GRUGAHALLE, Essen (Duitsland)

AVANTASIA, 2010-12-19 (E)
zondag, december 19, 2010

The concert in Essen was the last one of a series of eleven in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. 'Around the world in twenty days', as mastermind Tobias Sammet put it.

Incredible that The Scarecrow, a kind of metal opera, can be taken to the stage live, but it happened and for those who want to see the show again or had to miss it: don't worry, because probably in March there will be a double CD/DVD release from this tour! This concise tour was the first time ever that Avantasia's metal opera was performed in indoor arenas. Tobias Sammet, usually also known to be front man for the German melodic metal outfit Edguy, was in the spotlight most of the time but shared the stage pretty soon with the best voice in hard rock at present, namely Jorn Lande, the man designated to be the successor to Ronnie James Dio. After a couple of great songs by Jorn and partly also by Tobias, the next celebrity came on to the stage: Bob Catley (Magnum), still going strong. With his characteristic but somewhat overdone movements with his right hand his voice ruled in spite of his respectable age, but naturally it's a bit softer and less powerful than ten plus years ago. His own band Magnum have a new album out by the way, so check that out too!

Catley went back stage again to catch a bit of breath and perhaps a drink or two. The next legend could be welcomed on stage: Michael Kiske. Today a solo artist, but of course in Germany the status of a metal 'god' as the former lead vocalist for Helloween. Instead of Alice Cooper, Tobias managed to get Kai Hansen, another great artist on stage. He also formerly performed with Helloween and for years he's now leader of Gamma Ray. Not quite as convincingly as the old master of  make-up, Alice Cooper, but still the crowd loved his presence, probably because they knew Kai would be back with his famous ESP guitar later on. The little solo spot for Sammet featured the only hit record Avantasia had so far: Lost In Space.

Then a few words about the band, an incredible band I might add: although Oliver Hartmann had also been invited as a vocalist, primarily he played guitar. Drummer Felix Bohnke was a good friend of Tobias and his band mate in Edguy. The other half of the rhythm section was Robert Hunecke. To complete the band Tobias could rely on the support of the entire crew of the famous Gate Studios in Wolfsburg, also responsible for producing many albums of both Edguy and Avantasia: Sascha Paeth on guitar,  Miro Rodenberg on the keyboards and Amanda Somerville on both background and lead vocals.

On went the show with Bob Catley in the gentle song In Quest For followed by the powerful Runaway Train by Catley, Kiske and Lande. Everyone seems to have a pretty good time both on and off stage and the show already lasted for almost two hours when Tobias announced the last song, title track of one of the last two albums The Wicked SymphonyOf course the stellar cast had to do encores and Tobias took the opportunity to introduce the band quite extensively, also the crew and he mentioned everyone single one who helped him make this tour possible. He praised the crew of six who did such a wonderful job where Iron Maiden would have needed twenty and AC/DC would have needed like fifty people! After a great rendition of Avantasia, the show came to an end with Sign Of The Cross.

A very nice venue and again a well-organized concert with an excellent sound quality, a great band and a cast of renowned singers from Germany, Norway and the UK. The backing and some lead vocals were also done by the beautiful American lady Amanda Somerville. Albeit not genuine prog, not even prog metal, still this had been a truly enjoyable evening and I'll be looking forward to see the DVD (or Blu-Ray).


Twisted Mind (Jorn Lande)

The Scarecrow (Jorn Lande)

Promised Land (Jorn Lande)

Serpents In Paradise (Jorn Lande)

The Story Ain’t Over (Bob Catley)


Reach Out For The Light (Michael Kiske)

The Tower (Michael Kiske)

Death Is Just A Feeling (Kai Hansen)

Lost In Space

In Quest For (Bob Catley)

Ryunaway Train (Jorn, Michael, Bob)

Dying For An Angel (Michael Kiske)

Stargazers (Jorn, Michael, Oliver Hartmann)

Farewell (Amanda Somerville)

The Wicked Symphony (Jorn, Oliver)


The Toy Master (Kai Hansen)

Shelter From The Rain (Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen- gitaar)

Avantasia (Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen- gitaar)

Sign Of The Cross/Seven Angels (Jorn, Michael, Olive, Amanda, Hansen gitaar)