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  AVANTASIA
O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
Wednesday 8th March 2016

Ian Sutherland
Photos by Sean Cameron

ian sutherland



tobias samnet's avantasia

Heavy Metal is almost by definition about taking things to an extreme. This however can mean much more than just turning the amps up to 11. Power Metal as a sub genre is all about emphasising the drama and anthemic qualities of Metal and for two decades now Tobias Sammet's Avantasia project has been one of the leading lights of this movement.

For some reason Power Metal has never really taken off in the UK so despite headlining festivals and arenas in Europe tonight's gig at a sold out Forum is Avantasia's first ever indoor show in the country.

The crowd are suitably up for it as the band launch into 'Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose' from the recent 'Ghostlights' album. Avantasia as an idea are pleasingly free from any conventional notions about being cool so this song, written with Meat Loaf in mind and also an entry in the German heat for the Eurovision Song Contest is suitably huge and anthemic.

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Tobias Sammet leads the band from the front with his usual energy, good humour and excellent vocals but it doesn't take long before he gets some help in that department.

I think the tagline on the posters for Avantasia tours should be "Less is not more, more is more!" and where they excel in those terms is in the calibre, quality and sheer quantity of singers they attract to sing on the albums and especially to do lengthy tours like this one.

tobias samnet's avantasia

Tonight we got treated to terrific performances from eight (yes eight) singers, all established as lead vocalists in their own right. How Sammet is able to get such talent together to perform with such a sense of shared joy is a tribute to his song writing skills and probably his team management too.

In a set that lasted for more than three hours there were so many great moments to enjoy it's hard to know where to start.

The version of 'The Scarecrow' was magnificent, its jaunty Celtic Metal leanings being carried along by Jørn Lande who was in terrific form all night.

tobias samnet's avantasia

Magnum's Bob Catley was waving those hands around as always but with a song as good as 'The Story Ain't Over' nothing mattered except how much the crowd loved singing it with him.

The gorgeous Amanda Somerville may have been the only woman on stage but held her own vocally with all the guys and no one was having more fun up there than she was, throwing herself into every song. When she got to sing lead such as on the slightly twee ballad 'Farewell'(introduced by Tobias Sammet in the usual tongue in cheek manner as 'the theme song from Titanic, sort of, stolen, maybe') it was a delight.

tobias samnet's avantasia

The ensemble vocals of multiple singers on the likes of 'Stargazers' and closing medley 'Sign Of The Cross/The Seven Angels' sounded amazing and surely must take hours of rehearsal to perfect.

I haven't even mentioned the many contributions from ex Helloween man Michael Kiske, Mr Big's Eric Martin, Pretty Maids man Ronnie Atkins and new guy Herbie Langhans who all excelled too. Never mind the prodigious skills of the musicians who had to play all the music behind the vocal extravaganzas, superb to a man.

tobias samnet's avantasia

This was a triumph of a gig, a masterclass in putting on a Power Metal show to eke every last bit of sweat from a crowd, leave them hoarse from singing, with sore hands from clapping along and then send them out into the world with a big smile on their face. Job done tonight for sure! I would love Avantasia to do a full UK tour one day, the country just doesn't know what it's missing.

tobias samnet's avantasia

Avantasia line-up:
Sascha Paeth & Oliver Hartmann (guitars), Andre Neygenfind (bass), Felix Bohnke(Drums), Michael "Miro" Rodenberg (Keyboards), Amanda Somerville and Herbie Langhans (Backing Vocals & Vocals) and Tobias Sammet, Michael Kiske, Eric Martin, Jørn Lande, Ronnie Atkins and Bob Catley as vocalists.

tobias samnet's avantasia

Set List: Also sprach Zarathustra (Intro)
Mystery of a Blood Red Rose
Ghostlights (with Michael Kiske)
Invoke the Machine (with Ronnie Atkins)
Unchain the Light (with Ronnie Atkins and Michael Kiske)
A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies (with Bob Catley)
The Great Mystery (with Bob Catley)
The Scarecrow (with Jørn Lande)
Lucifer (with Jørn Lande)
The Watchmakers' Dream (with Oliver Hartmann)
What's Left of Me (with Eric Martin)
The Wicked Symphony (with Oliver Hartmann, Jørn Lande, Amanda Somerville, Herbie Langhans, Michael Kiske)
Draconian Love (with Herbie Langhans)
Farewell (with Amanda Somerville and Michael Kiske)
Stargazers (with Michael Kiske, Jørn Lande, Ronnie Atkins, Oliver Hartmann)
Shelter from the Rain (with Michael Kiske and Bob Catley)
The Story Ain't Over (with Bob Catley)
Let the Storm Descend Upon You (with Jørn Lande and Ronnie Atkins)
Promised Land (with Jørn Lande)
Prelude
Reach Out for the Light (with Michael Kiske)
Avantasia (with Michael Kiske)
Twisted Mind (with Eric Martin and Ronnie Atkins)
Dying for an Angel (with Eric Martin)
Encore:
Lost in Space (with Amanda Somerville)
Sign of the Cross / The Seven Angels (with everyone on stage)

tobias samnet's avantasia

tobias samnet's avantasia

tobias samnet's avantasia

beer beer beerbeerbeer


12.03.16















 


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