February 4, 2014 Tarja Enchants Sala Arena Madrid, Spain 1-29-14
Madrid is one of Spain’s most passionate cities when it comes to heavy metal music. It was on November 4th, 2004 that Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish played one of the final shows with Tarja on vocals in the city. A decade later, Tarja remains active composing new music, pursuing her solo career, and growing as an artist. In support of her latest album Colours in the Dark (2013), Tarja began touring Europe in late 2013 and continues that trek in 2014. On the second evening of Colours In The Road World Tour, Tarja stopped at Sala Arena in Madrid on Wednesday January 29th. This would mark the first of three dates in Spain and these fans were ready to rock n roll with one of metals strongest voices.
Opening up the evening for Tarja was Hungarian symphonic metal band Sorronia. Formed in 2011, the band is still relatively fresh having signed with Bakerteam Records in 2013, and now finding themselves on tour with Tarja for fourteen dates spanning seven countries. Sorronia took the stage with a powerful offering of melodic symphonic sounds mixed with thick guitar distortion. Anna Király sang in a soothing matter, adding romance to the lyrics and music. There were plenty of moments of pure beautiful gothic sounds with the talents of István Biró on keyboards and László “Hümér” Szabó on guitar, László Ollós on bass, and Kristóf Vízi on drums. Throughout their performance the band proved they have a clear grasp of their music, letting style develop organically. Sorronia’s debut album Words of Silence was released in October 2013 and is definitely worth giving a listen.
After the opening act, near capacity crowd clamored in anticipations to see Tarja grace the stage of Sala Arena. With the mood setting introduction of “Deliverance”, Tarja stormed the stage performing a mix of new and older tracks including “In For A Kill”, “500 Letters” and “Damned & Divine”. Showered with an array of colorful illumination alternating track to track in theme of Colours in the Dark, Tarja and her band glimmered in sight and sound. The veteran set of talented musicians that accompanied Tarja on stage included drummer Mike Terrana who has collaborated with more than 20 bands in his career, violoncellist Max Lilja (formerly of Apocalyptica), guitarist/vocalist Alex Scholpp, bassist Anna Portalupi, and keyboardist Christian Kretchmer.
With fans cheering in excitement, the music triumphed on with songs like “Falling Awake”, “I Walk Alone”, and “Dark Star”. The hard hitting “Never Enough” electrified the arena with hands up and Tarja’s voice soaring to elevated heights. “Until Silence” mellowed the mood in an enchanting fashion, filling the air with the angelic tones of Tarja’s singing and complimented by sorrowful instrumentation. Tarja graciously thanked the audience in Spanish speaking with an Argentinean accent between each song and received an extremely warm reception from the crowd.
The hour and a half long set concluded with an encore including “Victim of Ritual” and “Until My Last Breath”. Matching the intensity of each song prior, fans relished in the well balanced set and were ecstatic to hear the Nightwish tune “Wish I Had An Angel” included in the encore, reacting with cheers and unison clapping. While openly conveying at the beginning of the evening she was suffering with sinusitis, Tarja lived up to this performance with grace and pose; delivering vocalization filled with vibrato, inflections, and emotion. There is no doubt Tarja is a professional musician with a passion for her music and a love for her fans that is sincere and true.