If you missed the live stream Omega Alive from Epica you surely missed something (sorry for the same old joke, but it truly was) epic. No tour and no album release shows made this band work extremely hard and focus completely on creating an unbelievable live recorded production.
Live shows start with a support act. No difference here. The Belgian band Off The Cross pumped up the viewers with heavy metal music filmed with precise drone action in a fairy-like church setting. In real life there would be a stage setup between the two bands; here a countdown of 15 minutes started, making the viewers and chatters more excited.
The show was divided in five chapters; each introduced by a short cut scene. The first chapter “Overtura” opened with a starting credits and a soundtrack that gives you goosebumps, like you are watching a movie in cinema. Finally we see the whole band appear one by one. Once in place they begin their new song ‘Abyss Of Time- Countdown To Singularity’ followed by ‘The Skeleton Key’, proving they have impeccable new material to perform live. The first ten minutes of the show were already packed with lots of stuff: dancers, acrobats, fire dancers, a children’s choir. But the best is to see these musicians enjoy playing live again. Simone singing the first lines of ‘Unchain Utopia’ while holding two sticks of fire brings a little bit of light in the darkness and a little bit of peace in all the rumble.
Part two “Magnituda” breaks open with ‘The Obsessive Devotion’. A change of stage setup and clothing makes it interesting to rediscover what’s all happening. After a short solo of Coen Janssen on his spinning piano and a twinning guitar duet of Mark Jansen and Isaac Delahaye, even more attention goes to the raw grunting of Mark taking the center stage. Where has Simone even gone to? She reappears by singing the bridge and freaks the shit out of everybody by dropping down of the stage. But she’s fine. For ‘In All Conscience’ she sweeps around the stage singing lovely in a vintage boxing microphone she just caught dropping down from the ceiling. When ‘Victims Of Contigency’ begins, Coen is surrounded by masked man while he’s playing on his portable curved keys starting of this fast and complex song. By the end of the song all band members are standing side by side in front getting soaking wet by the rain dropping down on them.
The little girl in the cut scene enters a big portal after seeing Simone sitting on a throne. Chapter “Elysia” is about to begin. But it could also be called “Kingdom Of Heaven” because they are playing ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘Kingdom of Heaven Pt.III – The Antediluvian Universe’ and the stage was changed, using torches and banners, to look like a big hall of a castle. Two long epic songs that make time fly by so quickly with all of the musical brilliance and all the fun they are all having on stage. To make everything even more majestic, in between the two songs a big chandelier appears, consisting of 4 fire acrobats. “And why not play on a burning piano?” “Because it’s crazy, Coen.” “Okay; lets do it!”
“Gravita” can be called the most emotive chapter. A choir with key necklaces standing in a heavenly smoke accompanies Simone a cappella for ‘Rivers’. By the end of the song the camera turns around to pan to Coen and Isaac, who are playing a moving musical interlude on the tones of ‘Once Upon a Nightmare’. A ring of fire ignites and shows the whole band is standing together in a big circle to finish the song all together. This is simply a magnificently beautiful moment.
Sadly, every beginning has an ending. “Alpha & Omega” is the last part of this marvelous production. The show ends where it began; on the same stage setup. They show they aren’t totally ready jet by playing their song ‘Freedom – Wolves Within’ with full dedication. Even the schoolgirls in the background performing TikTok-like dances can’t break this song down. While performing ‘Cry For The Moon’, the band brings tribute to their massive live audiences by showing live footage of festival crowds enjoying an Epica show. They even thank the technical crew by playing in between them on “other side” of the camera. This is also the first time Simone talks straight to the audience; thanking us for joining them on their fantastic journey.
It seemed the end of this live stream had been reached, but this one even has encores. After a build-up and break down they suddenly start ‘Beyond The Matrix’. Epica isn’t ready to say goodbye jet. Flags are waved around in the background and fire is falling from the ceiling. And there is still one more song come. This time it is really the end. One last time giving all the energy they have with ‘Omega – Sovereign of the Sun Spheres’. Everything builds up to one big final explosion: acrobats, dancers, fire, smoke and of course one last showcase of their amazing musical talent.
We wouldn’t expect less from Epica. One of the best live streams we’ve seen this pandemic. They are totally ready to perform live again and create evenings to never forget. Can’t wait!!