By Carl Begai
On the one hand, big budget live DVDs seem like a pointless investment now that YouTube is king. Then again, with hundreds of hours of bootleg footage online showcasing or plaguing a band until the end of time once uploaded, there’s an artistic need for an artist to present their work in the best possible light. Nightwish started releasing live DVD material long before online video sharing became the entity it is today, issuing material in three year cycles (approximately) to capture each chapter on their journey to greatness. Folks paying attention to that particular aspect of the Nightwish catalogue, therefore, weren’t surprised when news came down that the band was releasing Vehicle Of Spirit to commemorate their Endless Forms Most Beautiful world tour. Just how necessary it is can be debated, particularly since the Showtime, Storytime DVD from 2013 – shot at the Wacken Open Air in Germany – is a very hard act to follow if you’re a fan of live retrospectives. It’s doubtful the diehard fans are complaining, however, with shows from 2015 shot in Tampere, Finland and London, England featured along with live clips from around the world.
“We started planning the Vehicle Of Spirit DVD as we planned the tour for Endless Forms Most Beautiful,” says vocalist Floor Jansen. “We knew that we didn’t just want to document one concert, but rather to show more faces of Nightwish on tour around the world. We have a varied setlist, we play different sizes of stages – in Germany, for example, it’s massive, and in the US things are much smaller – and a show in China looks different from a show in Finland. We wanted to document the world tour, and as the planning of the show evolved we chose the London show at Wembley because it was the biggest and very special. This was definitely something that was planned from the beginning.”
Jansen reveals that although keyboardist/founder Tuomas Holopainen is captain of the ship, the band contributed as a whole to how the package was assembled.
“In every constellation of people working together someone has to take the lead, and obviously that’s Tuomas in Nightwish, but he doesn’t do it in a way where there’s no space for anybody else. The DVD was definitely a band effort led by Tuomas.”
Showtime, Storytime was documented proof that Jansen was capable of singing anything in the Nightwish catalogue, while adding her own identity to the songs. Vehicle Of Spirit cements her rightful place fronting the band as they dig deeper into the classic (former vocalist) Tarja Turunen cuts (“Stargazers”, “Ever Dream”, “Ghost Love Score”), Jansen breathing new life into (other former vocalist) Anette Olzon’s songs, and presenting her own work from Endless Forms Most Beautiful in a live setting.
“Thank you. This gave me the chance to show I can do the old stuff, but this is also how it sounds when you give me a rough diamond, so to speak, because some of those songs in the set had never been sung by anyone else before.”
That said, does Vehicle Of Spirit have more sentimental value on a personal level compared to Showtime, Storytime?
“I wouldn’t say more, I’d say different because Showtime, Storytime is a very special thing,” says Jansen. “Without the guys knowing it, when they decided to document that tour they had no idea it was going to take such a radical course, and that became the lead subject of the whole behind-the-scenes story. The live show became a real introduction to the world of me as part of the band, so in that sense it’s kind of hard to top. You can never introduce your singer twice (laughs). However, everything that happened on the Endless Forms Most Beautiful tour, and now the DVD, is special because it was the first Nightwish tour where I was there from the very beginning and part of the album we were promoting. In that sense it’s absolutely special and a more complete image of where we are today. The next step, in a way.”
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