On Saturday, 4th of December, was early Christmas for many of the fans. I’m talking about  the unforgettable concert, Tobias Sammet’s project – Avantasia. The launch of the world tour took place in Pratteln, Switzerland, on 30th of November. Since the formation of the tour was known before Avantasia headed out to the world, it didn’t stop bothering me. The concert in Kaufbeuren, Germany seemed to fit us the best. To go, or not to go – were thoughts running through my mind. After reading the list of musicians, the answer was certain. Tobias Sammet, Michael Kiske, Jorn Lande, Bob Catley, Kai Hansen, Amanda Somerville, Oliver Hartmann, Sascha Paeth, Felix Bohnke, Miro Rodenberg and Robert Huneke-Rizzo. Beside Avantasia itself, the biggest temptation was to see former members of Helloween, Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen, on one stage. The decision was made – let’s go!
The biggest problem our six-member expedition seemed to be the transport and unfortunately, it became a reality. After all the thinking and combining, we decided to go for the cheapest way and it proved to be a mistake. Our driver got lost as early as in Bratislava, where we were picking up other members who came form other side of the river Morava. There was another person joining our team in Munich, Germany. Our driver trusted more the sat nav. then us and it resulted in our journey. The car wasn’t in it’s best shape, so we decided to refresh our bodies and minds with a pint of golden larger. Outside temperature dropped below zero and the heating in the car wasn’t working properly. As it usually is, the beer made our eyelids a bit heavier so we all took a short nap. And that was another mistake. When we woke up, we realised we were going completely wrong way. That’s when we started to feel some tension. We weren’t doing the best time wise either. We got off the highway to Pratteln (about 150 km detour) and we took a road that lead us to Salzburg. We calmed down a bit but we had no idea we were about to wander the streets of Munich for 90 minutes. The concert started at 8 p.m. and we still couldn’t find our way. When we finally found the spot of meeting and our last person to be picked-up, the watch was showing half past seven. It was eighty kilometers to Kaufbeuren and we were certain we were going to miss the beginning of the show. We kept reminding ourself that the Avantasia show was three hours long. Of course, our driver was relying on his satellite navigation and instead of Art-Karthalle, we ended up in front of a car dealership. Thanks to the locals we headed the right way.

It was something after half past eight and after twelve hour journey our nerves were obvious. We even didn’t wait for the driver to park the car and just ran to the venue straight away. It was a huge function hall otherwise used for kart racing. We rammed in during 6th song – Reach out for the light. After a short struggling through the crowd we found a good spot which was quite close to the stage.

All the nerves disappeared in that hall because the vocal duet of Tobias and Michael were like a balm for the soul. The next song was from album Metal Opera pt. 1 – The tower, in which Kiske stared again. It was obvious that not only Sammet but all the german fans as well, were watching Kiske. The band and Kiske were enjoying themselves. During the guitar solos, other performers were whispering to each other and showing their excitement by smiling. I, personally, was looking forward to songs sang by Kiske and Hansen. And I think it was these two who enjoy the concert the most. Kiske and Hansen just like in old days of Helloween. Smiles, giggles and most of all, the great performance. The leader Gamma Ray  sang babylon’s Death is just a feeling, perfectly. He inherited this song from John Oliva. The hat, the stick and the tailcoat suited him great, as well as his voice. Kai showed off in The Toy Master. He sang this one on the first Avantasia tour on Master of Rock festival, in 2008. His version of this song was one of the best pieces of the night. I dare to say Hansen managed, at least, to off set Alice Cooper, if he wasn’t better. The whole audience (that was very dry) sang along Tobias and Amanda Lost in Space. Enthusiasm was present in both performers and audience. Especially in our group. I’ll mention german audience alter. Our eyes and years registered Bob Catley, for the first time, in duet with Tobias Sammet – In Quest For. Next came songs from the new The Wicked Symphony. In Runaway Train presented himself and his distinctive and powerful rock vocals Jorn Lande. For Dying for An Angel came back on stage Michael Kiske who took care of Klaus Main parts in the studio version. And I think he did better job than the Scorpions singer. With this song, german audience came to life, however I must say I was really disappointed. Mainly when known songs were played I felt like at some pop-concert. Avantasia fans weren’t really moving, form time to time they clapped and the female part of the audience was just screaming. In Stargazers, we saw in their best Kiske and Lande. In Farewell, Amanda Somerville gave another good performance. In Wicked Symphony joing the leadership Oliver Hartmann and the song got a totally different sound. Another mind blowing piece was Shelter From the Rain, from album The Scarecrow, in which, beside singers Michael and Tobias, we saw Kai Hansen playing guitar, this time. Unfortunately his ESP guitar gave up after first tones. He took it with humor though. After Shelter From The Rain, Michael and Tobias took hold of the microphone. It was obvious that Tobias was complimenting Michael through the whole night. Their humor wasn’t strange to Kiske and shortly he joined them in the conversation. Since they were in their home country, they spoke their language. Unfortunately, we didn’t understand much. Tobias tried to engage the audience in their native language to kill some time. After about five minute chat, started the same named song – Avantasia, which made me shiver. Sensational! Before the last medley of songs Sign of the Cross and The Seventh Angels, he introduced all the performers, whose faces were stretched in a big smile. Both us and the band were very happy. The German audience got lively during the last songs, but we are use to wilder conditions. Stunning sound, amazing singing and musical performance. Simply unique concert with everything that it should have, followed with big thank-yous and ovations. Then we made our way slowly out to get some fresh air. We had no idea then that it was about  -20 degrees Celsius. When we spotted the tour bus we knew our freezing outside was worths it. After a short moment Jorn Lande and Michael Kiske came out and three guys from our bunch got to have their pictures taken. Our happiness grew even bigger.

