Review of Tarja: Live in NYC

Review by Bridget Taylor
9/9/2018

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Photo by Jessica Clingempeel

Overall, this show was a blast and a surprise. Despite being a fan of Tarja since 2003 (at that time, she was still with Nightwish), this would be mine (as well as others’) first time seeing her live. She hasn’t toured extensively in the US, and I hope that changes in the future.

This almost sold-out concert started outside, in the heart of New York. Being smack dab in the middle of the city, there was no shortage of entertainment outside Gramercy Theatre. The venue itself actually doesn’t really stick out from its surroundings, but it was relatively easy to find.

Gramercy Theatre was a highlight, but not in a good way. The initial organisation of splitting VIP and regular ticket goers was probably the best thing they could do. The timing was off a bit, though, the staff was rude and very short on answering questions, and both inside and outside was an experience I don’t want to go through again.

The layout of the building reminded me a cross of the Fillmore in Silver Spring and the National in Richmond, except squeezed flimsily together.

Once in, Symfinity started the show. Collectively, we had a vocalist (Seann Branchfield), a guitarist, a bassist, a keyboardist, a harpist, a flutist, a drummer, and a violinist on stage. A lot of people, but some seem to be rotating members? (Correct me if I’m wrong) It didn’t matter, though, as the music and vocals came together beautifully. It was quite entertaining to watch, but evenmoreso to listen. I’d recommend anyone to check them out, as the combination of rock, metal, alternative, classical sounds will appeal to a vast majority of people.

It wasn’t long afterwards that Tarja took the stage. For one who’s only seen her in “serious pictures” and listening to her music, I was expecting an awe-inspiring but somber show.

Well, I was right about the first part.
Tarja entered the stage and her presence was known immediately. Ever the show woman, she started rocking, dancing (?!), jumping, and displaying her talents from start to end – all in 4 in stilettos in every outfit change (Yeah. Not trying that.)

Lots of crowd favourites, an acoustic portion, and a nod to Nightwish, the energy was electrifying. When she spoke to the crowd on how happy and how loved she felt that night, it was sincere. She constantly pointed and addressed fans in the crowd, and the chemistry of her band and herself could not be more perfected. All in all, the performance was spectacular.. Even if we had to put up with Gramercy’s horrible sound system (apparently, this is a thing that hasn’t been fixed in the venue, not a one-off thing.)

After the show, we were immediately rushed out of the venue, not given a chance to meet Symfinity, who was selling merch in the basement (actually, we weren’t really given a chance to even buy merch.) After exiting, the lights dimmed and folks were waiting for Tarja to appear outside. Her band members did show up, but it wasn’t until a good half hour after they left that security finally told everyone Tarja had already left. And that was only brought up because someone earlier was angry about it and decided to kick and crack Gramercy’s window.

So, if you get a chance (and you’re still reading), listen to Symfinity and Tarja Turunen.. You will not be disappointed.

You might be, though, if you ever have to go to The Gramercy Theatre.

Overall Rating: 5/5.

Photos by Jessica Clingempeel

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