Saturday, 13 February 2016

Luca Turilli's Rhapsody Live at the Underworld

I saw Luca Turilli's Rhapsody a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed their performance so I decided to see them again although with some trepidation I must admit. Not that I thought they would be bad but the reasoning behind it being that I was very disappointed in Luca's album from last year. I just couldn't get into the songs on Prometheus. They were far too ambitious for their own good and the essence of melodic metal was lost in histrionic OTT symphonic soundtrack music.

This show was originally billed at the Islington Academy where they played last time but it was downgraded to the Underworld due to less than stellar ticket sales I would guess. The Underworld may be smaller but the atmosphere is always cooler in my opinion and the 300 or so crowd would've been sparse in the Academy so the downgrade in the venue was a good move though I guess the band might not think that way having sold less tickets.

Two support bands were listed and were somewhat intriguing as well being Frenchmen Qantice and Italian, female fronted modern power metallers, Temperance. Qantice had PelleK sing on their lastest album, a guy whose vocals I'm not so fond of, hence me dismissing their latest album. I was sort of expecting PelleK to stide out as the other members took their positions but I wasn't sure but then some other dude stepped out. Thankfully the new singer was pretty damn good with a nice high pitched voice but not whiny like Mr PelleK. I don't know the Qantice songs well enough to say this is this and that is that but I really enjoyed their set. I loved the cool vibes of the power/prog mix within the tunes and the singer carried them off so well. Special mention for the lady bass player. The bass sound was one of the best I have ever heard from a live band at the Underworld. I enjoyed Qantice live and though the far majority of the crowd probably didn't know them, I think they went down pretty well.

Temperance were up next with their dancy modern take on power metal. I think I listened to their album Limitless and decided it just didn't quite float my boat. The live performance didn't sway me either. They were competent and have a very sweet and gorgeous front gal to boot but her voice is just OK and a bit shrill and girly to be honest. The songs are pretty fast and reasonably catchy but I could never really get a grasp on them or that spark which triggers enjoyment. They were OK but I preferred Qantice by far of the two supports.

Finally at 9pm it was time for Luca and his band to take to the smaller stage of the Underworld and unleash their symphonic mayhem. It must be said this audience though not high in number created quite an atmosphere of adulation for Luca and Co. Last time French guitarist Dominique Lerquin was missing because of his arm injury but he was restored this time to strengthen the band's French contingent to two again. The band sounded very good indeed as they tore into the opener Knightrider of Doom from the classic era. The energy levels were much better than you hear on plastic and the metal aspect was also much more multiplied unlike when you hear the same songs on record.

Not too much expense had been spared on this tour with two notable operatic backing singers brought in to re-create the operatic parts of the songs. There are certain parts which are piped in however with the band's own keyboard player and the two opera singers, the live feel is far enhanced and you feel as though you really are witnessing some kind of grand operatic metal extravaganza worthy of a far bigger stage than the tiny Underworld.

Alessandro Conti sounds really good live on lead vocals and is the perfect replacement for Fabio and I think I like him even a bit more. Rosenkreuz from the new album sounds much better live than on record as well, however it's classics that I'm looking forward to hearing the most and soon enough the almighty speedy power is unleashed with Unholy Warcry with it's monstrous chorus sung by literally everybody there! Mid set saw newer songs played and it all got very epic and symphonic and less memorable. However soon enough a wonderful duet between Ale and the female opera singer was sung. The vocal quality on that song was amazing though I forget which song it was but it's sung in full Italian and I think it might be from the new album.

Soon after we dove headlong into an unexpected Luca solo classic in Demonheart which is one of my fave solo tracks of his and every one loved that one no doubt and fists were pumping and voices raised during the chorus. Dark Fate of Atlantis from the previous album was another main highlight before the band tackled extreme epic, Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer's Fall with all sections played perfectly from operatic to heavy parts. The main set ended with Dawn of Victory one of Rhapsody's heaviest tunes and got a lot of fist pumps from the crowd and a big sing along.

The encore followed as the band returned to rapturous cheers and played Ascending to Infinity from the previous CD before diving into perhaps the band's most popular track Emerald Sword when the crowd can really let go with abandon especially on that almighty chorus! The band left to big applause and though the gig was reduced in size I don't think the band let it get to them at all in the end. They have very good energy especially Luca who's all over the place like a whirling shredding dervish. They may sound a bit too much on record these days but damn these guys can still pull it all off live. I really need to see Rhapsody of Fire live to see how they compare in the live setting but those guys haven't toured this way yet whilst Luca has come over twice now. I hope to see Alex and Fabio soon one day though!

Nova genesis (Ad splendorem angeli triumphantis)
Knightrider of Doom
(Rhapsody cover)
Rosenkreuz (The Rose and the Cross)
Land of Immortals
(Rhapsody cover)
War of the Universe
(Luca Turilli song)
Ira Divina
Unholy Warcry
(Rhapsody cover)
Son of Pain
(Rhapsody of Fire cover)
Drum Solo
Il cigno nero
Guitar Solo
The Pride of the Tyrant
(Rhapsody cover)
Tormento E Passione
(Luca Turilli song)
Bass Solo
Dark Fate of Atlantis
Of Michael the Archangel and Lucifer's Fall
Dawn of Victory
(Rhapsody cover)

Quantum X
Ascending to Infinity
Emerald Sword
(Rhapsody cover)

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