Had just witnessed the tour, three night earlier, in Atlanta (story here), but given KAMELOT's well executed and entertaining performance, leapt at the opportunity to see it again. A rousing 'Ghost Opera' kicks things off. Following 'Last Curtain Call', founder/guitarist Thom Youngblood took the mic, and referencing their last Philly appearance, during Hurricane Irene (which cut power to much of the Northeast for days), introduced new singer Tommy Karevik. Back-up singer Elize Ryd (AMARANTHE), on her elevated perch, remained masked throughout 'Center Of The Universe'. 'Karma' saw Karevik directing the large crowd (one of the biggest metal audiences at the Electric Factory in years) to clap along. Each night they debut 'Sacrimony', from the forthcoming Silverthorn album, which features a pair of female vocalists: Alyssa White-Gluz (THE AGONIST), a blue-haired demonic growler (in lingerie) and Ryd as the angelic counterpoint, both given the chance to show their stuff, center stage. Keyboardist Oliver Palotai and drummer Casey Grillo have a quick jam, Youngblood eventually strolling back onstage, offering a slower, bluesy version of 'Forever', that ultimately leads into the real thing. Karevik gets the crowd into a "Whoa, whoa" sing-along, as Sean Tibbetts plays to the over 21, drinking patrons in the balcony, who could practically touch his jangly braids. Another female costume change saw a ponytailed pair each man (woman?) their own snare drum for 'March Of Mephisto'. Later White-Gluz returns, reprising the guest vocals handled by Shagrath (DIMMU BORGIR) on The Black Halo. To accent the rousing conclusion, Youngblood smashes out the final notes on Grillo's cymbals, then tosses the drumstick into an adoring crowd.
In a bit of a switch, piper Troy Donockley was not onstage during the intro tape (Opting for a shorter, more immediate Hans Zimmer 'Crimson Tide' tape, over countrymen/classical composer Sibelius' 'Finlandia') and rather than walk onstage, one-by-one, it was founder/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen who appeared first, followed by his band, en masse, for 'Storytime'. NIGHTWISH juggled the running order and aired 'Seven Days Of The Wolves' for the first time this tour. 'Dead To The World' backed with a proper set closing 'Over The Hills And Far Away' (GARY MOORE), worked well. Although at the expense of dropping 'Scaretale', singer Anette Olzon's moment to shine on the recent Imaginaerum album? Would have prepered a different "edit." 'Wish I had An Angel' and 'Amaranth' got the crowd buzzing early, Holopainen taking a few sips from his wine bottle during the later. Old school 'The Siren' preceded 'Slow, Love, Slow'. Seated on bar stools, it's still amazing how this New Orleans jazz hall inspired number goes down with the Ipod raised generation. Leave it to a bunch of Finns to introduce American teens to bluesy/jazz! Under a blue/aqua hue, drummer Jukka Nevalainen utilizes brushes on the snare, Olzon bedecked in plume adorned, sequin hat. As it ends, the ticking of a clock gives Donockley time to get seated, for 'I Want My Tears Back', the first of four consecutive tunes with the Irishman.
During the song, a jump up/clap along hoe-down vibe, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen plays Eeny Meeny Miney Moe, attempting to choose between a bottle of water and a Corona atop his amplifier head. Guess which won out? Thunder claps herald the arrival of 'The Islander', Marco Hietala (bass/vocals, almost exclusively on said track) calls for fans' lighters, cell phone/camera screens for added ambience, joking Nevalainen (relocated in front of his kit, with a hand slapped rhythm box) "beat the box like a mad orangutan." Holopainen looks on, sporting a top hat. The acoustic guitar/bass continues for the newly reworked 'Nemo', which followed. The slower version sees the crowd sing along from word go. 'Last Of The Wilds', with Donockley adding penny whistle to his repertoire, is all boys on deck, Vuorinen implores the crowd throughout the spirited instrumental. Lit in blue, the drummer alone intros 'Seven Days Of The Wolves', the band suddenly re-appears onstage. A piped-in children's choir can be heard in 'Ghost River'. The diminutive guitarist mockingly wipes his brow (as if playing 'Dead To The World' is difficult for him), while the Moore cover begins with Marco and Emppu surrounding Donockley, who quickly slipped in, during the applause for the previous number. Then it's Anette alongside the seated piper.
For the encore, Holopainen played part of 'Song Of Myself' with one hand on the keys, the other hoisting his wine bottle. Before the song concluded, the keyboardist gave some to Emppu (the guitarist continuing to play), then downed more, himself. One can hear where, overseas, this music is punctuated by shooting flames. Down front, a trio of Kamelot musicians watch the closing 'Last Ride Of The Day' (fitting title, given its place in the set).
Nightwish is more than just your average rock show, given the visual and diverse sonic stylings. Make sure you check them out, when they come near your town!
More photos from Philadelphia can be seen here.