Label : earMUSIC 

Review by Tony Cannella

Based on the strength of two very good solo albums, Tarja Turunen has managed to escape the shadow of her previous band Nightwish, and the time is coming where we won’t use Tarja and Nightwish in the same sentence – as often as we do, anyway.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that she has surrounded herself with great musicians and songwriters, but at the end of the day it is that voice.  Her vocals are and always have been captivating and she has always managed to come through in a live setting as well – and if there are ever questions about her stage presence than watch the Nightwish DVD “End of an Era” (oops, sorry, starting now we can stop mentioned her and her previous band in the same sentence) and that will put those questions to bed.  Or you can watch this.  Her first official solo DVD/live album “Act I”The show was filmed and recorded over two nights in March 2012 in Argentina and really features a comprehensive cross section of Tarja’s solo musical career.  The CD contains 24-songs spread out over two discs. The track “Anteroom of Death” is a dynamic set opener as the show gets rolling. “Falling Awake”, “I Walk Alone” (just a great song and an obvious crowd favorite) and “Little Lies” are crowd pleasers as well. “Into the Sun” is a brand-new track that is quite good. It has a “Sleeping Sun” vibe to it and definitely fits right in there with her other material – this for me was a huge highlight.  To her credit, Tarja has not relied on her Nightwish past; instead she showcases the plethora of strong material she has built up on “Act I”.  The only Nightwish song that she performs is “Nemo” from the “Once” album and it is obvious from the recognizable piano intro this song really gets the audience’s attention and it’s no wonder why the fans love this song so much – it is just a classic.  The cover of Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night” is also performed and for me it is one of the down moments. I always thought it was an odd choice of songs to cover – I thought it sounded okay on the album but live it just doesn’t translate; maybe her version of Alice Cooper’s “Poison” would have been a better selection. Both solo albums are well represented and performed.  Another highlight is the medley of “Where Were You Last Night”, Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” and Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”. The cover of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Phantom of the Opera” is excellent as well as closing trio of “Die Alive”, “Until My Last Breath” and the closing number a cover of Gary Moore’s “Over the Hills and Far Away” brings this album/concert to an excellent conclusion with the fans obviously still wanting more. Tarja can definitely deliver the goods live – that has never been a question throughout her career. The pacing of the CD is very well done and it is cool to see how these songs lend themselves to a live environment.  For the most part, very well; “Act I” is a good – not great – live album. 

Rating – 80/100

 

Tracklist

Disc 1

  1. Anteroom of Death
  2. Falling Awake
  3. I Walk Alone
  4. Little Lies
  5. Into the Sun
  6. Nemo
  7. Never Enough
  8. Still of the Night
  9. In For A Kill
  10. My Little Phoenix
  11. Dark Star
  12. Naiad

 

Disc 2

  1. Boy and the Ghost
  2. Lost Northern Star
  3. Ciaran’s Well
  4. Tired of Being Alone
  5. Where Were You Last Night – Heaven Is a Place on Earth – Living On a Prayer
  6. Underneath
  7. Oasis – The Archive of Lost Dreams
  8. Crimson Deep
  9. The Phantom of the Opera
  10. Die Alive
  11. Until My Last Breath
  12. Over the Hills and Far Away

 

Line Up

  • Tarja Turunen – Vocals
  • Alex Scholpp – Guitars
  • Christian Kretschmar – Keyboards
  • Max Lilja – Cello
  • Kevin Chown – Bass
  • Mike Terrana – Drums

 

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