On May 4th, 2022, Nightwish kicked off their return to North America with a brand new tour, featuring none other than the popular heavy metal band Beast in Black as show openers. Kicking things off in a brand new venue known as HISTORY – Toronto, Ontario, Canada prepared itself for one hell of a return to the Symphonic Metal scene with a line-up that wrapped around the building and into the parking lots.

Fans, eager for the return to live music just as much as the artists themselves, stood in array of masked and unmasked patrons, preparing themselves for what would be an unforgettable evening of brilliance.

The night began with none other than Beast in Black appearing to bring the energy right up. Having wanted to see this band from the early days, I was more than ecstatic when they finally hit the stage (unfortunately without Anton Kabanen who couldn’t join the band on stage that night) starting off with “Blade Runner”.

This high-octane track off their latest album ‘The Dark Connection’ had the crowd in an immediate uproar. The energy both from Yannick, as well as band-mates was hard to ignore. Infectious performances that moved around the stage, it was an opener to remember with Yannick’s vocals, and a guitar solo, of course, leaving jaws on the floor.

Following up was one of my personal favourites, “From Hell With Love” off the album of the same name. It was hard for me to stop long enough to get a little snippet, as I was bringing it all, dancing from start to finish the moment these guys hit the stage. To say I lost my voice that night, singing along to each and every BiB song, would be an understatement.

But how can anyone ignore a chorus like “another voiceless cry, another hopeless try, I wish you’d open your wings and take me inside. From hell with love I write, confess my passion crime, ’cause to my heart, soul and mind, you are Kryptonite, oh babe!”

Naturally the hits kept coming with what got me into BiB – “Beast in Black“. Based off the protagonist of the popular manga series ‘Berserk’, this track goes hard with everything it has from vocals to drums, commanding energy and attention for non-stop action. I was head-banging the entire time, shouting along like a mad-woman, and definitely weirding out a few concert-goers around me.

“Apostles, Impostors, Fell whores and Putrid posers, it’s time you greet the Dragonslaaayeerrrr!!!” still rings out in my mind on a daily basis.

But, the band didn’t stop there, continuing on with “Born Again”, “Die by the Blade“, and fan-favourite “Blind and Frozen“. Naturally, once again, once “One Night in Tokyo” came on, I was all flare – dancing, and singing until I had a couple feet around me on all sides.

We rounded out their performance with “Midnight Rendevouz” and a closer of “End of the World” which left fans screaming for more but nevertheless satisfied. I, personally, could’ve kept going all night for these guys. What BiB brought the stage was unlike any other opener I’d seen since Avatar opened for In This Moment at the Danforth Music Hall. I’d see them again in a heartbeat!

Then… came Nightwish. Though I’d seen the band in all eras – from Tarja to Floor, I still went to every live performance I could, losing count after 12 or so. But, nevertheless, it had been some time since I’d seen the band live, even after their online concert, I still craved hearing the new tracks from ‘Human Nature’ in the flesh.

Nightwish kicked things off with the highly revered single “Music” that got the crowd humming. I was happy to see this was the choice to lead in, with Kai playing in on the drums as it soon followed with “Noise“. It was not what I expected for an opener but, it seemed the right call considering the release of their latest album would be the showcase for the night.

With Marko’s departure before the tour, the next song was a curious one. “Planet Hell” featured vocals on Marko’s behalf but, who would fill in? Floor, of course! Her dynamic range allowed her to take on both parts of this popular ‘Once’ classic, seeing fans turn their heads in wonder and their lips jerk upward in pleasure. One of the heavier tracks from Nightwish‘s past, it was a pleasant surprise to see it on the setlist, and one I was most satisfied with.

A break carried in, utilizing “Tribal” off the latest album before slipping into the popular ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful’ track “Élan” that had fans swaying along. From there, the energy was once more lifted with ‘Imaginaerum”s “Storytime“. It was a feast of different tracks and eras to choose from, with Floor utilizing her vocal capabilities to the max, easily sliding into the notes of one song to the next; from high soprano to low and slow to match Marko’s previous duet features.

Dropping in with an absolute banger, Nightwish once more vaulted the energy of the room into chaos with “She Is My Sin”. Floor’s vocals soared on this track, bringing a popular ‘Wishmaster’ track to life once more as fans of the old Nightwish clapped and danced with enthusiasm.

The mixture of vibes continued, with “Harvest” giving Floor a bit of a break once again, and “7 Days To The Wolves” following in. Odd contrasts to the setlist but, welcome to concert-goers who were still a little weary getting back into action.

The surprise of “Dark Chest of Wonders”, a signature track from the ‘Once’ album lifted spirits, and shocked a few newcomers, as I could see from their curious faces they had really no clue what this track entailed. Yet another banger, with vicious riffs, and heavy-hitting drums, this one got more fans bouncing around.

One of my favourites kept the ball rolling. “I Want My Tears Back” brought in Troy Donockley and his unique vocals, and instruments. Despite the change-up in vocal duet, this track remains as one of my favourite not only for the beautiful pipes put to use, but for the energy this track gives from start to finish. Once more, did the crowd give me space, watching me go all out for one of my top Nightwish tracks of all time.

“Ever Dream”, a classic, followed up, with fans howling in response as all the favourites seemed to keep flowing in one after another.

The pace slowed down again, as if to give us a break this time, playing to the ever-popular “Nemo” that allowed us to truly hear Floor in all her glory. It led delicately into “How’s the Heart?” done in an acoustic take that really showcased the band’s abilities both as a heavy metal act, as well as a folkier one as needed for some of their newer tracks.

To continue the ‘Human Nature’ release, we were met with my favourite from the new album “Shoemaker” which featured Floor’s awe-inspiring solo, leaving fans speechless across the venue. You could feel the vibe shifting, as the night was coming to a close with “Last Ride of the Day” ramping up the spirit for the staple closer, “Ghost Love Score”. Of course, that was not so easily done…

“The Greatest Show on Earth” led into the final closer of “All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World VIII: Ad Astra” with Floor giving her vocal parts a blast as if to bid us farewell…for now.

Nightwish and Beast in Black both brought their absolute awe. With members dancing around stage, commanding energy, and living for every set of horns, ever shout, and every smile they witnessed but, I can’t say the same for fans. Whether it was still the pandemic fear lingering, or just not used to it after the past two years, I was disappointed to see those along the barricades not really giving the same amount of energy back to the musicians as they had given us.

With artists starving for live performance again, and hoping fans return, I was ecstatic to be back in action, and I showed it with how sore I was the next day with my body aches and lost voice. However, I cannot say the same for many fans in attendance, and I only hope we are forgiven by both bands so we may see them return sooner rather than later.

I, for one, would KILL for another chance at this duo performing live together.