Live Coverage || Epica w/ Stream of Passion @ Bataclan (Paris) 09/12/12

It hasn't been that long since I last saw Epica along with Stream of Passion on stage. After watching 3 shows within the last seven months, at some point I knew what to expect and I could be a bit more objective when it came to the performance.
I have to admit that, when being used to concerts starting about half an hour after the doors open, it comes to a surprise when shows abroad start at the time indicated on the ticket.  It was already raining when I arrived at the long waiting line at 6.15 (the concert was to start at 6.30). Forty five minutes later, I was checking my coat at the vestiaire under the first notes of "Lost" from SoP. What I couldn't help but notice was the tight sound of the guys, that got weaker once the intro was over. Don't get me wrong. I find Marcela an amazing  performer and musician, and a very down-to-earth and humble person. The recorded songs sound very good but their live appearences, to me, lack some kind of magic; it sounds like the tempo of the vocal melodies doesn't match the rest of the song and the end result gets tiresome. The peak of their performance, however, was the "Street Spirit" cover. Each and every time I hear the live version, I get goosebumps. Marcela's voice is so haunting that blows me away. As their setlist reached the end, the band stated that they would be around the bar, so that anyone could hang out with them. 
Half an hour later, Epica hit the stage. The crowd, which counted people from all age groups, immediately responded to the new songs and sang them word by word. As the band claimed, their set was going to be larger than usual. It was, in terms of length, as the songs that got thrown in again were "Internal Warfare" and "Fools of Damnation". Before the concert, I read many comments about how Simone should stop her concerns about makeup, and focus on her voice instead. Having that in mind, I paid extra attention to the vocals. Simone delivered a quite versatile set. Her voice was exactly as it was supposed to be. Even though the new songs demanded some chest, she chose to play safe with her head voice; on "Storm the Sorrow" she got down to chest voice again, when needed and perfectly nailed it. The band didn't stop encouraging the crowd to sing along and cheer. However, the only thing that I didn't like about Epica's performance (and have never liked, to be honest) is that they put on the same tape over and over when it comes to flattering the audience. This time I can be absolutely sure, as I heard it once in Paris in April, once in Athens in May and now, in Paris, once again. After two hours sharp, Epica finished their setlist leaving nothing but enthusiasm.
Despite those little things I pointed out, I had a very pleasant evening, overall. I think that the combo of Epica with SoP really works, even though Marcela didn't join Epica on stage this time. Both bands sounded really tight and the audience seemed to enjoy every minute of the concert as well. 

PS: It seems that some band members left the venue from the back door, while fans waited for almost two more hours to get some pictures with them. What I want to bring up, is the whole attitude that some bands are likely to display lately. As a musician friend of mine says, "fans are everything for a band. Tweren't for them, you wouldn't be here". I do understand that sometimes after all this fatigue, the musicians may not be in the mood for pictures and catching up. Bands should also understand that some people attend their concerts right after work, and will be probably working again the next day. They give their money for two hours of entertaining, buy your merch and sing to your lyrics. The least you should do is treat them with some more respect.
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