Avantasia Sydney (Sydney, NSW)

12 May 2019 at The Metro

Wow Wow WOW!

When I heard The Scarecrow about ten years ago, I was completely hooked on Avantasia. Tobias Sammet (Edguy) has created something amazing, including several of the greatest singers in the history rock and metal and some seriously epic songs.

I always looked at the line-ups on European festivals and tour dates, wishing they would bring the show over to Australia, knowing full well that it probably would never happen. I figured it’s too big of a show, too far to come, too many people to bring. They aim for the huge markets of Europe, which is totally understandable.

However! The success of recent masterpiece Moonglow gave them the opportunity to take the Avantasia to places they had never been. When I saw the tour announcement for Australia, I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t care if it was just Tobias and his band, I couldn’t wait to see these songs live. When I was lucky enough to interview Tobias about the upcoming tour, he dropped the full cast on me at the end of the interview, I was floored and speechless. Eric Martin (Mr. Big), Bob Catley (Magnum), Geoff Tate (ex-Queensryche, Operation: Mindcrime), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids) as well as one of my favourite vocalists Jorn Lande (ex-Masterplan, JORN) would be there in full force. The fact that the show was to be held in the Metro was also astonishing to me, I couldn’t image this type of show in such an ‘intimate’ venue, but of course, it was amazing.

The anticipation building in the air was thick, and at bursting point by the time the lighting changed at the Metro. The show was finally about to start, as AC\DC played loudly over the P.A. the crowd sung along, but you could tell we all wanted Avantasia not AC\DC. The final chords rung out and the crowd roared as the curtain dropped revealing Tobias and his band of all-stars. Launching into opening track Ghost in the Moon, Tobias sounded phenomenal, his powerful voice distinct and clear with one hell of a talented band, consisting of, Sascha Paeth (Producer for Avantasia, Edguy, Angra, Shaaman, Rhapsody of Fire, Kamelot, After Forever and Epica) on co-lead guitar, Olli Hartmann (At Vance, Hartmann) completing the guitar team, Miro Rodenburg (Producer for Angra, Shaaman, Luca Turilli, Rhapsody of Fire, Kamelot and Heavens Gate) on keys, Andre Neygenfind playing bass and Felix Bohnke (Edguy) slammin’ the skins.

Special mention to the back-up singers Herbie Langhans (Sinbreed) and especially the insanely talented Adrienne Cowan (Seven Spires, Winds Of Plague) who were a show within the show, with their own personal interplay, choreography and poses being a source of constant entertainment. When Adrienne came out to the front for the first time to cover for Mille Petroza (Kreator) and unleashed a powerful guttural roar the audience responded in kind. Adrienne Cowan showed herself to truly be an amazing performer, covering all the lead and backing female vocals in songs like Moonglow and Lost in Space. She had a spotlight moment during (I think it was) The Story Ain’t Over holding an exceptionally high note for quite some time, just amazing scenes.

There was no question about who the star of the show was. Tobias Sammett hosted the three-hour show like a ringmaster in a power-metal circus, his voice never faltering, with constant and intimate thanks to the crowd, expressing how they didn’t know what would happen when they came to Australia. Acknowledging how they knew it would be a smaller show, but a louder crowd, demanding the audience to cheer every time Sydney or Australia were mentioned, and we were more than happy to oblige.

Each time a guest singer entered the stage, it was a special moment, during Book of Shallows when Ronnie Atkins joined there was a surge of energy as the crowd greeted him with ecstatic enthusiasm. I may be biased here, but when Jorn Lande took the stage later in the song, the crowd lost their collective minds, very much including me. His instantly recognisable voice ringing out over the Metro in full pomp and power was a moment I am very happy to be a witness too. Continuing into lead single and wonderful epic The Raven’s Child from Moonglow the energy continued to build, the crowd Woah-ooah-ing along to the guitar lines and singing the lyrics back to the stars in full voice.

The fact that we all maintained this energy for the following two and a half hours is a testimony to the showmanship of Avantasia as a unit. Jorn’s performance of Lucifer was simply stunning. Geoff Tate had a hero’s welcome when he graced the stage for Alchemy. When they performed the ballad Invincible next it was odd that such an emotional song felt joyous, just watching such incredible performers at their best, you really felt every note, pitch perfect and in harmony. The hits kept flowing, recent single Moonglow was fantastic with the previously mentioned Adrienne Cowan being phenomenal. Then came the cover of Maniac, Tobias brought out Mr Big vocalist Eric Martin to join in the fun, and man, it really was good fun.

This show had so many highlights, with a constant flow of amazing songs and performances. Scarecrow was extra special for me, it was the first song I heard from Avantasia, it introduced me to so many great vocalists and I was overjoyed to be able to watch it live. Avantasia bounced all around their back catalogue, playing songs from many of their albums next going way back to 2001 performing the namesake song for the band. The chorus from Avantasia (the song) echoed in my head the entire next day. The sound was fantastic the whole night, everyone and everything sounding strong and distinct the entire three-hour set.

Crowd favourite Let the Storm Descend Upon You from Gostlights was up next, just such a wicked song, an amazing chorus, and of course the performances were faultless, Jorn’s distinct gravelly voice combining with Ronnie Atkins and Tobias in a sublime way. Lost in Space is such a simple song when compared to how epic Avantasia can get, but it’s definitely one of their best, a fantastic singalong and a great way to wind down the end of the main set, leaving the crowd begging for more.

The finale of Farwell is probably one of the greatest ‘Farewell’ songs written, with Adrienne Cowan sharing the stage with Tobias, both still in full voice after performing for almost three hours of big songs, with the crowd right there with them. During the final song, Tobias took the time to introduce the band, each member deserving a standing ovation and receiving full throated approval from the crowd, even the bassist, who plays the bass. Sign of The Cross saw each vocalist line-up along the backing stage and deliver sections of the song as a final farewell to the crowd, with the closing chorus from The Seven Angels being a fantastic way to end an astounding show. What an absolute spectacle, the audience not wanting the music to stop, cheered and applauded as the final bows and goodbyes were had. Such an amazing night.

Line-up: Avantasia

Reviewer: Jonathan Hurley