Saturday, November 14, 2015

Concerts I've Attended (2015)

April: Nightwish
Support: Sabaton, Delain
Endless Forms Most Beautiful Tour

One does not simply miss a chance to see Nightwish after seeing the Showtime, Storytime DVD. Floor Jansen's voice is a force beyond human comprehension.

I had a lovely view of this show from start to finish, as I was at the very front of the little venue's second tier. Delain opened first, and I only knew two of their songs at the time, but I really enjoyed songs on their set like "Army of Dolls" and "Electricity" so I looked them up afterward, bought their album The Human Contradiction, and loved it. Sabaton performed next, and while I'm not exactly a fan of their music, they are fantastic performers. The energy level was borderline ridiculous, and they all seemed so nice! The Cleveland crowd certainly humbled them... It was the most energetic crowd I've been in so far. A couple of children were in the crowd and the Sabaton guys invited them on stage - it was really cute. The singer was so happy to see such a wide age range at the show: "Metal is for everyone!"

Then, the lovely headliner Nightwish took the stage. I was treated to a glorious setlist which consisted of many brand new tracks from their album Endless Forms Most Beautiful but also included a couple of their best pieces from Oceanborn, their 1998 sophomore album. Some of the highlights were expected, but even though it became one of my favorites from Endless Forms Most Beautiful quite quickly, I never anticipated "Weak Fantasy" to be as epic as it was in a live setting - what a rush! Between its general live sound and crazy lighting I was dizzy and happy. The crowd knew every word to "The Islander" and we seemed to truly impress Floor with how well we knew the words to their newer single "√Član." I was dancing along to the pipe-led folky tunes but by the time we made it to "Stargazers" I stood in awe - I feel so lucky to have seen that classic live.

The last song before the encore was "The Greatest Show on Earth" (parts two and three, "Life" and "The Toolmaker"), which became my favorite Nightwish song on the first listen... I may have gone a smidge crazy. Right as "The Toolmaker" begins when animal noises dominate the tracks I came to a startling realization: Most of the growling I was hearing (both at my show and performances I saw on YouTube just before my show) wasn't playback... It was Floor. I actually confused her for a lion - A LION, I TELL YOU. If that doesn't prove her power, nothing will. After the encore (consisting of the masterpiece "Ghost Love Score" and the perfect closer "Last Ride of the Day") the final instrumental sections of "The Greatest Show on Earth" played while the band took their bows. Nightwish's creator Tuomas Holopainen took the final bow before the rest of the group as "The Understanding" came to its final gorgeous chords. He looked so tired but passionate and proud of the band's performance, and I unabashedly screamed I loved him like a crazed fangirl.

Other associated memories: The person standing next to me was holding his signed VIP poster and tour book, so like an awe-struck fangirl I started asking him about how the meet and greet was and how Floor and the guys were. Well, he must have felt bad for me for not being able to get a VIP ticket because DUDE GAVE ME HIS SIGNED STUFF. His explanation: "I'm old. What am I going to do with this stuff?" But he wasn't even old. I was so gracious! 

May: Lana Del Rey
Support: Grimes
The Endless Summer Tour

As per usual when I go to non-rock/metal concerts, I saw Lana Del Rey with Nick at Aural Fixation Reviews. I was so excited to see her at the beginning of summer during her Endless Summer Tour since that's the season I have always associated her with, but she really could have changed it to the Endless Winter Tour for my show because it was forty eight degrees (Fahrenheit). I was freezing and couldn't feel my feet afterward, but it was worth it. Lana's live performances have improved significantly since her start in 2012, and honestly, she did a perfect job. I absolutely lost my shit during "Born to Die" and I love how she changed the chorus a bit. "Video Games" was the first song I discovered by her so of course hearing that beautiful track live was pretty wonderful too, and she played the lovely unreleased "Serial Killer." Being the hipster that I am, I was kind of expecting a lot of the people attending to be people who have only ever heard the "Summertime Sadness" remix on the radio, but all the fans at this show were diehards: This crowd collectively knew EVERY WORD of every song! Her live band was really energetic too and gave me a whole new appreciation for "Off to the Races," the last song of her set, and honestly the backdrops and props were some of the beautiful I've seen in a live artist's performance. We may have been freezing our asses off, but when I think of that show visions of summer still manage to fill my head. 

Still, a large part of the reason this concert will always be so damn special to me is that it led me to the spunky electronic artist Grimes, which is ironic considering I was initially annoyed that I wouldn't be able to see Courtney Love (she opened for the first half of the Endless Summer Tour). As I always say, I often end up liking supporting acts I didn't initially care for after seeing them live, but... Grimes is my spirit animal. I was intrigued after the very first song, "Circumambient," and then she grabbed my attention again with "Nightmusic" and "Go." My best friend Nick showed me some of her more 'normal' songs before the concert like "REALiTi" and "Oblivion," and even though I love those songs now, they just weren't the right entry point in her discography for me to take. I needed to hear the darker sounds first. Unfortunately, she didn't have a very energetic crowd (some girls in front of me were standing up so I couldn't see her and taking selfies... brats) but she was so incredibly nice and appreciative anyway.

I will most definitely see her again and I will unabashedly dance around no matter how dead the crowd is. And I will probably cry. (Sorry, Nick. Prepared to be even more embarrassed than you were when we saw the final Harry Potter movie.)

Other associated memories: Trying to find our ride home. Why is that always so hard for us? Also, me laughing at absolutely nothing on the way home because I was too tired to function like a sane human being.

Click here to see what shows I attended from 2012 to 2014.

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