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Thread: Review and Experiences of Epica live in Melbourne 21/04/2013

  1. #1
    Guest ItsTheRadium's Avatar

    Review and Experiences of Epica live in Melbourne 21/04/2013

    It was the morning of the 21st of April; I had just woken up from a terrible night's sleep due to the prolific nightclub across the road from my backpackers hostel in Melbourne. I'm not sure if I would have slept too well that night anyway, since I'd traveled a long way and was far too excited to see Epica. After getting ready for the day, I spent many hours just passing the time until I could get in line to see them. Yep, I was waiting to wait. I'm not used to large cities and the prospect of getting lost in Melbourne wasn't a favourable one. I spent a little time scouting out the area before finally settling down right outside Billboard the Venue.

    To be honest, it looked a bit shabby. Sitting right under a car park and next to a dodgy looking iPhone repair shop, I thought I'd arrived at the wrong address until I saw their sign. It looked like they hadn't updated their information since March, and there wasn't a single notice saying Epica would be present. It was clearly the right place, though. Soon after I arrived, a couple of other fans showed up making sure they had found the right venue, seemingly sharing my confusion. After confirming it, we sat down and had some nice conversations. That's where we waited for four and a half hours.

    8 pm. Door opening time. With a somewhat impressive line going a few blocks, everything was all set up. After having heard the sound-check, getting stuck in the VIP line and almost losing my front-of-the-line place, I had managed to get back into it thanks to some new friends I met earlier who let me under the tape right at the front. Thanks, guys! And so, after many antics and mishaps, everything was ready to go. The security guy opened the lane and from there it was an every man for himself dash to the barrier. Thankfully I found a nice little spot right at the front, a little to the left, and that was to be my permanent standing place for a few hours. After another half an hour of waiting, the supporting act came on. We were all treated to see Eyefear, a local Melbourne progressive metal band.

    I'd listened to them a few times before, and I have to say their live show was much more impressive than their recorded works. It was brilliant! Danny, the lead vocalist, is a true performer and knows how to get an audience pumped. Evan the bassist did back-up vocals, and his voice is a perfect offset to Danny's soaring screams. They also had a guest female vocalist, who unfortunately I don't know the name of, for a few songs. Her singing was soft and sweet, another perfect match for these guys. If there's one thing I can say about Eyefear, it's that they really know what they're doing, and they do it well.

    But of course, the crowd was there to see Epica and before the end of Eyefear's one hour set, the audience was already chanting for their arrival. We all had to wait though, since it took another half an hour for Eyefear's equipment to be moved. In the last 10 minutes of that wait, there was so much tension in the air. It felt like a string which could have been broken at the drop of a pin. Finally, the intro Karma began playing and the crowd went wild. One by one, the band members walked out on stage, all greeted by enthusiastic screams and roars from the crowd. The last to stroll out was Simone, who unsurprisingly received the biggest welcome. And so, the show everyone was waiting for had finally begun.

    The first song of the night was Monopoly on Truth, a great start to the show. It was high energy right from the beginning, ecstatic fans headbanging and signing from the get-go. To my absolute joy, the next song on their list was Sensorium. This is a personal favourite of mine, and it was an amazing performance of the song. Even on a small stage, the lights were well utilised and a screen at the back of the stage was used to show fire during the intro and chorus. The band were an absolute pleasure to watch, always interacting with both the crowd and one another. There were many sweet moments to be seen all the way throughout the night, not to mention their ever-impressive synchronised headbanging.

    After Martyr of the Free Word, Mark took a moment to talk and play around with the crowd, using his knowledge of Sydney Vs Melbourne rivalry to rouse them further, teasing that Sydney may have been a little better. This caused a loud roar throughout the venue. After some lighthearted back-and-forth, he finally declared Melbourne the better crowd since we didn't need to be told to scream and just did so of our own accord. After that friendly moment, Quietus was played.

    Every song for the night was very well chosen, all of them being much loved Epica classics chosen to impress. The setlist did its job, keeping everybody excited the whole time. The band loved interacting with the first few rows throughout the whole gig. I even had a nice few moments of metal-horning with Mark, headbanging with Isaac and generally rocking out with Rob and Simone while they were close to my little spot. At one point during the night, after Sancta Terra had been played, Simone apologised for a minor cold, which meant she could "only give 99%." She had no reason to however, as her vocals were stunning as always despite a few small sniffles.

    During her little speech, she talked about the 10th anniversary Retrospect show, announcing they'd bought a little surprise with them from the Netherlands. A few members of the audience shouted cries of "Floor! Floor!" and a small group turned it into a chant. When the guy beside me asked me why I wasn't joining in, I simply replied "Please, they've already played Sancta Terra! Floor's not here." As it turned out, their nice little surprise was the dance version of The Phantom Agony! It came complete with the screen flashing rainbow colours in squares. The band were all encouraging the crowd to dance around, and put in some disco vibes themselves. It was a fitting end to the night, for afterwards they waved to the crowd and left the stage.

    The crowd were screaming various things such as "Encore!", "Epica!" and even one guy's repeated request for "Cry for the Moon!" were left hanging for a good few minutes before Coen returned to the stage and took his place behind the microphone. This man is a master of words, and his speech was certainly a highlight of the night. At one point, he grinned and jokingly asked "Now, is anyone here tonight from Tasmania?" I don't think he was expecting a response when I called out "I am!" and was backed up by the people I'd met in line following up with "Yeah, she is!" and "You go Tassie!" He turned to me, looking a little shocked and simply replied with "Wow, you're fucking dedicated!" before continuing to address the people who had traveled from Adelaide.

