Tonight is the final night of the Epica UK tour. Epica havent played in the UK for many years apart from a single performance at last years Hammerfest, so expectations from fans are high. The support for this tour is ReVamp - the new band of former After Forever singer Floor Jansen. Its ReVamp's first visit to the UK, so for many fans this tour is a chance to see both bands for the first time. The venue has a huge queue outside an hour before the doors open, and its already clear that the venue is going to be packed out.
Revamp start as they mean to go on with pounding drums and powerful heavy guitar chords bursting forth as soon as the band come on stage to plenty of applause. A few seconds later Floor Jansen makes her appearance to huge cheers and she immediately launches into the first song - "Here's my hell". Floor has an amazingly powerful voice and one suspects that if her microphone broke, she'd still be capable of drowning out the guitars. Floor uses her powerful voice to great effect on this and other heavy tracks in the set tonight, but she also displays her versatility and range with grunts/growls in one song as well as a more gentle voice for a ballad. Floor is not one of those singers who just stands and sings - she frequently headbangs and windmills and prowls around the stage.
One or two fans are slightly disappointed by the lack of any After Forever songs in the setlist, but personally I think its good that Revamp have enough confidence in their own material to feel comfortable in avoiding having to rely on After Forever material to keep the crowd happy. This confidence pays off as the crowd love the performance and visits to the merchandise stand suggest that Revamp have made plenty of new fans tonight. Revamp do usually play one After Forever song in their headline shows but this is largely due to them only having one albums worth of their own material at present, so cover versions are needed to play longer sets.
Revamp's setlist tonight is the same as it has been throughout the UK tour, with one change - "No honey for the damned" is not played tonight - presumably due to time constraints.
Tonight Revamp could be mistaken for headliners judging by how well they go down, and they certainly set a high standard for Epica to try and follow. Revamp's next UK visit in May is likely to attract a lot more fans as a result of this tour.
Epica take to the stage to loud applause. Epica are not as raw and heavy sounding as ReVamp - they have a more polished, rounded sound with far more prominent use of backing tracks than Revamp. Singer Simone has a beautiful voice which is used to great effect in Epica's brand of powerful symphonic metal. Her voice while beautiful does seem to lack some of the range and power of Floor's, but both singers tonight are excellent.
Tonights setlist from Epica is biased towards material from their current album, Design your universe, with tracks such as Unleashed, Tides of time and Martyr of the free word being aired. Older material includes the bands traditional show-closer, Consign to Oblivion, taken from their second album. Whereas Revamp have chosen to play the same setlist throughout the tour, Epica have changed theirs each night, so fans who have been to more than one show (and there are plenty of them here tonight) get more variety. Having released several albums, Epica have a lot of material to work with which enables them to vary the setlist in this way.
For the first song of the encore, Sancta Terra, Epica are joined on stage by Floor Jansen who duets with Simone Simons, giving fans the treat of seeing two top female rock/metal singers performing together.
Tonight was a superb nights entertainment - two excellent bands with excellent musicians and fantastic singers. Fans are left to hope that both bands return to the UK regularly in the future.
Epica photos: http://www.festivalphoto.net/index.php?page=2&concertID=18085
Revamp photos: http://www.festivalphoto.net/index.php?page=2&concertID=18086
Here's my hell
All goodbyes are said
Kill me with silence
Head up high
Resign to surrender
The obsessive devotion
Martyr of the free word
Fools of damnation
Cry for the moon
Star wars-Imperial march (instrumental)
Tide of time
Consign to oblivion
The phantom agony