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Disney, Hanson, and Being Trapped in the Imaginaerum

Posted by nightphoenix on November 14, 2012 in Art, Input, Music, Output |

“But Nightphoenix, that all happened, like, (looks at watch) four weeks ago! Why u wait so long to update??”

Short answer: More squirrels.

To continue the ramble:

A mere week after seeing Nightwish, I had plans to go to Epcot and see my other favorite band, Hanson, with some girlfriends.

Now you have to understand, as much as I passionately love both of these bands, I don’t love them together, you know? They don’t occupy the same playlists (unless it’s a story soundtrack, and even then, there’s usually at least three or four other songs between). They don’t even occupy the same headspace. They represent two spectrums of music that make my brain break when I try to listen to them one after another.

Now I knew this going into October. I did try to make the switch, intending to brush up on my Hanson lyrics before the 22nd. Ease the transition from a hardcore headbanging fist pumping metal mindset to a, well, a sing your heart out jump up and down shriekfest.

I don’t think I quite succeeded.

The first distraction was that I came home from Nightwish and immediately used some of my birthday money to acquire a few other metal albums…which I then, of course, wanted to listen to. (Nemesea, Delain, ReVamp [Floor Jansen’s project], and Epica, for the curious.)

Random fact: I swear all the bands in the European metal scene know each other. For example, I got each one of those new albums based on how much I liked the music. I have since discovered that:

-Floor Jansen of ReVamp is singing for Nightwish right now (but of course I already knew that).

-Nemesea brought in the lead gal from Delain on the song “High Enough”.

-Delain was started by a former keyboardist from Within Temptation. Oh, and I’ve seen pictures online of Sharon Den Adel and Floor Jansen singing together.

-Marco Hietala of Nightwish has done guest work on several of Delain’s songs, and toured with them. (Yeah, I got a shock listening to the live version of “The Gathering” and hearing “Shall I caaaall you in?” in that distinctive Phantom voice without any warning. Right at the 1:28 mark, for the interested.)
Delain- The Gathering (live)

It’s like one big musical network. Kind of neat, actually, like a big Easter Egg hunt.

Anywho, I was just never in the mood to turn on the Hanson stuff…and it stayed that way until the 22nd. The first real Hanson I listened to after a month-long break was them live.

Second distraction was knowing Nightwish was taking a week-long vacation in Florida before heading back home…and given that Tuomas is a huge Disney fan, there was at least the slightest possibility that the band might still be somewhere on Disney grounds. That was more of a minor distraction, though, as I knew the likelihood of running into any of them was somewhere in the neighborhood of a snowball’s chance in hell.

Third distraction was that third drawing I was working on. I never did have the chance to work on it waiting for Nightwish, but I knew waiting for Hanson was going to be an all-day deal, so I brought it along with a determination to finish it. Here’s how it turned out, btw:

A Railroad Across Waters (I Want My Tears Back)

IMO, this one is a little less refined than the others for two reasons. 1: I did most of the hard inking in my lap, using the back of my sketchbook as a pad, while sitting against a fence at Epcot on a hot day. 2: I was still getting used to the new pens, which meant essentially learning not to press so hard.

The concert itself was fun…front row during the first set! Awesome! And it really drove home the reasons I respect Hanson as a band:

They’re good. Effortlessly, humbly, competently good. For example, the way Taylor will just sit there at the keyboards and talk to the crowd, while fiddling and improv-ing his way into the next song.

They love what they do. Always have. You can feel it in every note they play. They never compromise on their music. They have an extremely loyal fanbase and they know it. They’re good to us.

No band drama. I never have to go to a live show and worry about what the singer is going to sound like that day (or whether it will even be the same singer!). I never have to worry about the band splitting up over something stupid, or band members leaving the middle of a tour, or any of that crap. Heck, they still have the same backup players…for years now! I respect loyalty.

(Nightwish, I love you to death, but please, I beg you…find a good singer and hang onto her!)

