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Het Paard, Den Haag, Nederland
September 1st 2006

This was anounced by Epica as a special show, where they would have some surprises in store for the fans. It is also one of the last clubshows in Holland for some time to come, because the band is leaving for a month long tour of the States by mid September. When I got in about half an hour before the show, the venue was already pretty packed for what promised to be a special evening...


Does one of the established Dutch metal bands need any further introduction? For those fans who had to wait for the release of the long awaited DVD of their Paradiso show this was about the closest they could get to reliving that concert. Epica back to the studio for a new album, time for yet another step in their carreers.

First thing I notice is that some slight changes have been made to some songs. When you’ve seen a good number of shows from one band, it is nice to be hearing something different now and then. We get a real treat in this sense, because a  new song is being played! It is called ’Never Enough’and certainly the sound is very Epica, it wriggles its way into your ears with a strong chorus- which reminded me of Within Temptation a bit.What is different with this song is the guitarsound which came accross as being a bit more modern (think Lacuna Coil on their last album here) than what we are used to hear from this band. It is hard to base expectations for the new material on just one song, but it made me eager to hear more for sure! With this said, I think tonights show was much more about the show element than the music. So let’s get talking about that.

Concerning the visual part of the gig there is a lot of interesting things going on on the stage. The lucky people that saw the show in Paradiso in May or at the Lowlands festival already understand what I am talking about: fire eaters, a bellydancer with snakes and lots of fireworks. The first songs of the set sees the band not being as enthousiastic as I thought they would be. They come accross like they’re holding back, but after a couple of songs the party is getting started with the band as well. From then on there is confidence in the attitude of the band members and it sparkles and ends in fireworks. You can also take this literally; there’s a great deal of fireworks on stage tonight, which were particually well timed during ‘Mother of Light’. I think they really made the most of the pyros and lights during this show. Mark is really getting into it as always- addressing the crowd here and there to make them go even more crazy. It is clear he enjoys every minute of performing. Some nice posing going on in places where he is almost lying on the stage playing the guitar, that’s the kind of spirit I like to see in a performer!

Now concerning the sound; it wasn’t the best I have heard, but I couldn’t really tell because I was standing on the second balcony to make sure I wouldn’t miss out on the visual elements of the show.  However, the sound did seem to be a bit more balanced, with Simone’s voice being less in the front of the mix. I could hear Ad playing this time. It was all in all pretty ok from what I’ve heard from people standing in front of the stage.

Tonight I notice part of Simone’s performance has changed; I see her headbang less and looking for more direct contact with the fans. She is kneeling in front of the fans, singing to them. From the cheering it is clear this is being very much appreciated. Also she dances more than before- even with a snake during ‘Cry for the Moon’. What a lovely sight it is! Jonas an Lenneke join the band on stage to play the cello and violin during ’Linger’. Jonas is a familiar face to Epica fans by now. His performance is nice and even though I love hearing the cello being played, it fails to interest me tonight. I think they should have skipped this song, to keep the energy flowing in the show.

After the fireworks and the bellydancing, another special moment arrives when Jeroen is actually performing a drum solo. This doesn’t happen often you see! When I ask him about it afterwards he tells me; “I played this solo so Simone could change into another dress”.  Indeed, Simone changes costumes three times during the gig. First she is wearing leather trousers, then she disappears to enter again wearing a wonderful red belly dancing costume, then finshes the set wearing the dress that’s on the Consign to Oblivion cover.

One of the songs I enjoyed most was’Seif al Din’where Gonda the belly dancer comes on stage with a rug. As she puts it on the stage, we can see there are shards of glass on it. In perfect symetry to the rhythm of the song, she starts to walk on top of the shards. To make it even more sensational a sight, Yves is taken to the front of the stage to stand on her stomach whilst she is lying with her back on the glass. What a show!! Sure it takes away the attention from the music, but who cares when it is a treat like the one the fans are getting tonight?

There is one final note I wish to make: I hope that it will be possible for Ad and Yves to contribute more to the show. Being such excellent guys it would be nice to see something more of their personalities when they take to the stage. If Jeroen can play a drumsolo, there is no excuse for them not to participate and take up part of the spotlights for themselves. All in all this was one show I would have been sorry to miss; I am sure that with the way Epica is currently performing, they will be able to showcase their talents to the max with the US crowds. I wish them the very best of luck on the coming tour. Nock ‘em dead!

00. Hunab K'u
01. Dance of Fate
02. Sensorium
03. The Last Crusade
04. Quietus
05. Run for a Fall
06. Crystal Mountain
07. Cry for the Moon
08. Linger
09. Blank Infinity
10. Never Enough
11. Force of the Shore
12. Mother of Light
13. The Phantom Agony
14. Seif al Din
15. Façade of Reality
16. Consign to Oblivion

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Light: 10
Sound: 7
Total: 9

More photos on page 2


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