I was thinking where to insert this concert in my personal chart. The reason is, there are few things that disappointed me. Clearly the later arrival, but especially the German audience. Neither of these things, did not affect the awesome performance of musicians and our artistic experience, which, literally, gave us shivers. For myself, I’d say that music wise, this was certainly one of the best concerts that I attended. I have o mention those German fans. For their defense, I have to say there were all age groups. From teenagers through those in their thirties, to seniors. Well, Avantasia is extremely popular in Germany. As soon as we got in front, it was more than clear that some individuals didn’t like it. I can understand that, but when we started to move around a little, people warned us that they can’t see through us. Don’t get me wrong here, but when I go to a metal concert am I supposed to stand there and give them a clap? I’ve seen this in our culture as well, but sometimes I felt that our having fun bothered other people. It doesn’t seem to be right, as I think the bend needs to get some feedback. They need to see that the audience is having fun and enjoying themselves. As proper Slovaks we brought Slovakian flag and when I pulled it out, a “fan” asked me to put it down so he can tape the concert. Now I’m really confused. Do the Germans go to concert to stand there with open mouth? Or is it more of a theater experience for them? We came to enjoy the concert and ourselves. After a sudden disappointment we didn’t care about those around us and just did what we came for – to enjoy the band and ourselves. Even our flag went proudly up, few times, to show those dry Germans how to have fun. After all, we travelled 800 km, so we wanted to get the most of it. I understand that Avantasia is from Germany, but I hope, for their next tour, they choose more cities where culture doesn’t tied people’s feet to the ground.

Full of unforgettable moments, we let our driver to get a rest and we headed to a local bar. The prizes were a bit over the top but, at that moment, it didn’t matter. Frozen to our bones, tired and with a new experience, we got to a totally frozen car. On the way back, the journey was very similar, but there was one difference. Nothing didn’t matter anymore. We didn’t care we were freezing. The smart lady from GPS didn’t annoy us any more, there was no rush. None of us will forget this concert!

Unique experience  Great concert hall
Good quality sound
All musicians were enjoying this concert Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen on one stage after many years

German crowd
Never-ending journey

Twisted Mind (Tobi), The Scarecrow (Tobi/Jorn), Promised Land (Tobi/Jorn), Serpents in Paradise (Tobi/Jorn), The Story Aint Over (Tobi/Bob), Reach Out For the Light (Tobi/Michi), The Tower (Tobi/Michi), Death is Just a Feeling (Tobi/Kai), Lost in Space (Tobi/Amanda), In Quest For (Tobi/Bob), Runaway Train (Tobi/Bob/Jorn), Dying For An Angel (Tobi/Michi), Stargazers (Oliver/Michi/Jorn), Farewell (Tobi/Amanda), The Wicked Symphony (Tobi/Jorn/Oliver), The Toy Master (Tobi/Kai), Shelter From the Rain (Tobi/Michi, Kai on guitar), Avantasia (Tobi/Michi, Kai on guitar), Sign of the Cross/The Seven Angels Medley (all)

Author: Stillborn

Photo: Shelvis

Translation: Daniel Kubík