Salt Lake City, UT had the privilege, and the pleasure of receiving an amazing show from AVATAR on April 30th, 2023. AVATAR are unequaled in their theatrical presentation. They have the capability to throw the audience through a myriad of thoughts, emotions, and captivating visuals throughout the entire performance.
Whether you are an avid fan, or an AVATAR initiate, you can’t help but fall in love with not only the music and the show, but with the musicians as well. Each of them plays an amazing role throughout the set. Their talent and their personalities are beyond compare, and create the perfect balance between them – none of them seizing too much of the limelight.
Perfectly imitating a jerky animatronic puppet, John Alfredsson took his place at the drums while the bells chimed for the intro of “Dance Devil Dance”. The audience screamed and whistled in anticipation as the rest of the band took their places, one by one. After an extended intro, purposely planned to build suspense, Jonas Jarlsby, Tim Öhrström, and Henrik Sandelin joined in to pave the way for front man Johannes Eckerström to deliver his growling vocals in Dance Devil Dance. The audience went crazy with excitement in the flashing red and white lights.
Immediately following, AVATAR seamlessly went into “The Eagle Has Landed”. Eckerström encouraged the crowd to sing along throughout, and of course, we all obliged without hesitation. “Valley of Disease” was next on the list. The energy was buzzing in the air. Everyone was so amped to be there. Eckerström took a break to interact with the crowd. His stage presence has no rival in the metal music world. With a booming announcers voice that captivates and even hypnotizes, he called the crowd “outcasts, freaks, mistakes, and miscarriages”, asked for consent due to his “dirty talk”, and then promised an evening full of pleasure. He received deafening cheers from the venue.
“Chimp Mosh Pit” and “Scream Until You Wake” was followed by a fan favorite, “Bloody Angel”. The crowd went silent for the slow and serene guitar intro, then immediately roared with excitement as the song picked up it’s pace. “For the Swarm” and “Puppet Show” were up next. Eckerström had a delightful surprise for the crowd for “Puppet Show”. Part way through the song, he disappeared. He then reappeared on the balcony of the second level of the venue. He proceeded to make faces and gestures that made the crowd laugh. After making a balloon animal and throwing into the crowd, he pulled a trombone out from behind him. As everyone around him used their phones to record and take pictures, he played the remainder of the song on the trombone right there on the balcony. This was definitely a highlight of the evening.
Eckerström rejoined his fellow band members on the stage and continued with the show. Flawless performances of “When the Snow Lies Red”, “Do You Feel in Control”, and “Black Waltz” delighted the crowd before Eckerström surprised us with another unexpected treat. Following “Black Waltz” the stage turned dark blue as a piano was pulled to the front. Eckerström took some time to interact with the audience again before delivering a beautiful performance of “Tower”. This was a perfect showcase of the diversity of his vocal range. Not only is AVATAR able to deliver an adrenaline pumping metal show, they are able to serenade and take the audience to extra levels of emotion that most metal bands can’t achieve.
Another fan favorite, “Colossus”, was next, followed by “Let it Burn”. The crowd burst into applause and screams as banners of band member, Jonas Jarlsby, dressed as a king dropped from the ceiling. He appeared from a doorway dressed in a king’s crown and robe to perform an unforgettable performance of “A Statue of a King”. The crowd went wild as Eckerström took center stage following the exit of the rest of the band. He wrapped things up by recognizing that this was an all ages show, and NOT apologizing for his indecent talk and behavior. The crowd laughed and cheered at that comment. He shared how touching it is to him that so many parents bring their children to shows. “A family that metals together, stays together”, he said. He then shared that they had three songs remaining, and promised that they would be back to Salt Lake City.
“The Dirt I’m Buried In”, “Smells Like a Freak Show”, and “Hail the Apocalypse” wrapped up the evening. The audience hung around well after the band exited, hoping for another encore. As the venue emptied, multiple people were heard mentioning that this was the best show they had ever been to.
AVATAR always puts on an unforgettable show, but this one is one that can’t be missed. The Dance Devil Dance Tour goes through the end of May 2023.