So to the final leg of my mini Nightwish tour and a very early start was called for. A 6AM flight from Birmingham to Amsterdam. Then a connecting flight from Amsterdam to Luxembourg City where I caught a bus to the railway station and finally a train to Esch and the Avenue du Rock 'n Roll where the Rockhal is located - I liked that ! The great thing was the railway station, the venue and railway station were literally all next to each other - very handy. The Rockhal is a 6,500 arena and was packed.
Myself and Trevor, who organised the trip decided that we would try and get as close as possible this time. We arrived about 2PM and there were already around 50 people in the queue. So it was decided to grab some lunch and a beer and I admit it a sleep for a couple of hours. Refreshed we returned about 4 PM and the queue had start to grow considerably so in true English fashion we joined it. But it was bitter cold and somehow I resisted the temptation to sneak of back to the hotel leaving Trevor holding the place in the queue.
Once the doors opened and we got through the rugy scrum we managed to get about 3 rows off the barrier and it really added to the experience. I could feel thee full effect of the pyros and the heat did get pretty intense but everyone was well behaved and it was wonderful fun.
We were to the right of the stage with Emppu Vuorinen directly in front playing his Imaginaerm themed Washburn guitar.
It was the Birthday of drummer Jukka Nevailanen so of course we all sang 'Happy Birthday' much to his embarassment. He received a few gifts including the cuddly Lion in the photo.
Without doubt this was the best of the 3 gigs that I have attended and the atmosphere was electric. I can't finish this write up without giving enormous admiration and credit to Tuomas Holopainen who is nothing short of a genius. This is symphonic metal on the grandest scale, with huge riffs, huge subjects, huge orchestras, huge choirs...huge everything. The variety of themes and music he constanly conjures up is staggering and borders at times on insanity and eccentricity.
It was nice to catch up with some French friends afterwards and also chat with 'Miss E' from Eklipse !