It has been about a year since my simple crush with Avatarium began. I discovered their latest album, The Fire I Long For, in December 2019, and since then, that simple crush has turned into a full-on obsession. I purchased all their previous albums and watched all their videos on YouTube. I felt like the only thing left was to see them live, but then 2020 began to rear its ugly head, and the dream of seeing a live show slowly disappeared. I watched some of the videos they put out from their live show in Stockholm, and all that did was tease my fixation.
Avatarium then released a full-length video of the concert from the Stockholm show earlier in 2020. An Evening with Avatarium solidified my need to see this band live. Now there is an audio version of this concert that will be released on December 4, 2020. The show was recorded at Nalen in Stockholm, Sweden. The venue was built in the late 1800s and served as a place for political meetings, sporting events, and concerts. In the 1930s-1960s, Nalen was known for its jazz concerts and ballroom dances. It is not a big venue but has wonderful historical charm, and some of rocks biggest bands have played there, from The Kinks to Swedish rock greats Europe..
The show begins as the house lights drop and the stage lights rise. “Voices” and “Rubicon” open the show from Avatarium’s latest album, The Fire I Long For.
The show was actually the first show of 2020 for the band, but you would never know that by the precision and synchronicity as they blaze through “Into the Fire / Into the Storm.” Up next is one of my favorite songs from The Fire I Long For. “Lay Me Down” has a tremendous dark country like sound to it that showcases Smith’s hypnotizing voice. The song “Avatarium” darkens things even more. “Shake That Demon” exemplifies the musical harmonization between the guitar of Marcus Jidel and the organ of Rickard Nilsson. The organ has always played a big part in Avatarium’s music, but it is amplified in a live setting, giving it an early Deep Purple sound. “Pearls and Coffins” brings a larger-than-life theatrical sound to the stage. The song includes an epic guitar solo from Marcus again paired with the more psychedelic organ.
Things get a bit bluesy as they add a doomy sound to the classic “In My Time of Dying,” originally done by blues god Blind Willie Johnson. The song has been redone by greats such as Jimmy Page, U2’s The Edge, and even The Black Crows, but none add quite the deep dark sound that Avatarium does.
“Medusa Child” brings the beast that none of us can see more than once and immortalizes her into a song. It is quickly followed by “The Sky at the Bottom of the Sea.” A piece that Jim Morrison would love to coin as his own if he were alive today.
“The Fire I Long For” brings to life one of my favorite Avatarium songs. The song has a dark sound and lyrics, giving it a shadowy demise like sound.
Things speed back up for the last song, “Girl With the Raven Mask.” By this time, you can feel the connection between the musicians and the rhythm section of Mats Rydström on bass and Andreas” Habo” Johansson, who have carried the beat perfectly throughout the whole show.
Coming out for the encore, the piano intro to “Stars They Move” begins, and Jennie and Rickard spellbind the crowd. The show comes to a climax with “Moonhorse.” Avatarium put together a fantastic opening night of The Fire I Long For tour.
As 2020 draws to an end, the music industry has been transformed into virtual shows and recordings of tours that could have been. Regardless of what this tour could have or should have been for Avatarium, An Evening with Avatarium encapsulates what the band is live and only solidifies my desire to see them in person one day. Until that day, I will be content with An Evening with Avatarium. Do not miss your chance to have this live show as part of your collection. It will be released on December 4, 2020, via Nuclear Blast Records.