Arriving a little late at the great KK’s Steel Mill venue to see about half of Temperance’s support slot, it was obvious they weren’t British. It turns out these Italian melodic metallers have had a bit of bad luck lately, losing their drummer and lead female vocalist just before this tour, but did a fine job of warming the crowd up and it was unusual to see a band with so many good vocalists in it – most of the band! Especially the newbie, Michele Guaitoli trading off against Marco Pastorino, who twice actually kept one note probably the longest I have ever heard, and considering they have only been together for a short while, it bodes well for the future and they need to be watched when they return to Wolverhampton in March.
Now for Tarja. After the enforced lay off it was great to see straight away that she has not lost any of her power and range. Arguably the queen of operatic metal, she was on fine form and seemed to be having a ball on stage tonight, interacting with her cracking band throughout. And during ‘Goodbye Stranger’ there was a noticeable funky vibe to the set before giving the crowd a rendition of ‘Watchmaster’ from her Nightwish days, the only one in the set tonight. The pace was frenetic until Tarja was left alone on stage with a keyboard for a solo beautiful rendition of ‘You And I’, this was only a brief breather as the band returned to join her on stage for ‘Tears In Rain’ and ‘Victim Of Ritual’, with brilliant visuals on the backdrop that wouldn’t look out of place at a larger venue.
It was great to witness such songs in the more intimate KK’s tonight and with a four song encore including ‘Until My Last Breath’ and ‘I Walk Alone’, anyone who might have thought that after Nightwish Tarja might have less appeal have been woefully misguided. She has produced consistently high-quality work on her own and with several collaborations, even a black metal Christmas album! Check it out, and with that mesmerising operatic voice holding the crowd in here tonight in rapture, everyone will be hoping and praying for a swift return of the queen.
Photos by Geoff Griffe
Review by Jenny Griffe