Epica – Forum, London – 6th December 2014


On previous tours, Epica have skipped the UK when doing the European leg and instead done a separate UK tour of around half a dozen dates in small-medium sized venues, but this time they’ve included a single UK date on their European tour, and it’s here at the Forum, which as it is pretty much sold out, makes it their biggest UK headline show yet by a long way.  It’s technically a co-headline show with Dragonforce (Dragonforce are just support on the rest of the tour), but judging by the number of people here in Epica T-shirts it’s fairly clear who most of the crowd are here to see.

The night kicked off not long after the doors opened with British band Neonfly who got things started with a great but very short set. The band were all very active and were constantly moving around the stage, headbanging and jumping as they played.  Most of the set was songs from their first album, but they did play one song that is due to appear on their second album when it’s  recorded.  A great set but far too short.

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Dragonforce are a band that divide opinion.  For many people they’re cheesy and over the top and play fast for the sake of it.  For other people they’re a great power metal band.  Judging by the reactions tonight they certainly went down well with a large percentage of the crowd, but equally there were quite a few fans who weren’t that enthusiastic and begrudged them having such a long set.
One song that did seem to unite fans was “Ring of fire”, the Johnny Cash cover.  It seemed to take a while for it to register with fans that they really were hearing a massively speeded up cover, and I’m not sure many fans enjoyed it.
Overall I think they went down well with most of the fans here tonight and they certainly put in a great performance.

Dragonforce setlist:
Fury of the storm
Three hammers
Black winter night
Symphony of the night
Ring of fire
The sun is dead
The game
Cry thunder
Through the fire and flames
Valley of the Damned

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Epica took to the stage in a blaze of light and right from the start showed why they had so many fans here as they kicked off a set that combined some really heavy guitars and pounding drums with the subtleties of the keyboards and orchestral samples and the beautiful vocals of Simone Simons.  The set tonight is a great mix of old and new, with five songs taken from the latest album, The Quantum Enigma, and the new material goes down extremely well – even in comparison with the old fan favourites, which shows the strength of the new songs.  It’s complex music but the band still move around, headbang like crazy and look like they’re having a great time on stage. This plus the multi level stage setup and the light show all combine to ensure its a great visual experience for the fans as well as great music.
Epica are a band that I’ve never seen put on a bad show, and tonight was no different – from start to finish it was simply superb, and the fact that despite the later than usual 11.30pm curfew meant many people would have difficulty with trains, very few people,left till the very end, as nobody wanted to miss such a great performance.
The set ended with “Design your universe”, but it wasn’t long before the obligatory encore saw the band return to the stage.  They kicked the encore off with “Cry for the moon” and threw in a drum solo at the end of it, before moving on to “Unchain utopia”, and finally ending the night with “Consign to oblivion”.  A fantastic night, and I hope we will see Epica back in the UK before too long – hopefully doing a few more dates around the country too.

Epica setlist:

The second stone
The essence of silence
Storm the sorrow
Fools of damnation
Victims of contingency
The obsessive devotion
Chemical insomnia
Sancta terra
The last crusade
Design your universe

Cry for the moon
Unchain utopia
Consign to oblivion

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.