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Otep 08-07-2012; Destroy to Create Tour

Destroy to Create Tour
Lincoln, Nebraska
August 7th, 2012

Tonight was a special night in Nebraska. Knickersbockers’ was turned into a playground for the misfits, heathens and heretics of Lincoln and the surrounding area. It was a night that we would remember for the rest of our lives. The midwest was in the clutches of a drought but Otep proved to be our Harbinger of Storms and the rains were soon to follow tonight’s ritual. On this cloudy evening, fans were ready to riot with Otep during what was being billed as her “final tour.”
After enduring several local bands serving up their own unique brand of metal, we were ready for Otep to take the stage. Kickerbockers’ crowd were ready to prove their worth as Shadow Soldiers. Tonight we would Destroy to Create.
Shamaya’s current band consists of member’s of Iowa rock band Destrophy and, after speaking with a touring crew member, we were informed that these Iowans were the most talented musicians that Otep has ever toured with. But would these boys live up to the expectations that I have for a live Otep show? Keep in mind that this show marked the fourteenth time I’d seen the band live and was also the tenth anniversary of the first time I’d seen the band perform live. Otep has come a long ways since her time on the second stage as Ozzfest, so I already knew it’d be an amazing show.
Drummer Chase Brickenden was the first to take his place on stage. Bassist Erik Tisinger and lead guitarist Ari Mihalopoulos soon followed and quickly tuned their instruments. Having seen Destrophy live before, I was pleased to see how fast the guys prepped for tonight’s set.
Ari finally gave a thumbs up and the house lights were dimmed. The crowd, which had been pre-occupied with their social gathering focused all attention to the stage. We were ready to riot. Stage lights popped on, flooding the stage with shades of blues and reds. It was like looking at a 3D photo without the special glasses. Our first hint at the level of intensity that would come was the band’s choice of intro music. A blended mix of Juliet’s Requiem and O Verona burst from the speakers as Otep took the stage.
I had heard that this tour would be focused more on Otep’s “greatest hits” but I was not expecting Fillthee to open the show. This was a track that usually had found it’s place during the middle of the set, at the peak of the show’s intensity. This was our only warning as to how brutal tonight’s show was going to be and the crowd erupted into cheers and screams.
From the moment the band started playing, the first thing I noticed was how much fun the band was having. That’s not to say that they never had fun on stage, it was just kept behind a curtain of seriousness. I’ve never seen Shamaya smile so much while on stage.
Fists pumped and fan moshed diligently during Battle Ready and Crooked Spoons and didn’t let up throughout the entire set. Every word Otep sang was tirelessly returned by the crowd. Evad, the hog’s head named after former Drowning Pool lead singer who passed away suddenly during the 2002 Ozzfest tour, was brought on stage during Blood Pig. Otep flirted with Evad as much as she toyed with the crowd.
The set started out heavy and the fans were treated to a blistering set for nearly an hour. Confrontation, off Otep’s release the_ascention, was a crowd favorite. It was funny to see the fans trying to decide whether they should be singing along with the ritual or moshing. Otep instructed the crowd to open an “old school walking circle pit.” Being that most of the crowd was younger and had probably never witnessed a walking circle pit, it was up to the pit bosses to mentor the young. Shamaya herself bounced and whipped around the stage, expelling any mental demons that emerged during her songs.
Short poems were spoken inbetween tracks and heightened the meanings of various songs played. “This world is a fucking halocaust,” Otep purred at one point. “And it’s eating me.” She held the last note as the band began the intro for My Confession. Along with the intensity of the pit, a single crowd surfer emerged, something I’ve never seen at a Knickerbockers’ show.
Crowd interaction was the key to tonight’s show. Thrusting her mic into the audience, Shamaya allowed us to help sing during the choruses for TRIC and Ghost Flowers.
The crowd grew silent for one last time as Otep whispered, “No more tears. Stand up to your fears.” Otep has never sounded better. The current line-up really did provide the best live Otep show that’d I’ve ever seen.
The band’s cover of Nirvana’s BREED closed the evening’s ritual. This tour’s set was the best that I’ve witnessed. Maybe because the band hit all of my favorite tracks from Otep’s five albums? Maybe because they were the heaviest songs? Maybe because these tracks were those which had the most meaning to Otep and she found the strength to once again take the stage and put on an amazing show?
Sadly two tracks on the stage setlist, Rise Rebel Resist and Warhead, weren’t played. The spiritual fires may have been layed to rest for the evening, but the emotional high of witnessing Otep again would never be forgotten.
Was this the last time we’d ever see Otep live? Probably not. Rumors spread that night that Otep would be starting a new project with Ari, Chase and Erik.

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