Mit ihrer markanten Mischung aus Symphonic Metal und Death Metal haben EPICA bereits mit ihren Frühwerken für Aufsehen sorgen können und dürfen spätestens seit ihrem dritten Album "The Divine Conspiracy" von sich behaupten ihren ureigenen Stil entwickelt zu haben. Der durchweg hochwertige Backkatalog und die Tatsache, dass sich Qualität manchmal eben doch durchsetzt, hat die Niederländer zu den absoluten Referenzkünstlern ihrer Sparte gemacht. Gegenwärtig ist der sympathische Haufen zum wiederholten male auf Headlinertour durch die USA und Kanada, aus aktuellem Anlass um den neuen Leckerbissen "Design your Universe" zu promoten. Wir freuen uns unheimlich euch exklusiv das Tourtagebuch der Band um Frontsopranistin Simone Simons auf sounds2move.de präsentieren zu dürfen und sind genauso gespannt wie ihr welche Erlebnisberichte uns aus Nordamerika ins Haus flattern.
EPICA USA 2010 TOURREPORT - 1st part from Ariën
After having gone to Portugal and coming back the night before we were going to take our flight to the States, I grabbed some stuff for the tour, cleaned the house a little bit, had a bit of sleep, took my bags and left for the trainstation to Schiphol Airport. I thought that in my living place (Breda), the city buses were supposed to ride already at 8am, but since it was Sunday I wasn’t sure. And so it turned out that I had to walk for half an hour to the trainstation with a couple of bags in the cold, haha. I took the train to the airport, and I got some phonecalls from the bandmembers where the hell I was. They were there already, and I figured that I didn’t have to be that early on the airport, which was not really necessary, but those phonecalls made me stress quite a bit, hahaha. Anyway; nothing like a good start!
In the plane I watched some movies, had some food and drinks, so it was pretty easy going, despite some turbulence here and there. At our arrival, our tourmanager Vicky was already waiting for us, and we introduced ourselves and had some chats while we were waiting for the tourbus to pick us up. Now… this took a little longer then expected; 6 hours!!! It appeared that the heater of the bus was broken, or something with the engine, I don’t know… Anyway; along the way from the garage to the airport, the driver got lost too. We were getting pretty tired and annoyed, and giving some lovely nicknames to the driver, hahaha. After a long while and waiting, the bus was finally there, and we dropped our stuff in the bay of the bus, and chose a bunk for ourselves. We were supposed to pick up some merchandise at the place of a friend of ours and her parents, were we were also getting some food. I decided to go and lie down a little bit till we got there, but instead, I woke up the next morning, haha. I guess I needed the sleep! The advantage however is, that I was instantly in the US-timezone, with no jetlag! But that will happen when I get back to Europe probably…
The next day (January 25th) we picked up the backline at different stations, and stopped in Philadelphia at a hotel for showers and for the driver to sleep. Most of the band were going to the hotel’s gym, but Willem (guitar tech) and I decided to do something else with sports; go to a sports bar and have a few beers, which was really good!! I discovered some excellent beer; ‘Sierra Nevada’. I guess I’ll have some more of that stuff on this tour, haha.
We had a burger, and later on, our soundman Raymond joined us, and we went to see the Liberty Bell, and the ‘Rocky Stairs’, which we thought to be at the city hall. But; no stairs like in the movie, haha. We went back to the bus, which was a damn long walk, and we even walked the wrong way, and had to return to the right point, haha. Back in the bus, I went straight to sleep, to be in sort of shape for the next day; the first showday in Springfield.
Jan 26th - Springfield VA
We pulled over at ‘Jaxx’, the club for the first show of the tour. It was COLD outside, jesus!!! Jaxx is a small place, and even without a backstage, and is owned by a grumpy old dude, hahaha. The promoter however, Marie, was nice and took care of us. We already know her from previous tours, where she took care of our merchandise. I had to get used to the hall divisions again in the US; there are parts of the hall where you can’t drink beer, and some parts you can. Nothing like in Europe, haha. We had to pick up a wristband to show that we were above 21 years old. Weird man…..
Anyway; we did the soundcheck, and before we knew it, it was showtime! It was our first show with our stand-in keyboard player Oliver, so everybody was pretty excited about it. He did a good job, and the place was pretty packed! After the show and load-in, we had a few beers and talked with the guys from Blackguard, who are one of our support bands for this tour. Then it was time to go to our next gig; Philadelphia. But before I went to sleep, I had some beers of course….
