In Concert 2013: Avantasia – Berlin

As I said in the review for Letzte Instanz: I split apart what I wanted to write about the concerts I attended this year.
So here is the continuation of my reviews.

Journey to the Tempodrom…

For the next concert I did not find any company. I had asked a couple of people – even including a woman I know through giving lifts – but no one had time or was interested in it. Besides, with ~40 Euro the concert was my most expensive one so far. But it kind of was a reasonable price as the concert wasn’t only in the Tempodrom in Berlin, but also three hours long, with a good dozen of different musicians from all kind of bands. Well, if you read the list from the post above properly you know which concert this was: The long awaited Avantasia concert. 🙂 (Which I also mentioned in my review for their Album The Mystery of Time)

As Berlin is a bit further away then Rostock and I did not want to drive through the night I had asked Liathano if I could take up the offer she had given me for the Paganfest and stay at her place again, which I then did. When I was about to depart for the concert she and her boyfriend gave me instructions as to which train-thing (I think it was a tram) I needed to use to get there. I’m always nervous when I take these things alone and checked my notes a few times…

On my way to the Tempodrom a guy with an Avantasia shirt entered the train-thing as well and sat himself right across from me. I couldn’t help myself but to grin at him as we most likely would have the same destination. Especially as he even resembled Tobias Sammet – the mastermind behind the project – a little…
But before we exited the train I entertained a little kid that his mum had placed beside the scary looking black-clad person. He was moving around his stuffed doggy(?) and I was making faces accordingly. He even waved at me when they left. 😀
When we arrived at my final station Shirt-guy finally asked: „I guess we have the same destination?“ and we started talking about the band, it’s musicians and the question of where the hell we would have to go…
Let’s just say we struggled a bit with the actual direction, but in the end we did find the Tempodrom – after some asking around – on the other side of the road… 😀
There he said he’d meet up with friends and as they had tickets for the ranks and mine was for the arena itself I parted from him and entered the building.

The Tempodrom is a huge building which kind of resembles a circus tent. You have the stage on the far side, which is the entrance of the artists. In front of it there is a round flat area, the arena. And then the whole things is surrounded by the tribunes, with quite a number of seats. As I said, I had a ticket for the arena, so I made my way to a position where I could see well.

Soon enough the musicians entered the stage, but the audience didn’t really do the same. My guess is, that the arena was only half full, while the ranks were nearly empty. Tobias even claimed that a Berlin audience is always hard to catch and hard on the musicians, but that they still would give their best to turn the Monday into a Friday (or Saturday, I don’t remember, but it was something like that).

Pleasing the foreign audience

As he had seen a couple of foreign flags in the crowd Tobias also decided to use English for his (far too long) monologues. Well, I certainly don’t mind people from abroad to visit or be on concerts in different countries, but I don’t really get why a German musician would have to not talk in his native language just because of that. I don’t know if this counts as considerate on Tobi’s part or as simple misjudgement as to the amount of people with no knowledge of the German language in comparison to those who did. I mean, I don’t expect a musician to change into a different language, just because I’m waving a flag, showing that I am not native to this country. I go to the concert for the music, not for the ramblings of the artist – though Tobias is well known for long ramblings/rants…

To digress a moment I’d like to give you two examples of bands, who wouldn’t change the way they speak:
At the Blind Guardian concerts at Wacken and at the Metalfest the singer didn’t speak English, though he knew of the multinational audience. This might as well be due to the fact that he has quite a horrible accent, but still.
On the other hand, when Sabaton play in Germany they talk English with a few German words here and there, but if a German were to attend a concert of them in Sweden, I doubt they would do that throughout the whole concert. For a few things probably, but not for the whole thing.
In conclusion: I have no idea why he decided to switch to English, regardless of the people expecting him to use his mother’s tongue.

Three great hours

Regardless of that and the fact that he really talks a lot, the concert was great. Not as great as I had expected due to the weird atmosphere of a half-full location, but still great.
They played a nice mix of old and new songs – even some that are around 10 minutes long – and showed me that all those ballad-like songs from the latest album are indeed quite rock-ish (Black Orchid has become one of my favourites of the record). The songs just have so much more energy when played live, with all these brilliant musicians. I mean they had Kai Hansen, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley, Amanda Somerville, Eric Martin, Ronnie Atkins and more.

It was great to see and especially hear all these amazing singers.
It was also great that some of the songs where usually Tobias sings the main part in the vocals were sung by other people and I have to say that those sounded even better.
The chemistry between the musicians was also quite amazing.
Even when Bob had just finished his first part their wonderful duet The Story Ain’t Over and it was time for Tobias to sing his part, but he instead just started laughing, Bob took over for him. Ronnie and Eric joked about Tobias‘ endless monologues and so on. You could just see that, even though there were not as much people as they had expected, they still enjoyed playing for the audience. And it is always fun to see Catley perform. He is always smiling and moves his hand according to the rhythm of the lyrics. 🙂

During their song Stargazers, a song that I don’t like that much, I got out to get some water – only to realize at my return that there also was a bar within the arena and I wouldn’t have had to go outside…
Though it gave me the chance to see that there were still a few people standing outside, for whatever reasons, but they wouldn’t have managed to fill up the arena either.

Anyway, some of my highlights, beside the ones I’ve already mentioned, were definitely: The Scarecrow, Twisted Mind, Dying for an AngelThe Seven Angels and Sign of the Cross. Unexpectedly also What’s Left of Me, due to the amazing performance of Eric Martin.
On a side note: I shortly wondered why the actor Benedict Cumberbatch was sitting on the stage, when Eric had first appeared…
In my defence: I just saw the the short black hair and was strangely reminded of him. And I didn’t know the faces of all of the musicians. I rarely do, because it’s about their voices not their looks…

Well, after the concert when I went back to the station – which I found through following random people and again asking for directions – I saw the guy from before again, typing away on his phone. Until he had to get off the train we continued our conversation, this time obviously about the concert itself. He was positively surprised that they had played so many of their longer (~10 min) songs, but I assured him that they also did that during their performances at Wacken, which was much shorter than the concert here.
When we parted again he said that we’d see us again when Avantasia would return to Berlin, but I doubt I would recognize him again…I can’t even remember what his name was….

Even with all the slightly negative stuff I mentioned, I really enjoyed the concert and I’d like to see them again one day. Maybe in four years, as Tobias had promised during the concert. 😀


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