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Concerts & Shows

Epica live at Paard van Troje in Den Haag, NL (May 23, 2012)

By Clayton

Yes….. finally…. I have been able to see Epica live (for the second time) during the Requiem for the Indifferent tour. I’ve been wanting this since the album had been released in March. I don’t think I need to repeat the stories of all the bad luck I had in the previous months (My passport drama and the failed trip to Hungary). But at last it happened and I had a blast!

After the whole Hungary incident I decided to extend my vacation with another week so I could go to the show in Den Haag. I first had to sent out a bunch of emails to Suriname to notify my project group members. After I arranged everything I bought myself a ticket online. 2 days later it arrived.

Meet & Greet contest
On Facebook Epica had posted a contest in which you could win a Meet&Greet with the band. 2 lucky fans would get the chance to go backstage and meet the entire band. All you had to do was  to write a mail and explain why you think you deserved to win. With all my bad luck I was certain I would win, so I wrote a mail. And yes…. I WON!!!! 🙂

Getting ready for the show
Breakfast at Bagels & Beans (Rotterdam)On the morning of May 23, I was so excited that I barely was able to sleep the night before. In the morning I was unable to eat and basically had to force some food down my throat. Given my previous concert experiences I knew that after the show I would be very exhausted so I needed to pump myself with some energy.

Since Rotterdam is closer to Den Haag (compared to Amsterdam), I decided to crash at my friend Patrick his place the night before the show. It also happened to be his birthday the day before, so I had one more reason to go to Rotterdam.
Since eating at home was a problem I decided to wander around the shops nearby the house and I found a coffee shop, named Bagels & Beans, around the corner. I first enjoyed a nice breakfast there (see the photo) and went back inside.

Getting ready for the showIt was soon time for me to get myself ready.
I was excited and nervous at the same time.
What do you wear to meet your favorite band?
I didn’t want to wear an Epica t-shirt, because I thought that was very cliché. Instead I decided to wear a new shirt that would sure to get me some attention. And it did 🙂

 

Arriving in Den Haag
Den Haag HS Railway StationI arrived around 4.00 PM at Den Haag HS train station. Thanks to Google maps I had been able to find my way from the train station to the venue “Paard van Troje”. It was a short 20-minute walk through the busy streets of Den Haag. I haven’t been often to Den Haag before, so this was also a great chance for me to make good use of my camera.

 

I arrived at the venue and noticed that there were only about 15 people waiting before me. First person I noticed was the-famous-although-he-doesn’t-agree  concert photographer Mc Sharq, who also happens to be a Facebook friend of mine. Later I saw another someone I knew from Facebook, Vlien… who also happens to be sort-of the official Epica photographer.

It was still another 2 hours before the doors would open, so I decided to join the crowd sitting on the (filthy) ground. It was a very warm and sunny day so we didn’t have to suffer from the cold.

Meet & Greet with Epica
The doors opened about 30 minutes to an hour later than planned due to some unknown technical difficulties. But eventually the doors were opened and we all stormed inside.

As a contest winner I had to make my way to the cash register to notify my arrival. The second contest winner, Sven from Germany, was also right behind me. Soon the stage manager was called and we were bought taken through a different entrance than the rest of the crowd. We were taken backstage where there is a mini podium, somewhere in the venue.

As we were backstage we first had a chat with the photographers sitting there. The photographers were there for the band which had a photo shoot before the show. A few minutes later the band was called out to meet us.

The first band member I saw was Mark, whom instantly recognized me.
I could feel my heart jumping. One by one all of the band members walked through the door. 3 of them I had already met last year (Mark, Ariën and Isaac) so they already knew me. The rest I officially met in person. And finally, the lovely Simone Simons!!!!!! <3

Backstage with Epica and another contest winner: Sven

Simone Simons and IThe band members were all very down to earth and that relaxed me too. I was making conversation with them as if I’ve known them for years. Which I sort of feel like I do, since I stalk follow all their social media updates and watch and read all interviews. Simone and I were even talking about her last Twitter updates.

 

My ticket signed by all 6 Epica band membersWe got some signatures and made photos. The professional photographer also made photos with his camera, but I’ve not received those from him yet. Once I do will post them. There wasn’t much more to do or say and also the band had to get ready for their photo shoot, so we said our goodbyes and Sven and I were escorted back downstairs.

