Sound — 9
There is a constant feel of warmth created by the setlist that Nightwish choose for this concert. Listening to the first few songs, there is almost a story-like rhythm to how they move from one song to the next, with the change in mood produced by the music reflected in the wardrobe of their lead singer, whose outfit notably changes throughout. The name given to the DVD was taken from the fact that this was not only the last show of the Once Upon A Tour world tour stretching form early 2004 to late 2005, but it was the last show where Tarja Turunen was to perform with them as their lead singer/frontwoman. Shots of the audience taken from the cameras that were filming this concert show a rather emotional reception to the band throughout the show, with tears during songs like "Sleeping Sun" and a sort of karaoke during songs like "Phantom of the Opera." This reception to the band during this concert helps to make this seem like an adequate farewell to a singer who changed a band that, at the start, was reviewed by a local newspaper as "shitty band, crappy equipment, no commercial potential."
Content — 8
The final show of the Once Upon A Tour and is what now known to be the final performance of lead singer, frontwoman and co-founder Tarja Turunen, this concert DVD brings power ballads and fantasy and film enspired music that brings tears to the eyes of the masses. The classical training of the now ex-frontwoman/lead singer Tarja Turunen can be heard clearly throughout several of the songs on the 18-track setlist. However, the lyrics of some of the songs are drowned out by the other instruments, and can't be heard clearly - as seen in the first and fourth tracks, "Dark Chest of Wonders" and "The Kinslayer." However, despite the unclarity of some of the vocals on some of the tracks, the band provides a well-thought-out setlist that includes a range of heavier songs such as "Slaying the Dreamer," and ballads such as "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilija" and "Sleeping Sun." The setlist also includes three unique covers; the first of Andrew Llyod Webber's "Phantom of the Opera," which is played out as a beautiful duet between Tarja Turunen and bassist/male vocalist Marco Hietla; the second of Pink Floyd's "High Hopes" - a slower, moodier, more male-dominated song; and the third Gary Moore's "Over the Hills and Far Away" - an excellent show of how one melody can be changed by the almost competitive musical dual of the keyboards and the guitar. The songs chosen for this concert flow nicely into one another, but there could've been a wider range of songs played, as with the exception of three songs, the 18-track setlist is made up completely of songs from "Once" and 2002's "Century Child." There could also have been a wider range of extras provided on the DVD, as only a photo gallery and a 55-minute documentary showing the 15-days leading up the concert are available to anyone buying this DVD.
Production Quality — 6
The production of this DVD and the two concert CDs provided with it are very good, with clear audio input from the audience during the concert that doesn't threaten to overwhelm the music and that isn't meerly background noise that can be heard only in between songs. The visual input from both the audience and the band also seem to balance one another out too - the response to certain songs from the audience is more actively shown than the band during certain parts of the DVD, but this is balanced out by how the band is shown more often than the audience during other songs. A set of screens were put up behind the stage in clear view of the audience, with either a slideshow, a piece of view or something else relevant playing on the screens throughout the show. Also, the effects added to the DVD during the editing process after the concert and before the date of release seem to be focused around the two songs Bless the Child and Slaying the Dreamer. The screens were more noticeably active during "Bless the Child" than during "Slaying the Dreamer," so more visual editing was focused around this song, with an almost complete ring of appearing on the screen towards the end of the song. While the editing added to this performance after the show was nice, it would've been nicer to see it more evenly spread out over all of the 18-track setlist, instead of just being confined to a few tracks.
Overall Impression — 5
This was a concert DVD that I did enjoy watching at first, but quickly got tired of. There is some good musicianship in this performance, and knowing what happened only serves to make this a more bittersweet performance for hardcore Nightwish fans. However, the constant storytime feel of the music takes away some of the enjoyment as it can easily make the DVD quite boring to watch, no matter how much you love the band. Also, without the range of emotions inspired by the heavier songs and the more acoustic songs there to balance each other out, this concert DVD just doesn't hold the same magic as concert DVDs like Tarja's "Act 1" does. The most impressive thing on this DVD is how, even after several years and despite how plain the music gets after the first five or six viewings, this can still envoke a range of emotions in the viewer. Also, with the departure of Tarja Turunen from the band, many would say that all of Nightwish used to be known for is gone - many still associate Nightwish with songs like "Nemo," "Ever Dream," "Wishmaster," and "Sleeping Sun." However, despite the fact that I didn't like the DVD as a whole, and can now only listen to/watch part of this concert, it shows an important milestone in the band's history, and really does show the End of an Era.