Live Report and Photos by: Zenae Zukowski
Tarja Turunen, mostly known for her role as the original singer of the Finnish symphonic metal group Nightwish, has made her triumphant return to the United States. It’s been nearly a decade since the singer graced the country back in 2009 for her Storm World Tour. Similar to her prior run, the vocalist only made a few appearances instead of the average 10-20 stop trek. This time around, the singer released ten albums since the start of her solo career in 2007, which also includes EPs and live albums. The singer headlined 2018’s Progpower and decided to expand her stay by making a few stops throughout the country in support of her latest live effort Act II, which profoundly represents her most recent effort, 2016’s The Shadow Self. With that said, we were lucky to see the singer in New York City’s Gramercy Theatre on September 9th.
New York City’s own Symfinity opened the stage that evening, which was a dream come true for the act since Nightwish, as well as Tarja, has been a significant influence on their unique symphonic, rock, pop, and everything in between style. The octet gave it their all that night as the group’s mastermind/frontman Seann, proudly waved a Symfinity flag up in the air showcasing this band is here to stay.
After a short break, it was time for Tarja to finesse the platform. Although Tarja has her backing band, all eyes were locked on Turunen that evening. For many it was their first time seeing her on her solo career, which made the room somewhat split between embracing her tunes and expecting to hear an evening chock-full of Nightwish cover tracks between 1997’s Angels Fall First to 2004’s Once. For those who were unfamiliar with her solo material couldn’t help but feel disappointed as their expectations fell flat. However, that didn’t stop the majority of the room filled with loyal and devoted Tarja fans singing along to tunes that ranged from 2007’s My Winter Storm up until 2016’s The Shadow Self.
The powerhouse vocals that Tarja naturally has also resonated that night. It was a near-jaw dropping experience to see a goddess of music standing before everyone’s eyes reaching such high notes without showing any sign of strain or weakness. As Tarja went into songs such as “No Bitter End,” “500 Letters,” “Demons In You,” “Little Lies,” “Eagle Eye,” “Diva,” and “Calling In the Wild,” it was eventually time for the moment fans were waiting for. The vocalist broke into a Nightwish medley that included snippets of “Tutankhamen,” “Ever Dream,” “The Riddler,” and “Slaying The Dreamer.” The crowd held back their tears as they forgave her near decade absence.
Moving forward, the artist went into another medley, this time it was a mini acoustic set with songs “The Reign,” “Mystique Voyage,” “House of Wax,” and “I Walk Alone.” During this time, the concertgoers were able to get to know the singer as she encouraged all to do what she did, follow her dreams. As the crowd assumed the singer gave them a full set already, she closed the night with a handful of songs such as “Undertaker,” “Love to Hate,” “Victim of Ritual,” “Innocence,” “Die Alive,” and “Until My Last Breath.”
This evening surpassed your average show as Tarja’s vocals, no matter what genre she sings in, has captured the audience’s heart. Hopefully, the vocalist noticed this as well and will return to the states in less than nine years.