January 27th – Philadelphia
Our 2nd show; Philly. A pretty cool venue, where we played before as support for Symphony X. It was a pretty easy day, but again; COLD!!!! It was a pretty easy going day, and I found some beers pretty early, haha. Willem and Raymond went to see the Rocky Stairs after dinner, and it appeared that they were very close from the point where we ended up being lost two days ago, hahaha. We did the show, and it was cool with a nice crowd! After packing the stuff, I had some drinks, and I went to sleep pretty early, to be awake early enough for our next day; a day off in NYC!!
January 28th – New York City, NY
After a little busride to NYC, we walked out of the busstation right on 8th Avenue. Goddamn, what a sight, all those skylines!! They don’t have that in Breda, haha.
I was with Raymond, and we decided to have a good and big breakfast at Hard Rock Café at Times Square. Amazing spare-ribs, whow!! It was breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time!! We met a friend of Ray; Ted, who was also a drummer and played in the band ‘Toxic’. He was a nice guy, and he took us to the ‘Bodies’-expedition at the Pier. That was freaky stuff inside; skeletons, blood vessels and artery-skeletons, lungs that were black from nicotine, hahaha. People who smoke and see those black lungs, are bound to quit right away, haha. It’s great to see that and to get to know yourself a little bit better.
After that, we went for a drink at a nearby bar, and Ray went to see an old buddy, and I went to see the rest of the group at ‘Virgil’s BBQ’. I was at Times Square, and wanted to take a cab, but the driver didn’t understand the address that I gave him. He told me that it didn’t exist. I was like; ‘oh no….’,haha. I asked a cop instead, and he told me that it was nearby.
I found the rest and had some beers with them, and went back to the bus with them. It was so damn cold when we walked back, haha. We had some drinks in the bus, and we were all pretty tired from walking that day, so it was time to go to sleep. Awesome day to be in NYC and to see Time Square by night again…
January 29th – NYC, NY
After a nice burrito-breakfast, I went to Time Square again, but this time with my camera with charged battery, haha. I took some pictures, and gazed at those big billboards over there.
I head back to the club, and went to work. I put up the drums, checked the sound, and had some drinks and got ready for the meet&greet later that night. Yves and I went to have a good steak at a French restaurant and when I went to go to an ATM for money, I slipped over a little pool of frozen water on the sidewalk, haha, dammit. Later, back in the club, I saw an old friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen for 2 years and she worked the security for that night. I met some cool people, and the show was really cool to do!!! Sold out show in NYC, how cool does that sound?? Haha!! I had a few drinks and we also met with our US booking agent John, who was totally wasted, even before the show started, hahaha. When we had to leave the club, everybody was pretty wasted too, so we went on to have a few drinks in the bus. I went to bed at 6am I guess, so it was a pretty nice time in NYC these two days!!
January 30th Worcester, MA
Our 4th show of this tour was in the Palladium in a rather dangerous and grey-looking city called Worcester. After some toasted bread for breakfast, I wanted to get something out of my bag from the bay of the bus, but there I got a little unpleasant surprise; there was frozen piss over some chords of my bag!! It seemed that the bus leaked a bit, and some drops of piss ended up on a part of my bag. I cleaned it with some body lotion, but damn, that was gross. When I wanted to open my bag, I shook and rubbed off the ice, but I didn’t know it was frozen piss, hahaha. I still have to check out if my clothes aren’t too much wrenched with pee, but anyway, like I said; nothing like a good start!
I went into the club, put of my drums, and I went for a cup of hot chocolate and a donut (in good American tradition), because we had to wait till the PA-system was okay. We did the soundcheck, and after the meet & greet, we went for dinner. I got a little later, because at first I ordered food, but at the time the doors opened, it still wasn’t ordered, so I decided to go to the restaurant across the street. I got there, and Simone, Oliver and Raymond also got inside not too long ago. We ordered food, but then another unpleasant surprise occurred; the food ran out of stock!!! We got a free round of drinks, but can you believe that? A restaurant where the food runs out. Hahaha…. Only in America…..
Oliver, Ray and I went to look for another place to eat, and we found a pizza parlor. We were just in time to order our food, because the place was closing up. One of the employees explained to us that they had to close early because it was a very dangerous neighbourhood, and there were many people with guns looking for money/dope..etc.. We went back to the club, ate our food, did the cool show (sold out again!!), and had some drinks. It’s too bad that people are being removed from the premisis right after the show, because it would be nice to have some chats afterwards. But.. that’s life in the States I guess.
Anyway; so far so good, and it’s pretty awesome how many people show up at the gigs so far, and they really seem to like it. So I say; let’s move on forward. Cheers!!!
