It might be bordering on Baltic outside, but the combination of fizzing bonhomie and palpable anticipation inside practically ignites the packed-out Forum. Resembling a musical United Nations, the balcony is adorned with flags with fans from Italy to Australia in attendance. The reason behind it is simple – tonight marks Lacuna Coil’s 20th anniversary – and London has been cordially invited to witness The Greatest Show On Earth. The Milanese metallers consistently deliver live, but what follows over the next twoplus hours is a jaw-dropping, retina-popping extravaganza of career-defining proportions. Flowing curtains drop to reveal not only the band, but myriad stilt-walkers, macabre mimes and face-melting pyrotechnics transfixing the revellers and transforming the stage into a twisted circus fantasy. Plunging headfirst into a beguiling salvo of A Current Obsession and 1.19, Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro are on resplendent form visually and vocally; the juxtaposition of resounding grace and gravel-laced rasps complement each other, reaching the type of symbiosis only achieved after two decades together.
The biggest singalongs remain reserved for eternal classics My Wings, Swamped and Heaven’s A Lie – all of which render the band speechless in humble bewilderment – but it’s the raw intimacy of stripped-down, piano-led ballads Falling and Wide Awake (complete with Cristina suspended from the heavens like an anguished angel) that engross. Tonight isn’t just a celebration of the past 20 years, but proof that Lacuna Coil truly fear nothing.