same name, benefits from the talent of Native American musician John Two Hawks, who also appeared on the studio version of the song. After an extended flute solo (the above-mentioned "Stone People"), Two Hawks sings and plays in a striking duet with Turunen, whose operatic tremolo stands in contrast to her partner's straighter tone. The proceedings take an abrupt turn immediately afterward as Nightwish launch into a rollicking cover of Gary Moore's "Over the Hills and Far Away," transformed into a power metal epic as Holopainen and Vuorinen trade riffs between verses and choruses. The disc comes to a close with the sprawling, gothic "Wish I Had an Angel," a looser and more straightforward rock song that sees Turunen and Hietala alternating their vocal duties for what would be the last time. It's a satisfying ending for a symphonic metal extravaganza, but the real pleasure comes in knowing that it can be experienced all over again.

Customer Reviews


THANK YOU ITUNES, YOU FINALLY GOT NIGHTWISH. Anyway, this is probably the best foreign band. The mix of keyboards, women opera vocals and male vocals, and heavy metal guitar and drums is pure magic. Dark Chest of Wonders 8.5/10 - Great intro, has a lot of energy but not as heavy metal as I would like. Planet Hell 50/10 - Wow. What an amazing song. Just listen to it (even the studio version is better). Ever Dream 9/10 - Piano intro is really cool, although thats one of the best parts of the song, still great overall though. Kinslayer 10/10 - Amazing keyboard intro and awesome guitar riff. You'll listen to this a lot. Phantom Of The Opera 7/10 - Cover of the song from the musical of the same name, its not the great for me, although its a fan favorite. The Siren 7/10 - Same as above, although its got pretty good guitar to it. Sounds very Egyptian. Sleeping Sun 9/10 - Great ballad. Takes a little while to stick to you though. High Hopes 9/10 - I think its a cover of a Pink Floyd song. The female vocalist takes a break here. Bless The Child 10/10 - Very awesome intro. Then turns to a great song. Wishmaster 9.5/10 - Another crowd favorite. Check out the "misheard lyric" video of this on Youtube, funny stuff. Slaying The Dreamer 20/10 - Amazing, the second best performance after GLS. Shows the potential of the male singer. However you spell track 12 3/10 - Don't bother, its in all Finnish and its boring as hell. Nemo 8/10 - A pretty good song, a little to mainstream for me though. GLS - 100/10 - Amazing song that should have been the encore. Just buy the whole album. Stone People 1/10 - 3 words. WTF. A Frickin flute solo by some indian dude. Creek Mary's Blood 9/10 - Another good song, shows how great Tarja can sing. Over The Hills And Far Away 10/10 - Cover of Gary Moore's song. Very cool. Wish I Had An Angel 7/10 - Great song, just too bad they performed it very badly. BUY IT NOW!


it's sad that one of the best songs on here (ghost love score) is album only.... if they didn't have 20 bucks to spend they'd truly be missing out on a masterpiece.....then the dissapiontment that "end of all hope" isn't there.... bottom line though.... nightwish is amazing.... 5 stars automatically.

Don't get me wrong...

...Nightwish are by far the BEST band to walk this lonely planet. And I am BEYOND Ecstatic that Nightwish is being added back to iTunes. But I don't understand why this live album (released AFTER 'Once') is available now, when 'Once' is up for pre-order, to be released the day Nightwish's new single 'Amaranth' is released. I own the album 'Once.' I bought it a while back. It was released in '05. And it's the best album so far with Tarja as the vocalist. But now we're awaiting 'Dark Passion Play' and 'Amaranth', with new vocalist Anette Olzon. So I'm just a little confused. Anyhoo.... I'm SO glad Nightwish are back on iTunes, and I can't WAIT for 'Dark Passion Play.' Hopefully it is added as well! Back to reviewing this album... Personally, I'd say to buy 'Once' when it's 'released', because Tarja's not quite as good live. She's not bad, but she's much easier to understand and hear on the album. But buy whatever you want! Nightwish is back! FINALLY! =D


Formed: 1997 in Kitee, Finland

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Following in the footsteps of the Gathering and Lacuna Coil (goth-influenced "symphonic" metal bands with female vocalists), Nightwish were formed in Kitee, Finland, in 1997 by keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen. Initially attempting to create acoustic music, he recruited trained opera vocalist Tarja Turunen, but soon added full metal band instrumentation in the persons of guitarist Emppo Vuorinen, bassist Sami Vänskä, and drummer Jukka Nevalainen. Nightwish's demos landed them a contract with the Finnish...
Full Bio
End of an Era (Live), Nightwish
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