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Nightwish, Sonata Arctica - September 21, 2008 - Jannis Landing, St. Petersburg, FL

By: Michelle Feingold

Jannus Landing, a notorious outdoor venue in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida, decided to let the sun shine down on it the evening Nightwish and Sonata Arctica played. A line of Nightwish VIP guests giggled and squealed over all of the musicians walking back and forth through the front gates of the venue, which allowed fans waiting outside to view the bands getting ready and the roadies setting up the stage. No doubt there were a few "Kakko" and "Marco" screams every once in a while; a very blunt way to catch their attention! They were ignored anyhow.

It didn't take long to notice the thick line wrapping around the venue filled with the largest variety of metal heads known to man. They began to trickle in and attach themselves to the sticky barricade in front of the stage. This time we were all fortunate enough to not have to be tortured through an opening band that no one knew.

Surprisingly enough, the show managed to start on time, and Sonata Arctica broke out with one of their best songs off the newest album Unia. The energy and stage presence presented by frontman Tony Kakko has never failed once during a Sonata set, and this was no exception. His genius idea to wear three layers of clothing during a Florida courtyard show in the middle of September did begin to take a toll, his clothes being drenched with sweat by the end of their performance. Although, it seemed that Kakko was the only one entertaining us from the stage. Guitar player Elias was enchanting with his good looks, long flowing hair, and of course guitar skills –but still cannot compare to the emotional rollercoaster Kakko portrays.

Sadly enough, the boys only played about a 40 minute set, and to those who believed that this was a duel-headliner were greatly disappointed at a 7-song show. They did happen to close out with the highly anticipated “The Cage” but, in a majority opinion, will never satisfy the craving for “Wolf and Raven” –something Sonata has yet to play in the United States regardless of the mass amounts of requests.

At least there was one finish band singing about wolves that night: Nightwish broke out with “7 Days to the Wolves” as their opening song, by far one of their most powerful songs on the newest album Dark Passion Play that doesn’t happen to be a pop-sounding single. Annette came out on stage as a blonde with a red baby doll dress, a true shock to those who were expecting to see the same style from last year. The ex-brunette with a punk style of fashion has changed up her look and added a huge dose of confidence in her stage presence. Nightwish most likely got the hint from last years’ US tour that there were a few kinks that needed to be worked out for the pop-rock style Annette delivers.

Nightwish blew away the crowd with their great mix of their best songs, mostly from the newest album Dark Passion Play, and ended with a few numbers from Century Child as an encore. Annette’s mention that she and the members of Nightwish were not used to this type of weather on stage was no over-exaggeration. After the last song played, Annette rested her head on top of Marco’s shoulder, both drenched with sweat and radiated exhaustion.

Unfortunately, this ended up being the unexpected last day of the US tour for Nightwish due to Annette getting ill. Performing outside at a Florida venue isn’t exactly the brightest idea if you’re not used to temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit.


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