Live report TARJA, Kulturkirche Altona, Hamburg – December 5th, 2022

Tarja is an impressive artist. The Finn, a skilled soprano herself, has the gift to delight the metal world as well as to attract a widely mixed audience. I had the opportunity to experience Tarja 2022 in both roles. It was in August this year that the Finn performed a powerful show at the Wacken Open Air, while this time it is a completely different setting.

During the Advent season the singer is embarking on a small tour with concerts at selected and special locations. One day after the second Advent it is the Kulturkirche Altona, which offers the magnificent setting for a Christmas concert. As soon as you enter the location, the smell of Glühwein hits your nose and you quickly forget that it’s rather gray and rainy outdoors. There is no trace of snow outside and yet the atmosphere is Christmassy.

Wrapped in a very stunning lighting Tarja enters the stage after the three-piece accompanying band has started the evening with ‘Ave Maria’ in style. That the Kulturkirche guarantees a very good sound was already clear 2.5 years ago when Long Distance Calling performed and also this time the concert is an experience for ears, eyes and soul. The architecture of the church brings Tarja’s voice to full bloom and it is the mixture of solemn charm and powerful sounds which make this evening on the ‘Christmas Together – Yhdessä Jouluna’ tour so special.

Christmas carols like ‘Oh Tannenbaum’ and ‘Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht’ are particularly well received and since Tarja also welcomes the fans in German a connection is immediately established.

Personal moments also come into play tonight, like with ‘Varpunen jouluaamuna’, a song that brings back memories of the Finn’s own childhood. ‘You Would Have Loved This’, on the other hand, reminds us of all those we miss especially during Christmas; those who are no longer amongst us.

With a mug of Glühwein in hand, this evening is a calm and soothing moment in the hectic (Christmas) season. You just listen and let your thoughts run free which is probably also the intention of these concerts. I, in any case, am impressed by this rather unusual concert, which will be remembered for quite some time.

Setlist:

  1. Ave Maria (Instrumental)
  2. Ave Maria
  3. Ave Maria
  4. Ave Maria (Tarja Turunen)
  5. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (traditional)
  6. Jul, jul, strålande jul
  7. O Tannenbaum
  8. You Would Have Loved This
  9. Varpunen jouluaamuna
  10. Walking in the Air
  11. Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht

Location: Kulturkirche Altona, Hamburg, Germany

Date: December 5th, 2022

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