Leaving the park after a Hanson Epcot show is always weirdly…introspective. Probably because everyone’s tired and not talking much. This time, we left while the Illuminations show was happening, and as I was in a weird fugue-ish sort of mood, it felt a little surreal.

Normally I have a pretty cynical view of the fairytale aspect of Disneyland, where I can chuckle at the cheesiness of that awe-filled voice that announces the show. But that night, I could kind of feel the magic of it. I’d been listening to a lot of Wishmaster that day, which has a strong Disney-esque, fantasy, fairy tale thread that runs through it. Illuminations kinda got to me, in that mindset. That vision of one world, all the diversity of it, all at peace…I could see it like a child would. And it was beautiful.

So there’s that.

I honestly don’t remember the next two weeks all that well. Lots of catching up with housework and laundry and deadlines for various stuff. I also discovered several Nightwish forums and have been toodling around in there.

I knew Nightwish was going to tour England next, then premiere the Imaginaerum movie in Helsinki, then move onto South America and then Australia. I’d been kind of keeping an eye out for any word on where, other than Finland, Imaginaerum might get played in theaters. So far they’d only released a teaser trailer, which didn’t give much, so my excitement level on the project wasn’t all that high. What I was really looking forward to was the release of the soundtrack, which I had listened to snippets of. It’s all the Imaginaerum songs, remastered and remixed and rewoven into a proper movie soundtrack, and it sounded really good.

Then the full trailer came out. (Crank the volume. Trust me on that.)

O.O

*immediately watches it again*

O.O

I actually got chills the first time. I guess maybe you have to be a fan of the band for it to get to you like that…but that? Right there? Is quintessential Nightwish. I went from “hey, hopefully the movie will be pretty good” to “OMG I WANT TO SEE THIS RIGHT NOW.”

There is, however, no guarantee that it will be played in the US. Le sigh. The drawback of being a fan of an international band. The soundtrack alone would make watching it in a theater with proper surround worth it.

On Nov. 10, they did their combination show and movie screening in Helsinki. I confess I did a lot of poking around the internet that day, anxiously waiting for the first reviews to start rolling in. Via forums, I’ve read a number of reviews to the effect of “the show was bloody awesome (Violin! Pyro dancers during one song! Someday I would like to attend a proper Nightwish show in Europe, so I can see all the pyro and special effects they can’t get away with in America)…while the movie is YMMV” (your mileage may vary).

People have been very good about not leaving spoilers sitting about, and so far I’ve been good about not reading anything that would spoil the movie before I see it. They say it’s dark, and weird, and a little hard to follow…but well, that’s pretty much what I expected.

Still don’t know whether this will be shown in any American theaters. (Although really, if it only ends up being shown in, like, NY and LA or something, that’s effectively the same to me as it staying in Finland). I will at least get the DVD when it comes out.

I’ve done one more “whole song in one picture” drawing since then, and started inking another.

So Much More I Wanted to Give (Dead Boy's Poem)
Nightwish- Dead Boy's Poem

This one is based on an older NW song: Dead Boy’s Poem. If there’s one song on all their albums that might be described as completely autobiographical, this is the one. The decision to include Tarja (the first singer, with whom there was such drama when the split happened) was kind of tough, as I didn’t want this to be an I’m Going To Express An Opinion About What Happened In 2005 piece…because, you know, I trust the band and the nitty-gritty details aren’t really any of my business. I don’t know enough and I don’t need to know any more than I already do.

So I decided on a rule, using the first drawing as the trendsetter: whoever sings on the recorded song, that’s who gets put in the image (if needed). That’s Tarja up in the left corner, with the mic. “Sing what you can’t say”, and all.

I think this is the one I’m proudest of, execution-wise. Especially those hands in the bottom left corner…that was particularly fun and challenging to get right. (The mossy rocks, ie, the whole middle section? Ugh. Tedious, but worth it.)

The one I’m working on now is Last Ride of the Day…lots of roller coasters and stuff. Fun. (I’m also working on a secret project, which I may talk about after its deadline has passed.)

And I have, believe it or not, been writing. This obsessive devotion has been bearing creative fruit.

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