Live Gig Report and Photos by Thomas Schwarzkopf (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
In 2008 the metal opera hit the road for the first time with a big all-star line-up. At this time no one thought this would ever happen again, but it worked and in 2010 Avantasia played their first own indoor shows with genre-veterans like Jorn Lande, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley, Kai Hansen and many, many more. Who thought this would be the peak of their live-activities was totally wrong. On their current “The Mystery World Tour” Avantasia exceed themselves. With a stunning line-up and a strong performance, which was close to 3 1/2 hours long, they set the bar very high for each Metal band out there. Before I tell you the details I can only say one thing: this whole show was a blast – one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. But let’s start at the beginning.
On April 26th, 2013 Avantasia played the last show from the first lag of their world tour in Lichtenfels (Germany). The interest at this concert seemed to be very high, because up to 3.500 people attended the show. Around 8.30 p.m. mastermind Tobias Sammet entered the stage and from the first second you could feel with how much energy and enthusiasm all the musicians were playing.
“Spectres” was a really good opener, but this one was easily topped by the next metal anthem: “Invoke The Machine” with the fantastic Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids) on lead vocals. I can’t describe how fucking great this guy is! It was the first time I saw him live and he blew me away. Ronnie has such a strong presence on stage and then this awesome rough voice. It was easy for him to let Tobias look like a little child.
Lots of people were disappointed when it turns out that Jorn Lande won’t be part of the Avantasia shows. I also like Jorn Lande very much, but who fucking cares if you’ve got Ronnie Atkins, who was singing most of the Jorn-parts (for example on “The Scarecrow)?! He is a coequal “replacement” for him, so stop nagging! “Black Orchid” was also a pounding metal anthem with a fantastic light show in the background and Ronnie on vocals.
The next two songs were “Reach Out For The Light” and “Breaking Away” … I think you already know, who sings here on lead vocals: Michael Kiske (Unisonic, ex-Helloween). He has become a permanent member of the Avantasia family and so he felt very comfortable on stage. It’s so stunning how he handles the high notes with his clear voice, so vocal performance was excellent, but to me Michael isn’t a good entertainer, he just can’t grab me. Beside a Ronnie Atkins he looks really inexpressive.
The next man of the night was Bob Catley (Magnum). I like his “fairytale” voice very much and so the songs “The Story Ain’t Over” and “The Great Mystery” were real highlights to me. Bob knows how to grab your attention and he is such a sympathetic guy. Sometimes I wish this would be my grandpa. “Scales Of Justice” was sung by Thomas Rettke (ex Heaven’s Gate) and this song fits to him perfectly. When it comes to voice and singing style, this guy reminds me a lot at Ralf Scheepers from Primal Fear. In the rest of the show Thomas was doing more backing vocals.
After this another legend entered the stage: Eric Martin (Mr. Big) sang his song “What’s Left Of Me” with so much emotion, so the hardest metalheads got into some kind of cuddly mood. Fortunately, I had a beautiful girl with me so this whole package felt just great. 🙂 Nevertheless, you had to get used to Eric’s voice, especially on the more harder rocking tunes. In “Promised Land” his voice was out of place. It would have made more sense to let Ronnie Atkins sing these parts. Eric is a cool and funny guy, he was joking a lot on stage, but to me he is more a ballad-singer.
Did you miss someone so far? Right, the only woman on stage: the beautiful Amanda Somerville (Trillium). It was her turn on the ballad “Sleepwalking”. I don’t think I need to say how amazing of a singer she is, with a very likable charisma. She just makes you smile and her duet with Tobi was fantastic. Later she would also shine on “Farewell” – another highlight of so many on this night.
Now we were half way through. The most interesting parts followed with the next 12 songs, because here we got a mix between all those different singers in each song. The first half of the concert was always Tobias in duet with another guest, but now Tobias played a smaller role, which felt really fresh. “Stargazers” was sung by Ronnie Atkins, Michael Kiske and Oliver Hartmann (who also deliver stunning guitar-solos beside Sasha Paeth). Isn’t this a cool constellation? It’s the same with “The Wicked Symphony”, which was performed by Bob Catley, Thomas Rettke and Oli Hartmann. All those singers fit perfectly together and it was just fun to look and to listen to them, because they kept the whole thing interesting. They also talked to the crowd and introduced each other so everything felt like one big unit (instead of Tobias Sammet and friends).
An absolutely killer-duo were Ronnie Atkins and Eric Martin on “Twisted Mind”. These two guys screamed their hearts out and I was really impressed by Eric. I’ve never heard him screaming like this. This song totally rocked! With “Dying For An Angel” the official part was over and now it was time for the encore.
But encore doesn’t mean the show comes to an end, because the following three tracks added another 40 minutes to the whole playtime! The biggest gift to all Avantasia fans was the song “The Seven Angels” in the COMPLETE version. Yes, the 15-minute version. A dream came true. This was pure epic, bombastic bliss. I would have liked some more singers on here, because just Tobias Sammet, Michael Kiske and Oliver Hartmann performed this song. But that is nagging on a high level.
After that Avantasia celebrated themselves with their own hymn “Avantasia” and the crowd exploded. The grand finale was heralded by “Sign Of The Cross”. Here we heard every lead singer again and I had goose bumps all over me. Tobi Sammet said goodbye with the promise that Avantasia will be back on stage in some years, which made the parting a bit easier.
You see, the whole concert was definitely worth the money. The band had so much fun on stage, the sound was top-notch and the light show great. The only bad thing at this night was the air condition in the arena. It was so hot in there, after 10 minutes you felt like you’ve been under a shower, because you sweat so much. Folks, I can only recommend you to attend one of the forthcoming shows on the next tour lag! I promise you, you’ll be blown away! Thanks Tobias Sammet for this unforgettable night and of course thanks to all the Avantasians!
02. Invoke The Machine (feat. Ronnie Atkins)
03. Black Orchid (feat. Ronnie Atkins)
04. Reach Out for The Light (feat. Michael Kiske)
05. Breaking Away (feat. Michael Kiske)
06. The Story Ain’t Over (feat. Bob Catley)
07. The Great Mystery (feat. Bob Catley)
08. Scales Of Justice (feat. Thomas Rettke)
09. What’s Left Of Me (feat. Eric Martin)
10. Promised Land (feat. Eric Martin)
11. Sleepwalking (feat. Amanda Somerville)
12. The Scarecrow (feat. Ronnie Atkins)
13. Stargazers (feat. Michael Kiske, Ronnie Atkins, Oliver Hartmann)
14. Farewell (feat. Amanda Somerville, Michael Kiske)
15. Shelter From The Rain (feat. Michael Kiske, Bob Catley)
16. In Quest For (feat. Bob Catley)
17. The Wicked Symphony (feat. Bob Catley, Thomas Rettke, Oliver Hartmann)
18. Lost In Space
19. Savior In Te Clockwork (feat. Eric Martin, Ronnie Atkins)
20. Twisted Mind (feat. Ronnie Atkins, Eric Martin)
21. Dying For An Angel (feat. Eric Martin)
22. The Seven Angels (feat. Michael Kiske, Oliver Hartmann)
23. Avantasia (feat. Michael Kiske)
24. Sign Of The Cross (all)