AVANTASIA — the project led by EDGUY frontman Tobias Sammet — kicked off its "The Metal Opera Comes To Town" world tour 2010 last night (Tuesday, November 30) at Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland. Joining Sammet in AVANTASIA's touring lineup are a number of special guests, including GAMMA RAY/ex-HELLOWEEN guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen, Bob Catley (MAGNUM), Jorn Lande (MASTERPLAN), Amanda Somerville, Olli Hartmann and Michael Kiske (HELLOWEEN).
Commented Sammet: "The time has come — we are back on the road!
"Yesterday the tour started in Switzerland and it was a blast for all of us and I am sure for all of our fans as well.
"The band is much tighter than last time, everybody is having a great time and it feels just 'right' to be up there. It feels right for everyone of us and right after the show we all came to the conclusion that it was the best thing to happen to go up on that stage again.
"Prior to the show I was a bit nervous, Michael [Kiske] said that this was his job, but I think he is happy that there is a chicken like me in the band.
"As soon as I was up there and the lights went on, the adrenalin rush ran over the nerves.
"A three-hour show was a bit of a risk; would we be able to keep it exciting? Well, down the line it was actually just around 2:45. My speeches were planned to be longer, but I felt that I should let the music do the talking, so the duration of the show shrunk a little, and I guess nobody missed the speeches.
"It felt great to see Michi [Michael Kiske] and Kai on stage, it felt great to sing those ballads with Bob and, of course, I am having a ball singing those diabolic duets with Jorn. I am so looking forward to traveling around the world with my fellows, the next three weeks will be amazing for all of us and hopefully for all of you.
"For tonight's second show in Pratteln there are few tickets left for the walk-up audience. I am so looking forward to 8 o clock!
"See you somewhere on tour."
Fan-filmed video footage of last night's concert can be viewed below. Also available is the first in a series of video blogs from the road from Amanda Somerville, who is one of the guest singers on the tour.
Although rumors keep circulating about further shows from AVANTASIA in 2011, a statement on Tobias' official web site makes it clear that after AVANTASIA's December world tour, there will be no more tours or festival appearances from the project apart from the Wacken Open Air show in August 2011.
Commented Sammet: "In 2011 we will not play any show except from the Wacken show, due to commitments that we all have with our individual main bands. That's why we are very happy about having found a time frame to bring the show on stage in December. 'The Metal Opera Comes To Town' world tour 2010 will be a special event that will be neither repeated nor continued. That's why we'll play as many songs as possible and make it a special experience for us as much as for our fans. Because we are not naive enough to believe that this lineup will ever get the chance to share the stage again after the forthcoming tour."
Remaining AVANTASIA tour dates:
Dec. 01 - Switzerland - Pratteln, Z7
Dec. 03 - Germany - Lichtenfels, Stadthalle *
Dec. 04 - Germany - Kaufbeuren, All Karthalle *
Dec. 05 - Sweden - Stockholm, Arenan
Dec. 08 - Japan - Tokyo, Shinagawa Stella Ball
Dec. 10 - Mexico - Mexico City, Circo Volador
Dec. 13 - Brazil - Sao Paulo, CTN
Dec. 15 - Argentina - Buenos Aires, [venue to be announced]
Dec. 18 - Germany - Fulda, Esperantohalle *
Dec. 19 - Germany - Essen, Grugahalle *
Aug. 06, 2011 - Germany - Wacken, Wacken Open Air
* Due to the fact that this is not a regular or annual tour but an extensive AVANTASIA event and experience, these shows will begin promptly at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets for the German dates are available at www.metaltix.com.
"It's gonna be a once-in-a-lifetime affair!" said Sammet when the all-star project first set off on a world tour a few years ago. And although it seemed impossible to bring the project onto the stage after an extensive preparatory time, AVANTASIA headlined some of the biggest summer festivals in 2008. To this day, many fans recall the AVANTASIA live shows as magical, once-in-a-lifetime concert experiences.
Added Sammet: "There has always been the desire to do it again, but, of course, there is always a risk. It requires a huge amount of time and energy; there are no figures based on experience, because I don't know anybody who has taken an all-star metal opera on the road to play indoor venues. The stage production is abnormally expensive and you must not forget the many people who are involved and who come from different parts of the world. It requires a good timing.
"At some point we sat together and checked if and how we could possibly do it once again and we soon found out that December 2010 would be the right period to do a real tour.
"I admit that four weeks [is] not really a long time frame, but it's better to do a short tour than no tour at all. And if we hadn't taken that chance, it would have never happened because we will come with a lot of musicians and vocalists and it's a nightmare to mind all our individual schedules with our main bands."
Unlike AVANTASIA's festival tour of 2008, the band's upcoming dates will be full-fledged headlining performances, with the group performing longer sets than has been the case in the past.
"It was great to play Wacken and Sweden Rock Festival, but playing a festival you only have so much time," explained Sammet. "You play ten songs and people have a party and everybody's got fun. But doing our own tour, we can really create an atmosphere, we can play a lot longer and take people on a journey through the history of AVANTASIA. We can actually take people to the world of AVANTASIA itself.
"Fans can expect a bombastic concert experience.
"Many so-called 'metal operas' have been released on albums recently, but AVANTASIA will bring it on stage and take fans around the globe with them.
"You can't compare a normal band to what we are going to do. If all your favourite singers appear on one stage at the same night to take you on a musical journey, then this isn't just great, it's über-great!"
AVANTASIA released its new epic masterpiece on April 3 as regular CDs ("The Wicked Symphony" and "Angel Of Babylon"), two separate double picture vinyls, and as a beautiful collector's edition with an AVANTASIA picture book.