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Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
May 4th 2006
Epica, Ebony Ark, Asrai

When approaching Paradiso I saw a large crowd of black people, it appeared some had been waiting there since three in the afternoon. Just after 7 o’clock the crowd cheered for joy when the doors to opened. Just like Epica these fans had all finished their “Road to Paradiso” and their reward was waiting inside.

We are sorry to be unable to provide you with any photos of this concert at this time. We are still awaiting the release of press photos of the concert by the label. We were not allowed to take photos ourselves due to the fact this concert was recorded on DVD.


While walking the stairs to the balcony I suddenly heard music. It turned out to be Asrai playing on the small stage of Paradiso. Most of the audience immediately wanted to secure a spot closest to the stage so it wasn’t that busy. After a while though, a crowd worthy of this smaller part of the venue had gathered to see Asrai.

Musically this was not one of the best performances of Asrai I have ever seen. Margriet didn’t always get the notes she wanted. But this did give her the chance to show that she was able to correct herself and go on. She also showed us a more raw side of her voice by grunting more. At times it sounded great but sometimes it seemed she was just plain pissed, shouting out her anger.

It was fun to watch Manon behind her synths, it seemed as if she had taken a happy pill for she was constantly smiling, singing along with a smile from ear to ear. Margriet shot fire from her eyes as always, it is great to see how passionately she performs. Both of the men are always very concentrated on their instrument but at times they also make contact with the other band members

Music 6
Performance 7
Sound 6
Light 5
Total 6 (6.2)


Besides this being their special day at Paradiso this was also the day to remember the Second World War. About 15 minutes before 8 o clock their manager came to ask if we could all take part in the 2 minutes of silence at eight, he got applause. At eight silence fell after many ssshts and then after two minutes somebody shouted ‘it’s ok again’ and then there was a huge applause. This has been one of the most impressive silences I’ve ever ‘heard’.

The intro was soft and when the band started to play it was soft too, in volume but also in power. This was not yet the Epica I am used to. During ‘Sensorium’ the clapping of the audience was almost louder than the music. During ‘The Last Crusade’ the music seemed to come to live, the power returned. Normally ‘Solitary Ground’ is performed acoustically but tonight they played it with the band and backing vocals by Linda van Someren and Amanda Sommerville. The three of them (besides being a great threesome with their red, brown and blonde hair) sounded great together. There were more guests this evening, during ‘Linger’ the band was extended with a cello and a violin. Later on there were more surprises such as Roy Kahn who came to sing ‘Trois Vierges’ with Simone and Jan-Chris de Koeier from the Dutch band Gorefest who grunted along which was a great addition to ‘Consign to Oblivion’. It was nice to hear the spoken words during ‘Seif Al Din’ live for once, they were told with much emotion. It seemed as thought Simone needed time to warm up before she was ready to give her all. When the bass was tuned in louder the music came to life and so did the entire band, after this Epica played like Epica again.

Before the curtain was dropped each beat of Jeroens drum caused screams in the audience. Every camera crossing the audience causes screams. There is a count down, lights are dimmed and the intro starts. Beneath me I see a sea of waving arms and then the curtain drops. On stage there is the band of course, without Simone though. There are two female fire breathers each on one side of the stage. A great idea but they could have put some more clothes on because this was not a pretty sight, I’m sorry to say.  When Simone entered while singing she got a huge applause. Coen must have been glad with his toy, a turning keyboard standard. The curtains at the back were not up high but halfway so you could see the windows of the church (which this venue used to be). During some of the more slow songs such as ‘Solitary Ground’ little Epica lights and lighters were held up throughout the audience. Mark was very enthusiastic in his contact with the audience, asking them to scream and getting them to clap along. The lights were wonderful, a great show except for the fact that most of the lights came from the back which blinded the audience at times and left the faces of the band in the dark. At the balcony you could see little of the emotions of the band members which was a pity. During ‘Blank Infinity’ there were foam cannons on both sides of the venue, some people looked as if they had been walking through the snow for hours. There was one crowd surfer this night and he took his chance when the loudest song was played ‘Crystal Mountain’ which is a cover of a Death song. ‘Consign to Oblivion’ was the grand finale with flames and sparkles shooting from the stage.
After the show there was the presentation of the first ‘Road to Paradiso’ book, handed out by a fan who had won a trip to the concert, Angela from England. When all had their books pictures were taken and then it was really over.

01. Hunab Kú
02. Dance of Fate
03. Sensorium
04. The Last Crusade
05. Solitary Ground
06. Force of the Shore
07. Quietus
08. Linger
09. Blank Infinity
10. Crystal Mountain
11. Seif Al Din
12. Façade of Reality
13. Trois Vierges
14. Another Me
15. Phantom Agony
16. Cry for the Moon
17. Run for a Fall
18. Mother of Light
19. Consign to Oblivion

Music 7
Performance 8
Sound 8
Light 8
Total 8 (7.6)

Ebony Ark

The new arrival at Transmission records, from Spain. With their three guitarists a keyboard player and a singer the small stage of Paradiso was quite full but they used their space well and showed us their strength.

I had heard their album but live the impressed me even more. What a voice, pure high notes but also a raw edge, fantastic. She has recently won the award for best national female singer, voted by the readers of Heavy Rock/Kerrang! Their male vocalist was less strong live but that didn’t matter in the overall sound. They played many songs from their latest album ‘Decoder’ but there were two exceptions; a cover of Queens ‘Show Must Go On’ which was very strong and they closed their show with a new song which has no name yet.

The stage was a bit small but they found their way to move and give a good show. Diego (keys) had two little light trees on his keyboard. These were nice but the lighting of the show was very mediocre. Beatriz has a strong personality on stage, she knows how to address the audience and get their attention. She sings to the audience, there were also some friends in the audience. The audience was so enthusiastic they wanted an encore and after a short talk between the band members they played us their new song, a special treat for us.

Music 8
Performance 7
Sound 7
Light 6
Total 7 (7.3)


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