EPICA USA 2010 TOURREPORT - 2nd part from Mark
31 -1 Club Soda - Montreal (Canada)
During the night we crossed the border and fortunately we didn't have to get out of our bus during the bordercrossing so we could keep on sleeping. This show is definitely one of the highlights of this tour. The club is sold out (900 seater) and both of our supprt bands touring with us are Canadian so they play at home. The atmosphere is great and Blackguard had a great show tonight, they overwhelmed the crowd with their great melodies. Threat Signal did a good job as well and after that it was our turn. The crowd went wild and we played for like 1 hour and 45 minutes.
As I didn't eat that much before the show (the chicken was very dry and the fries old) and I have the flu on top I noticed during Seif al Din that I almost feinted. Luckily it didn't happen, I took it easy for 20 seconds and after that it was ok again. Don't wanna wake up in a hospital and get the advise to take a week off (wouldn't do that anyway ;-) . After the show we got some pizza and I eat a lot from it to regain energies. Some of our guys went to a club to party, I stayed at the bus.
1-2 Mod Club - Toronto (Canada)
Our second show in Canada. A smaller but cozy venue also packed till the roof. Again we had a great time on stage and the Canadian crowd is the way we like it, hot and steamy! The bus was parked like 30 seconds walk from the venue but as it's so cold these days it feels like a huge trip. In the backstage we had a fridge which was a "bit" smelly. You can describe this smell as a mixture of dead hamster, piss and a unwashed armpit for about one week. So I didn't want to eat anything from that fridge.
Before the show we went out loking for a steakhouse. But everywhere we could see there were only Italian restaurants! Every time we thought there was a different kind of restaurant, it showed a sign: pizza and pasta etc... Finally we found a steakhouse (which apparently was the only one around) and got in. We met some fans in there who we saw earlier at the VIP meeting so that was a funny coincidence. We sat down with them and had dinner with them. Back at the club there were some fans (who were waiting in the line to get in) running towards us. When they grapped us they asked us why they were the only ones running towards us "Don't they recognise you???". I responded "No the reason is because we're in Canada and not in Mexico" the answer of the guy was " yeah we are actually mexican" ;-) . During the VIP meeting there was a very funny moment when a guy showed up and got everyone's signature. At the end of the line he looked at Arien and asked "And what are you doing here little fella?" So Arien told him that he is, since 3 years, the drummer of the band. The guy was a bit ashemed and he apologised but we laughed our asses of and tease Arien a bit. Since that day he's called "lill' fella"
4-2 Logan Square Auditorium -
See you all!
EPICA USA 2010 TOURREPORT - 3rd part from Yves
5-2 The Rave, Milwaukee
Sold tickets: 400
This was the first time we’d ever played in Milwaukee. The complete show would be streamed live on www.TheRaveLive.com. Of course it had to happen that on this show some things went wrong, some confusion about the setlist and some technical problems, but fortunately the audience didn’t notice any of our fuckups. After the concert I met this guy, a martial artist and friend of Threat Signal. This dude did a backflip over the whole Threat Signal band! I captured it on video, it’s really cool!
Supposedly the venue used to be secret Nazi headquarters (the shower even looked like a gas chamber) and this used to be the place where Jeffrey Dahmer picked up his victims. He took them to the hotel across the street where he raped, tortured, murdered and mutilated them. Dave, our busdriver thought it would be funny to book the same room in that same hotel, so he did. The venue and the hotel are supposed to be haunted. Considering the way our show went, I’m starting to believe in ghosts. Fuck off, Jeffrey!
6-2 Station 4, St. Paul
Sold tickets: 386
This was our third concert at this venue and for the promoter it was his most successful show ever! Last time we were here Visions of Atlantis was our support act and this time the ex-singer of that band (Melissa Ferlaak) was also playing there with her new band.
After the show the singer got almost arrested for performing gay sex in public! What happened was that he had to pee, but the venue was already closed. So he had no choice but to pee on the street. Then a dude from Blackguard started to dry-hump him from behind (this is a traditional Canadian greeting ritual). Anyway, right at that moment a cop car drove by and they saw a guy humping another guy. So they pulled over and apprehended the “suspect”. They were pretty rough and impolite, shouting “We really don’t appreciate this kind of things in our streets!” and “Back off!” to other band members who had approached to see what was going on. He was almost taken to the police station but after a lengthy explanation the cops let him go. Nobody dared to pee on the street after that…
7-2 Day off, Winnipeg
Toasties consumed: 50
We stopped at a hotel in Winnipeg. I did my workout in the fitness center of the hotel. In the evening we had dinner with the guys of Blackguard. Unfortunately there was a band playing in the restaurant, so we had to shout at each other. After dinner we went back to the hotel, had some drinks, brought a visit to the hotel roof, had some more drinks, made some toasties, had some more drinks etc…
Also worth mentioning: Ariën actually took a shower that day… And there was much rejoicing.
