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Avantasia: The Flying Opera

Not to be outdone by Edguy, Tobias Sammett’s primary Metal band, Avantasia has issued their own live DVD titled The Flying Opera: Around the World in 20 Days. Unfortunately, I have not been able to secure a copy of this release for review yet, and Nuclear Blast Records had provided me with the audio files of the DVD quite some time ago. It wasn’t until recently that I started the “Audio Only” section that these files have found a home to get the word out to readers interested in these releases I simply didn’t get to yet. So, without further delay, let’s talk about The Flying Opera, shall we?

First of all, the audio quality to this effort comes through pretty clear, obviously being taken from the sound board. The guitars sound fantastic, the drumming sounds rich with a great thud to the bass kicks while the rest of the kit comes through nicely, and the bass presence is strong. The vocals here are a little louder, but just enough that you can really hear them against the booming music that comes through clean with a slight edge to it that makes the material infectious. But while the quality is fantastic, it’s what the soundboard captures that makes the audio to The Flying Opera something special to at least hear. The performance from the entire band for this release is simply stunning, and the energy can be felt by both Avantasia, and the crowd that’s eating up every second of the show.

The performance kicks off with the fan favorite “Twisted Mind,” a super song that teases the audio with some slow introduction chords before finally belting in with the fun, energetic performance that dominates the recording. Whether the crowd was singing along is unlear, though you pick up on applause before the band goes into the almost twelve minute track “The Scarecrow.” The amazing performance is captured perfectly and simply portrays the jaw-dropping experience of Avantasia live, and the awe-inspiring talent the band has as it hammers away at the listener, or in the case of the DVD the audio is from, at the viewer. This sends the crowd into a deafening uproar that will leave you as amazed as the band’s performance, but after “The Scarecrow,” it’s impossible to say it wasn’t deserved. Tobias immediately gets on the microphone and keeps the fans going, riling up the crowd even more for quite some time before going into “Another Angel Down,” which is met with a great applause, though clearly not as strong after “The Scarecrow.” But, the moment “Prelude” kicks in, the audience starts to get antsy, cheering for what they know is to come: “Reach Out for the Light.” The second it starts, they cheer with glee as the band goes right into this classic.

It is funny to hear the band kick start the track “Inside” right after “Reach Out for the Light,” and only the women in the audience start screaming their heads off. Gradually, the rest of the crowd gets into it, and the they clap their hands in unison against the melody being laid out against the piano, eventually finding Tobias getting the crowd involved for the chorus, though again it seems to be prodominantly females that join in. Unfortunately, this becomes the one live performance of the recording that honestly feels like the band had trouble, and given that there are plenty of different locations used through the album, something you can pick up on in the audio alone due to locations being shouted out before or after a song, it leads one to wonder what the other versions of “Inside” were like, and if they were worse then what is presented on that track. It honestly sounds like Avantasia just had a hard time getting the crowd into it naturally, and it’s not until he reveals they are shooting a DVD that they get involved, but even then it trails off quite a bit after that. The reaction to the band’s ill-fated “Lost in Space” single being performed, especially after being introduced as the start of the boring material, is even a lot stronger. This shouldn’t come as a shock considering how great a song it is (I don’t care if you don’t like it, I personally love the track) and the reaction throughout the energetic performance is as amazing as the performance. The fade at the end makes me believe this is the end of the first audio disc that comes with some of the DVD packages, as “I Don’t Believe in Your Love” fades back in with the same last line the previous track ended with.

The rest of the music is not boring like the band jokes around about, though it’s definitely more of their toned down material for a little while. The crowd is still behind the group obviously, and you can kind of tell the band is getting worn out a bit at this point as the enthusiasm that started the album is clearly starting to fade by the time “Promise Land” kicks in, though there’s still a good amount of energy to found among the members, especially in the banter that comes out at the end of “Serpents in Paradise.” Avantasia does come back out once more for an encore of two songs, which does get the crowd riled up again. “The Toy Master” kicks things off well, though the crowd doesn’t seem to get too excited over it. It isn’t until “Farewell” that the crowd does get back into it thanks to the slower pace and majestic audio coming through of the more Folk driven sound to the track. The request for the spotlight on the crowd, and perhaps it works in their favor. But, sadly, the file obtained is corrupt so this final track I cannot finish, and it’s probably better represented on the DVD anyhow.

The Flying Opera clearly shows Avantasia headlining, and doing a good job of it, though obviously getting worn out as the show goes on despite the songs being taken from various locations. The crowd reaction is greatly diverse from being absolutely stoked for the performance, to being uninterested completely until they learn they will be on a DVD. In the end though, the performance and the crowd reaction really makes me want to check out the live performance even more, and makes me sad I haven’t been able to up at this point. It sounds like Avantasia had a lot of fun on stage, and the crowd ate most of it up, and visually it’s probably more impressive to see both feeding off each other in a manner the audio can’t quite convey.

Article based on digital review material provided by Nuclear Blast Records.