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Epica + Xandria Live

Epica + Xandria
@ Oosterpoort Groningen (Netherlands)
April 2015



The only Enigma Europe club show of Epica in the Netherlands was in Groningen. As Epica originates from Limburg (in the South) the location Oosterpoort in the North is according to Dutch “standards” a long trip. I don’t know if it was the reason it was a long time ago Epica played there. For sure the VIP service provided by my sister-in-law in Groningen (she brought me to the venue and picked me up there to) made me go. And I’m happy I made the decision to go to Groningen.

The show in Groningen was one of the first gigs of the Epica Enigma Europe Tour 2015 and the last gig of the Spring 2015 Sacrificium Tour of support Xandria. You should expect these big names would attract numerous fans. Partly it did, the venue was crowded but not sold out.

Xandria was allowed to kick off the evening and did so with great enthusiasm and pleasure. They did not get that much playing time, but they used that time very efficiently. Very limited talking, a strong focus on the music. The tour and even playing the day before in Essen (Germany) didn’t impact the energy on stage. And meanwhile Xandria is not only a well-established team buy also smart. They anticipated that the new work was not that known very well, which was confirmed by the limited hands on the question who owned the Sacrificium album. Most likely because of that the set list had an accent on older songs.




The guys played a solid set with a lot of energy and the stage dynamics entertained the crowd. But it is Dianne van Giersbergen who steals the show with her great appearance and powerful, pure vocals. And her advantage of being native Dutch. During the gig the enthusiasm increased. Musically the show was solid as a rock, the band are professional musicians who clearly have a lot of fun on the stage and are able to bring that to the public. The show ended too early. And based on the cheers at the end, the public fully agreed with me.




Set List:
Blood On My Hands

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Now it was time for Epica. In the break I “discovered” there was no backdrop. Initially I was surprised, usually it makes the setup complete. However the grey curtain in the background made it with the extensive light and pyro show a well-balanced setting. When picking up the accreditation the photographers received a written briefing including the set list with an indication of where pyro elements are incorporated. Access to the pit was because of that split into two parts (Songs 4, 5 and 8).




With the fire and other pyro after the intro “Originem” the venue was more than warmed up after the first two songs “The Second Stone” and “The Essence Of Silence”. With “Sensorium “ a trip back into the past of The Phantom Agony. New or old songs, both got cheers from the audience. After “Fools Of Damnation” the pyro alert was on again and the pit had to be cleared. With “Unleashed” and “Storm the Sorrow” the fully warmed-up audience was made ready for more musical fireworks too.

From all albums there was something, a nice chosen walk-through the works. Epica is definitely eager to be back on stage again, moving around dynamically and quite clearly having fun on stage. In the beginning the mixing of the guitars was not optimal but improved later and with that the music became more impressive. We could enjoy extensive guitar solos (Mark Jansen, Isaac Delhaye), dynamic bass (Rob van der Loo) and mobile keys (Coen Jansen on his Nu Motion Revo).




What about Simone Simons? She was as gorgeous as ever and well in shape. Her clear vocals and her entertaining interaction with the audience and band makes her a great experience. Interesting were the reactions on the “Southern tongue” of Simone. Some of her expressions are revealing some cultural differences even in a small country as the Netherlands. Epica used it very well when the audience had to choose between “The Last Crusade” and “Reverence (Living In The Heart)”. Of course you get the planned response “both” and so it happened. Everybody was more than happy.

The strong “The Obsessive Devotion” and “Victims of Contingency” were very well appreciated but the venue almost exploded with the first tones of “Cry for the Moon”, the most loved Epica song (it‘s also my all-time Epica favorite). “Design Your Universe” closed the main set.

Incorporated in the show is the Moment of Fame for Ariën van Weesenbeek. Of course you hear and see his quality and importance during the set. In the solo he really could show why his nick name is “the Beast”. In one word: Impressive.

The party was not over yet. Coen returning with his mobile keyboard starts the encore. After “Santa Terra” and “ Unchain Utopia” a great evening was coming to an end. The final song was the missing “Consign to Oblivion”


. Epica


Set List:
The Second Stone
The Essence Of Silence
Fools Of Damnation
The Last Crusade
Reverence (Living In The Heart)
The Obsessive Devotion
Victims of Contingency
Cry For The Moon
Design Your Universe
Sancta Terra
Unchain Utopia
Consign to Oblivion

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Oosterpoort was not sold-out. The ones who didn’t go missed a great Epica show, powerful music and impressive fire(works). Xandria was a good choice as support and their show brought them new fans. In the foyer there were plenty of opportunities to talk to band members, to get a photo with them and to get your newly acquired CD signed. The ones who you expected were all there. A great evening ended and at midnight most visitors had left the venue happy.