8-2 Royal Albert Arms, Winnipeg
Sold tickets: 148
The venue used to be a hotel. Supposedly it’s haunted as well, because in room 309 a guy got stabbed in the chest 70 times and chopped up into 8 pieces back in 2003. The ghosts were kind enough not to fuck with our show though.
9-2 Day off, Regina
Toasties consumed: 2 (we ran out of ham and were forced to eat the
Did some fitness workout in the hotel gym, took a shower and took the shuttle to the city center. There we had dinner at a local brewery called “Bushwakker”. Then we walked to the venue where Blackguard and Threat Signal were playing. I almost lost my ears from frostbite in the process. Damn, it was cold! Later I heard it was -30° C. Combined with the steady wind it must have been the coldest weather I’ve ever experienced in my life. I also caught a cold that day. Anyway, me and Isaac played light engineer for Blackguard and Threat Signal and I must say we are very talented! We made them look good! I mean we were almost as awesome as Willem! The reason why we didn’t play that day was supposedly that our booker and the venue couldn’t come to an agreement. Apparently they don’t agree that Willem is a demigod, so no show! Too bad, it looked like a nice place! After the show we shared a few drinks with the other bands and after that some more drinks and after that even more etc…
10-2 Starlite Room, Edmonton, Alberta
Sold tickets: 270
The show was nice.
P.S. Our sound engineer Raymond is recording and editing a lot of stuff on video. Be sure to check out his videos on www.youtube.com/120xp
P.P.S.: Those who wonder who His Willemness is, check out www.myspace.com/willemvanroekel, but beware, if you don’t want to lose your girlfriend, keep him away from her! Willem is rejectionproof!
P.P.S. Total distance travelled so far: 6127 km.
EPICA USA 2010 TOURREPORT - 4th part from Simone
Our drive from Calgary to Victoria was a bumpy one. We were driving through the snowy mountains of Canada. At around 1 pm we all suddenly woke up by a loud sound. Our bus which was hit by something. I immediately felt that something was wrong. At first I thought that a deer ran into our bus and that it was torn to pieces.
The guys ran outside as I remained inside to stay warm. It was freezing outside. Oliver took my camera to take some pictures and a video to show me. When I saw the pictures of the car which crashed in to us it was hard to believe that no one got hurt! The other car was missing a whole half of the car body. Like this a car looks so vulnerable and you don't feel safe in it anymore after seeing that. After standing around for 3 hours we could proceed to the Sugar venue in Victoria.
The name of the venue fits well to me since I am officially the Candy Queen of the travel party. When we arrived in Victoria, Oliver and me went our for some breakfast and later on went to the shower room we had in a beautiful hotel in the city center. When you are home, showers don't seem to be a luxury but on tour they most definitely are. Not all of the venues have showers, so that is why we often book a room at a hotel so we can all scrub the dirt off. I must say that I really like the city of Victoria. A nice little detail is that our tourmanager /merchandiser is called Victoria and even though she warned me not to do that, I still had to dedicate one song to her when we were on stage. Today was 'Vicky-day'.
Next stop: Valentine's day in Seattle
For this day I had a special thing planned. The owners of Castle Magic asked me to be their model for an ad in a Renaissance magazine. I truly felt honored that they wanted me to work for them. When we arrived in Seattle they were already waiting for me to go to a photo studio in the center of Seattle. They rented a beautiful green dress for me to wear. It was the first time for me to wear something like that. I am not the person who wears big dresses on stage. As beautiful as they are, I find them very uncomfortable for the stage. I was not the only one to pose for Castle Magic, there was also a knight in shining armor waiting for me with a huge sword! For those of you who are very curious, you can check out my youtube account: www.youtube.com/user/smoontjes . I posted a video about the photo shoot.
When I arrived back at the venue, the guys were waiting for me to do a soundcheck. During the VIP meeting I got lots of nice presents. One fan gave us all 'Stroopwafels', a Dutch speciality. She thought that we might miss that while being on tour. She thought right! Thanks girl! Anther cool present that I got is still lying in my bunk, it's a sweet little teddy bear.
Our booking agent was also present and took us out to dinner later that day. We went to a great steak restaurant and we all ate too much. It was kind of difficult to perform with a full stomach but the food was too good, so we had to eat it all. I even had to dress a bit different to give my belly the room to work on the steak I had just eaten an hour before. Besides our full stomachs the show went well and I believe that the fans were content with our performance.
