Report by Alessandra Cognetta
“Postepay Rock in Roma” is a yearly series of big concerts held at Ippodromo delle Capannelle, a horse race venue repurposed into concert venue for the occasion. The venue is quite spacey and just outside of Rome, making it a suitable space for crowded outdoor shows. It’s within this setting that on June 8th Nightwish played for the first time in the Eternal City, offering a bombastic show and what was probably one of their most energetic performances yet. With support from the Italian band Temperance, and with two established names such as Apocalyptica and Epica, the concert was able to gather fans from all over the country and beyond.
It should be noted that, for scheduling purposes and logistic issues at the venue, I was not able to reach the audience during the performance of both Temperance and, for the most part, Apocalyptica. For this reason I believe it wouldn’t be fair to discuss their shows, but I can say that when I arrived, in the second half of Apocalyptica’s show, the crowd was already quite big and excited. But let’s get to business! Epica got on stage surprisingly on time and delivered, as usual, a high quality show. Despite the shorter setlist, they were able to include a good chunk of new songs and balance them with some classics, covering pretty much every album in their discography. The latest singles are covered, as well as the classic “Cry For the Moon”, where the audience was invited to participate as a massive live choir. Simone Simons’s charm and skill captured everyone in the audience, and Mark Jansen was able to rile up the audience with some great interaction and the usual antics in Italian. Overall, the band’s chemistry ensured an ingrained performance that has definitely pleased the fans. With the new album announced, as Simone mentioned on stage, it will be interesting to see how their approach changes when the new songs are implemented in the setlist.
After the show, the crowd dispersed towards the booths at the side of the stage for dinner purposes and the crew started frantically moving things around for the headliners. The involvement of pyros made things a bit trickier, but everything worked out smoothly in the end, except for some minor sound interruptions during the intro piece. The long wait made fans even more eager, and their energy and involvement was definitely perceived by the band as well. The first song on the setlist was “Shudder Before the Beautiful”, one of the many songs from “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” performed during the show. The lack of balance between new and old songs could be seen as a setback, but the few classics chosen seem to work to fill in the gaps. The energy of the crowd apparently spread over onto the stage, as everyone seemed to be having a hell of a good time. Floor’s masterful stage presence captured everyone’s attention, while special effects literally fired up the venue, and the videos projected on the stage screen added movement and colour to the performance. Nightwish’s first time in Rome definitely left its mark by putting up a complete and skilled show.
A special mention goes to Kai Hahto’s massive drum work and to tour manager Ewo, whose help and kindness made this live report possible.