    There were a lot of people who'd come from there, and Coen simply stated "Yeah, the record label told us 'No, it's not worth it, it's a shitty little place' but we'll definitely go there next time we come back to Australia!" He also complimented on the crowd, saying "This show is definitely in the top three of shows we've played in Australia so far!" Well, I can't fault him there! Before returning to his keyboard, he did some calls of "Aussie Aussie Aussie!" and received enthusiastic calls of "Oi Oi Oi!" When the band returned to play Cry for the Moon and were getting ready to play, he repeated his call without a microphone and again was met with a reply of "Oi Oi Oi!" from the crowd. Anyone who can call something out in a loud room with no microphone and get such a response has truly mastered crowd control.

    And so, Cry for the Moon begun. This was Simone's turn to be the master of the audience again, encouraging us to all sing along and pointing the microphone at the crowd during the sections of "Forever and ever." She also had a wonderful playful moment where she sang melodies and waited for the crowd to respond. It seemed as if she was trying to throw us off track in places, but we all mirrored her tunes to the best of our abilities. She didn't lose the crowd's attention for a single moment. Next came Storm the Sorrow, then their true closing song, Consign to Oblivion. What a perfect note to end on. They all gathered and took their bow, but didn't leave before tossing goodies to the people they'd been preforming for.

    This was probably the roughest part of the night. I kept having people fighting me rather brutally for all these things, even Simone's towel which ended up way at the back of the crowd. Because as heavy metal tradition states, sweat-soaked towels are always the first thing to go. When Mark tossed his towel he looked at me, nodded and prepared to chest-pass it over. When he did, I was knocked around like a bowling pin but managed to grab it by a corner. Now, I'm used to these things being a tug-of-war match, what I wasn't expecting was the guy beside me repeatedly elbowing me in the ribs until I loosened my grip and he pulled it away. I'm not sure who got it, but I saw him and the guy next to him fist-fighting each other for it. The scramble for picks and drumsticks went much the same way. Someone kicked me in the back of the knee. I had a swift forearm hit the side of my head at one point. One woman behind me kept shoving me into the barrier so I wouldn't be able to catch things.
    Last edited by ItsTheRadium; 05-14-2013 at 02:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Guest ItsTheRadium's Avatar
    Last were the water bottles. By now, I think the band had noticed I was getting beat up rather bad. Simone and Mark tried passing me their bottles, but both gave up when I was slammed into the barrier more. The last thing to go was Coen's water bottle. Now, I must say this man is ridiculously kind. He looked over at me, walked to the stage in front of me and leaned over the divide to pass it to me directly. Everyone around me was reaching out for it, but he actually pushed their hands out of the way so he could give it to me. After I swiftly tucked it safe and tightly under my arm, we shook hands. After that, Mark and Isaac went around clapping hands with everyone in the first two or three rows. They all finally made their exit and it was time to leave.

    Before dashing out, I went over to the merch table to buy myself a shirt and a postcard. I had to get a shirt a few sizes to big since all the mediums were long gone. There were many postcards to choose from, but a Consign to Oblivion one with Simone on it really stood out to me. Carrying my little bundle, I quickly dashed to the back door of the venue. I was the first one waiting out there by a good quarter of an hour. A few people slowly gathered, taking to calling ourselves "the lonely hopefuls." There were about six of us, having little chats about the show. Finally, after three quarters of an hour, the band emerged. All the guys dashed off pretty quickly. I was hoping for quick moments with Mark and Coen, but they kind of just sneaked away. Though of course, Mark didn't leave before signing someone's boob.

    A lot of things happened after that. As soon as Simone came out, she was crowded around, but not before one of the girls kind of lead her away for a few minutes. I finally heard her say "I'm sorry, but I really have to go and talk to the others now." So she came back and was swamped by about 6 people handing her things to sign. Armed with a black Sharpie, she quickly did her scribble on two of them. I was standing in the back of the group, awkwardly shaking and clutching the postcard to my chest, thinking she wouldn't have time to sign it. As she looked around the group, she noticed me. She walked over, smiled, put out her hand and said "I'll sign that." So much for expectations!

    After the signature, she looked at me and asked if I'd like a photo. Not really having a functional brain at that moment in time, I simply replied "Uh, yeah, that would... that would be pretty awesome." Though before I could get my camera out, people were surrounding her doing selfies. After they were done, she came back and asked if my camera was ready. It was, so I passed it to a guy who took our photo before Simone had finished getting ready, so she looks kind of drunk in the picture. After I took my camera back, she hugged me. She then said something I wasn't expecting at all, "Thank you for being such an awesome fan." A little dazed and wondering what I'd done, I quickly responded with "You're welcome, and thank you for being so awesome and kind." She smiled, then looked at her watch, said she had time for one more photo which she never got because the little group could never decide who'd have it. She finally greeted us all farewell, and left to get in the van. A group of people tried daisy-chaining themselves across the alley to stop it from leaving, but that didn't go too well for them.

    So finally, it was time to leave. We all split up and went back to our respective hotels and houses. I have to say, despite everything bad that happened, it was well worth the experience. It was the most awesome thing in my life and I wouldn't have done it any other way. They did say they enjoyed it so much they'd be returning, so I'll be waiting for Epica in Australia round two!

    This is the only photo you guys are getting of me, because I'm just so darn proud of it. ^_^

    All my photos from the night can be found in a much larger resolution here, and all of my videos can be found on my Youtube channel. Enjoy it all, guys! Hope you don't mind the wall of text.
    Last edited by ItsTheRadium; 05-14-2013 at 02:17 PM.

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