GIG REVIEW: LACUNA COIL Black Anima: Live From The Apocalypse
Lacuna Coil took a devastating blow with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The outfit, which was in the early stages of promotion for their new album, found themselves dead center in the outbreak in early March. Adapting to the situation, as many artists from the industry have been in the recent past, Lacuna Coil announced Black Anima: Live from the Apocalypse in July. The show was streamed on A-live, an interactive streaming service.
The show, performed live at The Alcatraz in Milan, Italy, was strictly empty, with only the band members, technicians, and other members from the production team. Lacuna Coil played their latest album, Black Anima, in its entirety including the three bonus tracks which were performed live for the first time. The show also saw them perform, ‘Bad Things’, a song that was released exclusively for Amazon last year. In earlier interviews, Andrea Ferro, the voice of Lacuna Coil along with Cristina Scabbia, had mentioned that the band opted to play at a live venue rather than a studio – which would have been easier and more convenient – as they wanted the event to feel as close to a conventional live show as possible.
Visually, everything looked very professional, with all the little symbols everywhere in the backdrop and the band members in their element, complete with their gothic attire and make-up. The decision to play the show at a proper venue complete with full production did bring a feeling of being at an actual concert. In a live-streaming event, the main problem for bands is the lack of a crowd. However, the streaming service made it possible for the audience to interact with the crowd to a certain degree – through messages, buttons to applaud, and such.
The show started promptly on time and to be honest, I was a little disappointed with the video quality. This could be blamed on my internet connection or my extremely high expectations. The show started with ‘Anima Nera’, the first track from Black Anima. The stage looked dark and mysterious as Cristina emerged onstage. Things pick up as they go into ‘Sword of Anger’ and Andrea Ferro appears with his fierce gutturals that are a stark contrast to Cristina’s vocals. Here, they broke the original order of Black Anima to go into ‘Save Me’ with Diego Cavallotti and his guitar solos taking center stage. The next song ‘Now or Never’ featuring Cristina’s powerful screams, performed live for the first time, was definitely one of the highlights of the show for me. Other premiers of the night included ‘Through the Flames’, ‘Black Feathers’, and ‘Under the Surface’. The part where Cristina and Andrea faced each other for a duet during ‘Veneficium’ was yet another culminating moment during the show. Lacuna Coil ended the show with the title track ‘Black Anima’ as the stage faded into darkness and the band members left the stage.
They reappear again, backstage this time, but without Cristina. They discuss the ongoing pandemic, how it affected them, and their plans for the future. They also hint about a surprise that is yet to come. Soon afterward, we are back to visuals of the stage with Cristina, dressed in a long, black gown this time, singing a beautiful acoustic version of ‘Save Me’ with Silvia Zanaboni on piano. As the night drew to a close, the whole production team, strictly sporting a mask, appeared on stage with their greetings. The show closed with a frozen image of them and a server error with an ‘X’ in the middle of the screen.
Overall, it was a great effort from the band. Lacuna Coil are veterans in what they do, however, the lack of a crowd did take a toll on the band. This was evident from the almost theatrical nature of their movements on stage. When you compare the Black Anima: Live from the Apocalypse to their live sets from before, you could even go as far as saying there was a slight lack of energy in the performance. The only band member who interacted and played with the cameras was Cristina. The absence of fans, sweating and singing along with the band, was evident. Moving on, the sound was crisp, with Cristina and Andrea’s vocals sounding on point. The effortlessness and finesse with which they slide from song to song prove how well they had prepared themselves for the event, even with all that has been going on. The interactive features provided by the A-live app took it a step further and made it possible for the show to transcend beyond screens.
Black Anima: Live from the Apocalypse Setlist
Sword of Anger
Now or Never
Through the Flames
Under the Surface
The End Is All I Can See
Black Dried Up Heart
Layers of Time
Save Me (Christina solo with Silvia Zanaboni on Piano)