An absolute piece of art. This is the only way that we can characterize “Electric Castle Live And Other Tales”; a beautiful wooden box that includes all the physical formats of this release plus many more goodies. This is obviously a limited edition (1500 copies) that captures Ayreon’s live show in Tilburg (15 September 2019) and it includes more or less: the vinyl version (triple marble splatter vinyl, that is), the earbook version in double CD, the double DVD and BluRay and if all these weren’t enough add to the whole package a 44-page book. Of notice is the inclusion of a special picture disk that features rehearsals on one side and a narrative part from actor John DeLancie (of Star Trek fame). Are you keeping up with us because we haven’t finished yet with the contents…? A slipmat, a poster, a specially designed envelope with ten cards with the guys involved on this and of course the ever magnificent certificate of authenticity signed by Arjen Lucassen all wrapped up in a cigar like papyrus. A splendid package all in all, wouldn’t you say?

In regard’s with Ayreon’s live show per se, all I can say is that every single review that I had read in the past about it, is really spot on. A majestic show (credit should be given of course to Lucassen and Joost van den Broek) featuring stellar artists like Fish, Anneke van Giersbergen, Simone Simons, Dianne van Giersbergen, Mark Jansen, Marcela Bovio and last but certainly not least the veteran flutist of Focus, Thijs van Leer.

The story of “Into The Electric Castle – A Space Opera” (1998) is presented in its entirety in front of a really detailed castle prop with all the artists playing perfectly their role. During the encore, Lucassen is placing in the forefront the guest musicians thus we get to hear “Kayleich” by Fish, “Twisted Coil” by Damien Wilson, “Pink Beatles in a Purple Zeppelin” by Lucassen himself while the show ends with a wonderful rendition of “Songs of the Cocean” by Marcela Bovio cued of Star One release.

On the extras we get to see interviews, backstage excerpts, rehearsal segments, scenes from the crowd before and after the show etc. Naturally, the price of this box set is rather expensive but I guess that it goes without saying that it’s worth every single cent of it!