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LIVE: AVANTASIA – April 11, 2016 (Anaheim, CA)

| 14 April 2016 | Reply

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Venue: House Of Blues

City: Anaheim, CA

Date: April 11, 2016

Review and Photographs by: Robert Kitay

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Finally, after years of waiting, Avantasia finally played their debut show in the USA.  This is probably one of the smallest venues they are playing on this tour, and it was packed with fans that traveled from far and wide for this show.  I met many people from places as far away as Michigan, Minnesota, Washington and Colorado.  After a week that saw them playing in Russia and Japan, you might expect a sluggish band from jetlag, but there was no sign of that here. Everybody appeared fresh and at the top of their game. Quite simply, this was one of the most amazing performances I’ve ever witnessed in my decades of concert going.

Right at 8:00 pm, Avantasia took the stage and main man Tobias Sammaet launched into “Mystery of a Blood Red Rose”.  For the next 3 hours and 25 minutes, all of us in attendance were captivated by a powerful performance.  There were no lasers, pyro or other gimmicks.  They blew us away the old fashion way, by playing and singing.  When people talk about Avantasia, immediately attention is turned to all of the vocalists.  That is only natural since they are a virtual who’s who of power metal royalty.  Besides Tobias Sammet (Avantasia and Edguy), they brought Michael Kiske (Helloween, Unisonic), Ronnie Adkins (Pretty Maids), Jorn Lande (Jorn, Masterplan), Eric Martin (Mr. Big), Herbie Langhans (Sinbreed), and Amanda Somerville.  All of these vocalists have very distinct voices, and all provided the perfect complement to whatever song they were singing.  Most of the time, multiple singers were on stage trading leads, and the results were magical.  From Michael Kiske singing the highs, to the richness of Jorn Lande’s voice, to the Herbie Langhans’ deep voice on “Draconian Love,” great care was taken to perfectly match the songs to the proper combination of singers.  Every singer also exhibited powerful and unique stage presence, and it was clear they all loved what they were doing, not only singing with each other but also interacting with the crowd, who often were singing along themselves.

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Besides the singers, the band played top notch.  The rest of the band included Sascha Paeth and Oliver Hartmann (guitars), Andre Neygenfind (bass), Felix Bohnke (drums), Michael “Miro” Rodenberg (keyboards).  They were brilliant, and the mix was perfect.  Herbie Langhans and Amanda Somerville, besides singing lead on occasion, remained on the stage as backup singers during the entire show. Oliver Hartmann also contributed his great vocals to the show as well. Frankly, it should be illegal for this much talent to be on stage at the same time, as it’s just not fair to any other band.  Unfortunately, the US shows did not feature Bob Catley, who did play the European shows, but his parts were split between Eric Martin and Tobias Sammet, both of whom filled in admirably.

Picking out individual highlights is truly difficult, as the show fired on all cylinders from start to finish, but “Unchain the Light” with Tobias, Michael and Ronnie all singing together, “The Wicked Symphony” with Jorn, Herbie, Amanda, Eric, and Oliver all singing together, “Stargazers” with Jorn, Ronnie, Michael and Oliver all singing together, and “The Scarecrow” with Tobias and Jorn all stood out as songs that gave we goose bumps.  “Dying for an Angel” featured Eric Martin singing the part originally sung by Klaus Meine of the Scorpions was a beautiful high energy version that has most of the crowd singing along. The crowd also enjoyed singing along to “Avantasia,” “Lost in Space,” and well, to a good portion of the show.

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This was truly a show I will never forget, and I wish I could hop on a plane to see one of the other dates. Obviously this show gets my top recommendation.  Music played the way it’s supposed to be played, by top musicians and singers who actually sing.

Setlist: Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose – Ghostlights (w/ Michael Kiske) – Invoke The Machine (w/ Ronnie Atkins) – Unchain The Light (w/ Ronnie Atkins and Michael Kiske) – The Watchmakers’ Dream (w/ Oliver Hartmann) – The Scarecrow (W/ Jørn Lande) – Lucifer (w/ Jørn Lande) – What’s Left Of Me (w/ Eric Martin) – The Wicked Symphony (w/ Jørn Lande, Herbie Langhans, Eric Martin, Amanda Somerville, Oliver Hartmann) – Draconian Love (w/ Herbie Langhans) – Farewell (w/ Amanda Somerville and Michael Kiske) – Stargazers (w/ Jørn Lande, Ronnie Atkins, Michael Kiske, Oliver Hartmann) – Shelter From The Rain (w/ Michael Kiske and Amanda Somerville) – Let the Storm Descend Upon You (w/ Jørn Lande & Ronnie Atkins) – Promised Land (w/ Jørn Lande) – Reach Out for the Light (w/ Michael Kiske) – Avantasia (w/ Michael Kiske) – Twisted Mind (w/ Ronnie Atkins and Eric Martin) – The Great Mystery (w/ Eric Martin) – Dying for an Angel (w/ Eric Martin) – The Story Ain’t Over – Lost in Space (w/ Amanda Somerville) – Sign of the Cross / The Seven Angels (everyone on stage)

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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