Live review: Avantasia

Supergroup rock opera comes to town.

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(Image: © Leigh Van Der Byl)

Some say the art of rock showmanship is dead. Those people have never heard of Tobias Sammet. Tonight is the debut indoor UK show from his supergroup rock opera project. And while you’d perhaps expect negligible interest here in Britain, the Forum is rammed with noisily passionate fans.

“Welcome to three hours of manly, bombastic rock and metal,” announces the equally excitable Sammet, one of the show’s nine lead singers; others include Bob Catley of Magnum, former Helloween frontman Michael Kiske and Mr. Big’s Eric Martin.

With a seven-album catalogue to mine, it’s originals all the way. Sung by Catley, The Great Mystery sounds like Tony Clarkin attempting to rewrite All The Young Dudes. And that’s just seven songs in. Elsewhere, Sammet, on stage for most of the show, confesses that the nautical-flavoured Farewell was “stolen from the Titanic movie”.

Amazingly, 28 songs precede Avantasia’s three-song encore, the final pair of which features all of the show’s cast. Performers and audience are left quivering with the emotion of it all.

Given the magnitude of this project, it’s understandable that Sammet won’t promise further live performances. But nor will he rule out the idea. “If there’s another Avantasia tour, we will definitely return to the UK,” he promises. If and when they do, you’d be advised not to miss it.