Tarja - 'Act II'

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Tarja - 'Act II'

It will no doubt prove expensive for the diehard fan, but as with Tarja's other releases, it's worth every penny.

It's been a long time coming but after the massive success of her first live album 'Act I', finally Tarja gets to release 'Act II', including via another sumptuous Mediabook (2CD/2BR) package incorporating four live shows; the sensational exclusive pre-'The Shadow Self' release at Metropolis Studios, London that I was privileged to attend back in June 2016, and the Milan show on the 'The Shadow Shows' tour in November, while the two bonus live discs are from the 'Hellfest' festival less than two weeks after the Metropolis performance and the following month's Woodstock Festival appearance in Poland. Also included are interviews with Tarja and her band, and photo galleries that paint a picture of Tarja and her group through the eyes of her adoring fans amongst other exclusive portraits.

The incredibly intimate afternoon at the Metropolis Studios almost had an acoustic feel to it with Tarja sometimes perched on a swivel chair throughout the set and the twenty fan winners sat cross-legged right in front of her and the band. This was the first performance anywhere of her new songs from 'The Shadow Self' excepting 'No Bitter End' which Tarja had previewed at least nine months previously. Therefore, the show features début performances of 'Eagle Eye', 'Love To Hate', 'The Living End', 'Calling From The Wild', 'Innocence' and 'Too Many' with the whole set filmed in striking black and white with various camera angles and a truly amazing sound – the whole event is just as mesmerising as I remember!

As the 'Undertaker' release from the Milan performance shows, the colour film is similarly stunning with live performance merged with visual art; the atmosphere on stage is both moody and exhilarating, the audience is noticeably animated, and the audio is electric and crystal clear. Tarja is her usual ebullient self with superbly managed vocals and the band performances are faultless – clearly a lot of work and effort went into making this as visually stunning as possible and it's achieved it with flying colours. 'Shameless', 'Goldfinger' and 'House Of Wax' (from 'The Brightest Void' EP) plus 'Demons In You', 'Supremacy' and the aforementioned 'Undertaker' from 'The Shadow Self' were additions to this performance.

Available in various exclusive formats with different elegant portraits of Tarja on the cover, it will no doubt prove expensive for the diehard fan, but as with Tarja's other releases, it's worth every penny as previous packages I've bought were handsomely crafted and presented.

Carl Buxton

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