Opening act: Xandria
xandria01As we came down from downstairs I could already hear Xandria playing. I went to the merch stand and bought myself a few new Epica goodies. After that I made my way to the stage. There was quite a crowd, but not as much as I expected. Some people obviously still needed to arrive.
I somehow wormed myself as close to the front of the stage as I possibly could.
Xandria put on a great show. The singer Manuela Kraller is one amazing singer. Both live and on the albums. Xandria is a band that should not be underestimated. Because of the meet and greet I missed a few of my favorite songs, but still was able to enjoy the remaining songs performed.

xandria02 xandria03 xandria04
xandria05 xandria06 xandria07

After Xandria played their last song the stage was set up for Epica to perform.
During this time a few people went to the bar to get some drinks and this was for me the perfect time to get even closer to the front of the stage :-p

The main act: EPICA
Epica01After a while the lights were switched off and we were teased with drum sounds which are the same drums that are used in Karma, the introduction song of the last Epica album. After teasing us for a couple of minutes the actual introduction song started playing. Soon we saw the shadows of the band members emerging from the dark. And before you knew it the first guitar riffs of Monopoly On Truth were heard.

The show had officially begun. Simone entered the stage and started entertaining us with her outstanding stage presence and magnificent voice.
The show was great. The played some new songs and also some old Epica classics. I sang along to every song. Afterward someone told me that she heard me singing and I know all the songs…. lol… Yes my dear friends, I even know the choir parts sung in Latin 🙂 that’s what happens when you listen to Epica every single day for hours.

 Epica02 Epica03 Epica04

Surprises and special guests
The show was also full of surprises like:
Epica05Frank Schiphorst from MaYaN joined Epica during the song Internal Warfare.
He played the guitar and Mark had his hands free to perform like he does in MaYaN.

Also the exotic dancers were onstage just like the cd release party. One during the song Serenade of Self-Deconstruction and two during the song Requiem for the indifferent. This was very nice to see.

Epica06 Epica07 Epica08

Also Marcela Bovio of the band Stream of Passion joined Epica twice onstage. First time to sing with Simone during Sancta Terra, in which Manuela Kraller (Xandria) also joined in. in that song you heard 3 powerful vocals. It was amazing.
Later Marcela joined the band again to perform Cry for the Moon. She played the violin during the intro of that song. It gave the song an even more eerie vibe.

Epica09 Epica10 Epica11

Also the band performed the disco version of The Phantom Agony. Just like they did in Paradiso. Click here to see a short video.

Smoke alarm incident
Arien-behind-the-drumsThere was a minor incident during the last part of Delirium.
The smoke alarm of the venue went off and that automatically switches off all the power in the building.
The band took a short recess to hear what was going on. Very soon Ariën did a drum solo to keep us all entertained. This kept the energy going.
It turned out that someone was smoking in the venue and that triggered the very sensitive alarms.
Mark joked that it probably was the energy of the crowd that set off the alarm.
After this minor incident there were no more mistakes and very soon we all forgot about it.

Epica12 Epica13 Epica14
Epica15 Epica16 Epica17

The setlist
Here you can see which songs Xandria had performed:
http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/xandria/2012/paard-van-troje-the-hague-netherlands-73df82cd.html

And here is the setlist of Epica:
http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/epica/2012/paard-van-troje-the-hague-netherlands-63df82c7.html

Epica18 Epica19 Epica20

After the show
When the show was over my voice was hoarse and almost gone. I rushed to the bar to find me a cold drink so I was able to talk again. Soon as I felt like myself again I went to get me some autographs from the singer of Xandria, Manuela and got my photo taken with her and also the guitarist of the band.

Manuela Kraller - singer of Xandria Philip Restemeier – Guitarist from Xandria Card signed by Manuella

After a while Mark and Ariën from Epica came in the crowd and I also had my photo taken once again with them. This is also when I gave my I <3 Suriname bracelet to Mark. I have his wristband from last year, so we are even 🙂 lol

Mark Jansen Ariën van Weesenbeek

I also I met the former guitarist of Epica, Ad Sluijter.
And also the Italian opera singer Laura Macri.

Ad Sluijter Laura Macri

Eventually we were asked by the venue personnel to leave the venue, because they had to close the venue down. I quickly made my way to the train station, because the last train to Rotterdam Blaak was about to leave in a few minutes and I didn’t feel like taking a detour to Amsterdam or wait hours for the next train. I ran to the train station, but made it just in time with minutes to spare.

I made my way to my friend’s house and went to bed a very satisfied man 🙂

I am now able to cross one more thing off my bucket list:
Meet Simone Simons in person

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