EPICA keeps getting better and better.
After seeing a short acoustic set of STREAM OF PASSION at a music shop (amazing opportunity for fans to see both bands perform in the same city on the same day) and eating an “EPICA-burger” at a bar around the corner from the venue (great marketing strategy, right?) we enter a modern auditorium, perfectly accessible for wheelchairs (bonus points!). My extra compliments to 013: for the first time in a while my being 1,60m tall didn’t bother me at all during the concert.
There are some familiar faces between the 2.200 attendees; the venue is sold out and the supporting band starts on time – a bit early, even. The Finnish INSOMNIUM dominate the stage with tons of energy, confident presence and strong head-banging. They had fun on stage and transmitted this positive energy to the crowd, leaving us well fired-up for the main act.
With a blast of energy and support from the audience, EPICA enters the stage after the relatively short intro ‘Originem’. They warm us up, literally, for they use flamethrowers on stage, complemented with rhythmic pyrotechnics and smoke canons, not to mention the great lighting and sound. Sadly, we notice from the beginning, that Simone’s microphone isn’t loud enough and her voice gets lost almost completely in the choir samples.
But apart from that, the band performs the album perfectly in the order of the track list right up to the previously released single ‘Unchain Utopia’, after which they take us seven years back in time by performing ‘The Obsessive Devotion’ and continuing with other older and newer classics of their over-ten-year career, accompanied by an outburst of screaming and singing from the audience.
After a short pause with entertainment from some very cute and fluffy Chinese (-New-Year) Dragons during the very moving instrumental piece ‘The Fifth Guardian’, the band comes back with full force to resume presenting their new record. The crowd listens eagerly and doesn’t really party; and understandably so, since the songs are still mostly unknown. But the band surely enjoys the concert very much; they all seem very comfortable with their new sound, radiate this cheerfulness and even fool around and laugh a lot.
For the grand finale, EPICA play the short series ‘Kingdom Of Heaven’ I and II together, the first one from “Design Your Universe” and the second being the title song ‘The Quantum Enigma’. The last one features vocals from Daniël de Jongh, from the Dutch band TEXTURES, who also comes up on stage to perform. They don’t leave us waiting for long and come back to perform an encore: the cherished ‘Cry For The Moon’ with audience sing-along and a melodic presentation of the band’s members.
The evening comes to a close with a stampede of fans towards the merch-stand: everybody wants their copy of the new album. And I go home with a nice feeling of satisfaction. I want to thank the EPICA-manager especially, since he was nice enough to put me back on the press-list after the girls at the box office couldn’t find my name. I hoped this wouldn’t happen again after experiencing the same misunderstanding last year at Retrospect, but well, it all worked out in the end.
EPICA set list:
The Second Stone
The Essence Of Silence
Victims Of Contingency
Sense Without Sanity
The Obsessive Devotion
Storm The Sorrow
The Fifth Guardian
Canvas Of Life
Kingdom Of Heaven
The Quantum Enigma (ft. Daniël de Jongh)
Cry For The Moon (Encore)
Pictures by: Andreas Noack