German power metal supergroup Avantasia released their eighth studio album Moonglow on February 15, 2019. The band is the brainchild of frontman Tobias Sammet who also fronts the metal band, Edguy. Avantasia is a rock/metal opera in that it features contributions of various vocalists and musicians. Some of the guest vocalists that have contributed to Avantasia include Michael Kiske (Helloween), Alice Cooper, Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Klaus Meine (Scorpions), Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation), Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian) and Mille Petrozza (Kreator). Avantasia‘s albums have a concept or theme to it telling a story that can span more than one album so if you’re into albums like that. The name Avantasia comes from the words “avalon” and fantasia” and describes “a world beyond human imagination”. Soon after the album’s release, Avantasia set out on a huge world tour with new guest vocalists on the road as well as some previous singers. The last time Avantasia came to the USA was in 2016 which was their first USA tour. Only a few cities in the USA were fortunate enough to be blessed by Avantasia‘s presence and one of those stops was at the Grove in Anaheim, California. What makes these shows extra special is that Avantasia never has a support act and always plays for three hours non-stop! The Grove was packed with European metal fanatics that will surely be a power metal performance that they won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
The lights went out and the crowd cheered as the main musicians of Avantasia came out and started the instrumental intro to the new album’s first track Ghost in the Moon before the main man himself Tobias Sammet came out and started singing the song. Knowing power metal, it’s not uncommon for songs to be lengthy. Ghost in the Moon alone was almost ten minutes, but a glorious ten minutes. On backing vocals were Adrienne Cowan and Herbie Langhans who were amazing at keeping up with the fans and providing their amazing vocals to most of the songs performed. The next song performed was another new song Starlight and for this song, Avantasia was joined on stage by one of the special guest vocalist Ronnie Atkins who also fronts the band, Pretty Maids. The next song was yet another new song Book of Shallows where Atkins continued to be a guest singer for the song and this time was joined by Cowan who sang the harsh vocals section of the song (originally sung on the album by Mille Petrozza of Kreator). Sammet took a quick break to talk to the audience about when he first started promoting the album, radios wanted a single to air. Sammet picked The Raven Child and talked about how the problem with that song was that it was just over eleven minutes long and jokingly said he shaved off twenty seconds of the song to satisfy radio stations. With that, Avantasia played The Raven Child in full with another special guest vocalist Jørn Lande who has worked with various bands including his own band, Jorn. Coming up next was a very special guest and it was none other than the Dark Lord of Queensrÿche, Geoff Tate (ex-Queensrÿche). Tate sings two new songs on the new album and he was more than happy to show why he’s one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time. Tate breezed through Alchemy then slowed things down with Invincible which was a beautiful song to listen to. The next track played was the album’s title track, Moonglow. On the album, the song is sung by Candice Night who is the wife of guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore and fronts the folk rock band Blackmore’s Night with Blackmore. On this occasion, the Anaheim crowd would once again be graced by the presence of Adrienne Cowan with her beautiful singing who matches Night’s tone to perfection. Sammet next introduced a new guest vocalist and an old friend of his Eric Martin who fronts the rock band, Mr. Big. They would go on to perform a cover of the 80’s classic song, Maniac. Avantasia kept the energy going as they played hit after hit never having a dull moment in what seemed an endless performance. Some of the powerful songs performed included Twisted Mind, The Scarecrow, Master of the Pendulum, Dying For an Angel, Avantasia, and their longest song Let the Storm Descend Upon You which clocks in at just a little over twelve minutes. It was time for the show to come to an end and so Sammet mentioned how this song put Avantasia back on the map and is very special to him. The song was Lost in Space and it just as beautiful performed live as it sounds on the album, The Scarecrow. The band left the stage and all seemed quiet. Sammet came out to address the audience once again and was more than willing to play some encores and went back to the debut album, The Metal Opera. The first encore was Farewell with Cowan on vocals. To end the three-hour metal extravaganza, Sammet brought out every vocalist involved on the show which was a special special sight to see. The final encore was a blend of the songs Sign of the Cross followed by the grand finale, The Seven Angels. Everyone in the band got together and bowed to their audience and left the stage once again. The fans were happy to see Avantasia for what many in the audience was their first time. Hopefully it’s not another few years before Avantasia comes back.