What’s up Skull Smashers?! I haven’t had much time for writing album reviews lately. I have been very busy with my own music endeavors as of late. Anyway, I digress. I took some time last night with a few brews to watch the Omega Alive streaming event put together by Epica. I’ll tell you about why this impressed me very much.
To preface, Epica put out a great new album earlier in 2021 titled Omega. Due to COVID-19 they haven’t been able to appropriately promote the new album with a tour yet. Omega is an excellent album and Epica continue to impress me with their music. Definitely worth paying to own. Whether you prefer digital or physical copies. However, what’s not as known to most people is how great of performers they are.
Omega Alive was truly a theatrical experience with many cool features that can only come from lots of practice and planning. This “event” is full of surprises that will have you glued to your screen. I call it an event because you will understand it was not all filmed simultaneously and was not a “livestream” performance. I should note the music was most definitely performed live. There’s no mistaken this. However, with a band like Epica, whom is known to make things epic, this is exactly how this band should have approached this unexpected pandemic downtime. It’s in the name, really. They have to go big or not do it at all. Epica did not disappoint in Omega Alive. They took their Retrospect performance and built upon it for this event. The only thing missing in comparison to Retrospect was the live orchestra.
There were many small details in the performance that were impressive to watch. One thing you can tell for certain is this band truly enjoys performing. Omega Alive didn’t feel like a band playing to an empty arena looking bored or perplexed. All the little tricks that make a live performance great were there. From Coen playing chords on Isaac’s guitar, to Simone and Mark “sharing” a microphone, spinning keyboards, ramps for the musicians, and lastly choreographed guitar movements. As a guitar player myself I always appreciate those. Epica was operating at peak performance level. Excitement was everywhere.
Epica performed the streaming event in 5 stages. Each stage had it’s own artistic appearance and featured theatrics performed by non-band members. There were flags waved, a children’s choir, dancers in a chandelier with flames, and choreographed dancers to name a few. One thing that stood out was the extensive use of pyrotechnics! Epica did not hold back! Fire was everywhere! One of my favorite moments was Coen playing a piece on a burning piano and Arien hitting a gong with a torch that ignited the gong effectively ending one of the performances. It was awesome. The first stage ended with the band playing under an artificial downpour and was fantastic.
In my mind this was the performance of 2021. I hope events like these are something bands will continue to do after the pandemic comes to a close. For bands like Epica, which place high emphasis on unique performances, this is exactly what fans need. It’s unique enough for us to really enjoy something like this in our living rooms and come out feeling like we just witnessed something special. I was left with my jaw on the floor at times, chills during other moments, and truly amazed at what this band was able to pull in what I would consider a short amount of time. Thank you, Epica! I definitely came alive watching Omega Alive!