Live review: Avantasia

Supergroup rock opera comes to town.

Tobias Sammett Avantasia
(Image: © Leigh Van Der Byl)

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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.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.