Then there was: Portland
Vicky (our Tourmanager and Merchandiser) and me got up early that day to grab a cup of coffee and do some shopping. Oliver originally joined us but when he saw that we were entering a clothing shop, he decided to go back to the bus. I found a nice hat and Vicky a cool T-shirt with pistols on it. Some of us had to get stuff from the Apple store so that was our next stop. We took the bus to a big shopping mall and got our supplies. The shop was so crowded that it wasn't any fun to hang around. Across the venue was a nice Mexican restaurant, Oliver, Isaac and me were having dinner there. Good stuff!
The venue was nice and big. It did have a weird touch to it, though. The outer lines of the stage ceiling were painted neon yellow. I found it a bit weird. The guy behind the monitors was still a newbie, he had his first day at the office and I felt sorry for him that we are an 'In ear Band'. Luckily it all worked out and our inner sound was kind of ok and the show was lots of fun!
Are you going to: San Francisco
Be sure to wear flowers in your hair. I love San Francisco!
We arrived the day before the show in San Fran to relax a bit. I had already made plans for that day. I have a great uncle living there. He moved to San Fran about 55 years ago and this was the second time I actually got to meet him in San Francisco. He does look a lot like my grandfather. He is the youngest brother of my grandfather. First he took Oliver and me to his house, which has a gorgeous view over SF. After that we went out to eat some sushi and talked about our lives as musicians and of course, the family. This is one of the many nice things about being a touring musician. I get to see my uncle, which I would never have met if I wouldn't tour around the world.
Next morning we put the alarm really early (early for musicians, is probably really late for other people) and took a cab to Peer 33. We turned ourselves in to get a one way ticket to Alcatraz. That's another thing which I love about San Francisco; the weather! It was sunny and warm. We all were wearing shorts and sandals, so to speak. The boat ride to Alcatraz was beautiful. I made so many pictures.
When we arrived at Alcatraz, I got a weird feeling. We are visiting this island as free people, which was keeping criminals locked up. It does have somewhat a bittersweet feeling to it. It is a beautiful island, full of flowers and birds, but on the other hand it was the last destination for many men. We all received an audio device and headphones and had to gather at a red sign which was the starting point of the tour. We were informed about the original purpose of the island, the many (failed) prison breaks and even got to meet a formal inmate named: Darwin Coon. He was selling his book at the Alcatraz shop. I asked him how it feels for him to be sitting there as a free man, selling his book about his years at Alcatraz, not knowing back then that Alcatraz was going to be a tourist attraction. His answer was; great! I get to sell my book. Then I heard him thinking: Buy my book or go away. I didn't buy his book.
Oliver and me just missed the boat back to the main land so we had to wait a while for the next one to arrive. Suddenly I saw that Darwin Coon was also waiting for the boat. He was smoking his cigarette and I was looking at him, wondering what was is thinking about. He was the first one to enter the boat and the first to leave. It is the world upside down. He was an Alcatraz inmate for about 4 years because he decided to make his money, robbing banks. Now he is treated as a special passenger. It must be an awkward feeling for him to go back to Alcatraz. Luckily he gets two way tickets nowadays.Before the show Vicky and me had to check out the shopping mall in SF. It was indeed one of the biggest and most beautiful malls that I've ever seen. Unfortunately there wasn't much time to check out all the shops. I would have needed a week or so ;) The venue where we played was really beautiful. I really enjoyed the show. The fans were singing along to the songs. It always helps in case I have black out. I just look to their faces and they help me.
The morning that we arrived in LA, I put the alarm. I didn't want to miss out on our day in LA. Willem, Isaac, Oliver, Raymond and me went to Mell's Diner to have breakfast. All tour long I have been craving for omelets. That's maybe because the breakfast that we ate in the bus was mostly, toasts and cereals. That does get boring after a while and I do love my eggs in the morning. Sunny side up, please! When we got back to the bus, a friend of mine and Oliver came to visit us. You may know her as the former background singer from Kamelot. She is studying in LA. We walked down the Sunset Boulevard and entered a couple of shops. At 7 pm we had the meet and greet with our fans from LA. There was one male fan which asked Mark if he would take of his shirt again during the show. Mark asked why and they guy went silent.Today two people from our record company came to see us. The American NB is located in LA. We were talking about how happy we are that the whole US tour has been a great success and that we are positively surprised that there are so many people coming to see us. For the show in LA I bought a dress which was very beautiful but not so comfortable. I like to be free to move around but the dress was not so flexible. The fans in Chicago have seen me wearing the same dress but in black. I told myself not to wear this dress again on stage…
A big thanks to all the fans that came to see us this tour! It's been a blast!