Ayreon Universe set for live release in March

Arjen Lucassen
Arjen Lucassen

In September last year, Ayreon played three shows at Tilburg’s 013 venue under the Ayreon Universe banner.

The musical extravaganza featured 18 singers along with 11 musicians, including Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen, Nightwish’s Floor Jansen and Marco Hietala, Headspace’s Damian Wilson, Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kursch, Kamelot’s Tommy Karevik, Vuur’s Anneke van Giersbergen, Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse and Kayak’s Edward Reekers.

The performances were filmed and recorded – and it’s now been confirmed that it’ll be released on DVD, 3LP, 2CD, 2Blu-ray and limited coloured vinyl on March 30 via Music Theories titled Ayreon Universe: The Best Of Ayreon Live.

Lucassen says: “I get absolutely crippling stage fright. Up to the night before the Tilburg shows, I was having dreadful panic attacks. I honestly didn’t know if I was going to make it on stage.

“We worked on Ayreon Universe for two years. We basically started planning right after The Theater Equation was done. There were literally hundreds of things that had to fall into place to make the shows a success.”

Lucassen adds: “I just love recording my various projects in the studio. To me, it’s another way of performing. But I’m not a live performer. I’m the guy who comes up with the ideas, sees the big picture, and puts it all together. So I’m glad that so many incredible musicians helped me bring my music to the stage.”

Along with the live music, the DVD will also feature 90-minutes of exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, along with interviews with the full cast.

Find the cover art below, along with the final tracklist.

Ayreon Universe: The Best of Ayreon Live tracklist

  1. Prologue
  2. Dreamtime
  3. Abbey Of Synn
  4. River Of Time
  5. The Blackboard
  6. The Theory Of Everything
  7. Merlins Will
  8. Waking Dreams
  9. Dawn Of A Million Souls
  10. Valley Of The Queens
  11. Ride The Comet
  12. Star Of Sirrah
  13. Comatose
  14. Day Sixteen Loser
  15. And The Druids Turned To Stone
  16. The Two Gates
  17. Into The Black Hole
  18. Actual Fantasy
  19. Computer Eyes
  20. Magnetism
  21. Age Of Shadows
  22. Intergalactic Space Crusaders
  23. Collision
  24. Everybody Dies
  25. The Castle Hall
  26. Amazing Flight In Space
  27. Day Eleven Love
  28. The Eye Of Ra

Ayreon Universe at Poppodium 013, Tilberg - live review

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.