Avantasia is one of those bands I have followed for quite a few years and have attached quite a few memories in life associated with their music. In 2016 upon the release of GhostlightsI bought tickets to see them for the first time in Anaheim, only to be diagnosed with cancer and have to cancel my trip. Later that year while receiving Chemo I had a playlist called “Kicking Cancer’s Ass” which included many Avantasia songs inspiring me to fight the beast I called cancer.
In 2019 when Avantasia announced a world tour which included two California dates I decided to celebrate being cancer free for three years and travel to both of them.
Avantasia played their opening night in North America in San Jose California at the National Civic Center on May 17, 2019.
I arrived early to the show to ensure that I had the best view of an event three years in the making. After an amazing interview with Bob Catley which you can find here:
I headed out to count down the minutes till the beginning of the show.
The show began with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Op. 125 (Ode to Joy). A short pause silenced the arena, and suddenly the opening to “Ghost in the Moon” began. The stage lights covered the stage with a rainbow of colors as Tobias and the band appeared on stage. The crowd raised their “Horns” to the sky, and they welcomed us to the show. Through the first couple songs I found it hard to not just stop and sing instead of doing my job, which was to take photos. “Starlight” and “Book of Shallows” followed and Ronnie Atkins appeared for the first time. They also introduced the crowd to the amazing Adrienne Cowan. Adrienne’s voice has the ability to flutter like a butterfly but sting like a scorpion.
As the show continued, “The Raven Child” began and Jorn Lande slowly meandered down the stairs to belt out his share of the song. He and Tobias continued with one of my favorite songs from the Ghostlights album, “Lucifer.” The lights dimmed, the beginning of “Alchemy” started and Geoff Tate put the crowd in a trance with his voice. “Invincible” was next and this tune also showcased Geoff’s out of this world voice. “Reach Out For the Light” brought the crowd to a new level. The song is an Avantasia Classic and San Jose responded appropriately. Things took a turn on the slower side as Tobias and Adrienne sang “Moonglow” together.
Eric Martin arrived on stage and covered “Maniac” along with “Dying for an Angel” with Tobias.
Soon it was time for the eternal Bob Catley. He sang his song from Moonglow called “Lavender.” He continued his time on stage belting out the Avantasia classic “The Story Ain’t Over.” At this point having seen set list on line I knew the song I had waited so long to hear was about to start. “The Scarecrow” was the song that introduced me to Avantasia and to hear it live with Tobias and Jorn was 11 minutes of pure auditory ecstasy.
The concert continued with song after song for three hours. The show ended with an encore of “The Seven Angels” and everyone returning on stage for what was an amazing evening of epic proportions.
To say the show was anything less than a show of a lifetime would be an understatement. Some waited years to see The Beatles in the 60s. This was my Beatles moment. Although I did not explode in emotion over the concert, in my mind I had flashbacks to crossing the finish line of a half marathon and memories of siting in a hospital connected to a machine while being pumped full of poison while I listened to The Scarecrow. Although the tour is over in North America, there are plenty of summer festival dates in Europe.