Let’s start from the end. Have you ever thought “my God what did I just see” right after the end of a concert? Returning home without any other thoughts whatsoever? Or wondering if this was a one off performance and you were one of the few that witnessed it, cherishing the memories for years to come? That’s exactly what happened to me on the 8th of March in O2 Forum, London.
Back to the beginning of the show now. Tobias Sammet on stage, the man who made it all possible. Apart from his voice or writing skills, he is also very capable when it comes to commercial affairs and entertainment. I wouldn’t doubt his love for the music but he also knows how to sell it properly. The whole Avantasia project came to life in the late 90s and continues up to now with great success. For “Ghostlights”, Sammet put together a huge tour with various guest singers. Let’s start by mentioning the backing vocalists who supported the whole show. Herbie Langhans (Sinbreed, Beyond the Bridge) and Amanda Somerville (Αina,Kiske/Somerville). The show kicked off with “Mystery of a Blood Red Rose” which unfortunately failed to quailfy as Germany’s Eurovision 2016 selection. As the show progressed, we witnessed a parade of stars like Bob Catley, Eric Martin, Michael Kiske, Jørn Lande, Oliver Hartmann and Ronnie Atkins. Either singing by themselves or in duets and in some cases trios! A three hour long set delivered by power metal sensations like Sascha Paeth and Miro that didn’t tire me at all although I didn’t listen to all my favorites from the first two albums. This night was the pinnacle of rock and metal opera. From the stage props, the lights, the stage with the steps and the arches to the performances and the speeches, everything was planned and executed flawlessly.
Now, to the non musical trivia of the evening. The great Eric Martin was in top notch vocal wise but not so successful when it came to some planned or spontaneous interactions with the audience. Maybe a bit more alcohol than intended. Bob Catley was applauded the most since he appeared in his native country and Amanda Somerville did a poor wardrobe choice, not matching her undisputed vocal talents. I wasn’t expecting Herbie Langhans, the voice behind the gothic tune “Draconian Love”, hitting so high notes and managing to level with the rest of the stars. Ronnie Atkins was slightly out of shape though and I tend to prefer his hard rock side over his power metal one.
The concert climaxed with “Sign of the Cross / The Seven Angels” when all musicians appeared on stage sharing the vocal parts without the lightest mistake or mishap. I wonder how many hours of practice did it actually take. This tour will go down in history as one of the greatest metal acts and Avantasia deserve a fruitful future with even more guests if possible! Congratulations to the gifted and talented Tobias Sammet. It is because of him that I had the chance to witness some of the greatest musicians of the rock and metal universe sharing the same stage.
All photos taken from Avantasia’s Facebook Page
Mystery of a Blood Red Rose
Ghostlights (Michael Kiske)
Invoke the Machine(Ronnie Atkins)
Unchain the Light (Ronnie Atkins and Michael Kiske)
A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies (Bob Catley)
The Great Mystery (Bob Catley)
The Scarecrow (Jørn Lande)
Lucifer (Jørn Lande)
The Watchmakers’ Dream (Oliver Hartmann)
What’s Left of Me (Eric Martin)
The Wicked Symphony (Oliver Hartmann, Jørn, Lande, Amanda Somerville, Herbie Langhans, Michael Kiske without Sammet)
Draconian Love (Herbie Langhans)
Farewell (Amanda Somerville and Michael Kiske)
Stargazers (Michael Kiske, Jørn Lande, Ronnie Atkins, Oliver Hartmann; without Tobias Sammet)
Shelter from the Rain (Michael Kiske and Bob Catley)
The Story Ain’t Over (Bob Catley)
Let the Storm Descend Upon You (Jørn Lande and Ronnie Atkins)
Promised Land (Jørn Lande)
Reach Out for the Light (Michael Kiske)
Avantasia (Michael Kiske)
Twisted Mind (Eric Martin and Ronnie Atkins; without Tobias Sammet)
Dying for an Angel (Eric Martin)
Lost in Space(Amanda Somerville)
Sign of the Cross / The Seven Angels