Album review: AYREON UNIVERSE – The Best of Ayreon Live

AYREON UNIVERSE – The Best of Ayreon Live

Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group [30.03.18]

Ayreon are masterminded by Arjen Anthony Lucassen, who prefers to create music in the studio rather than appear live and the announcement that Ayreon would play two shows in September 2017  (their first official concerts) was met with excitement from the fans, with all three shows selling out very quickly.

Debuting in 1995 the series of Ayreon albums have featured a number of notable guests and the live shows included many of these including Damian Wilson, Nightwish’s Floor Jansen, Kamelot’s Tommy Karevik, Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kursch, Anneke van Giersbergen and Ed Warby on drums.

This concert is available in various formats from the double CD reviewed here through to a DVD, Blu-ray and even a gold limited edition.

Twenty eight songs and a good mix from across the Ayreon albums, with two songs from the Star One project including the rousing finale ‘The Eye Of Ra’ which has nearly the whole cast of musicians joining in.

Highlights are many including Anneke van Giersbergen and Jonas Renkse on a spine tingling version of ‘Comatose’, whilst ‘Ride The Comet’ and ‘Into The Black Hole’ are great pieces of sci-fi led prog metal. Arjen Lucassen joins in two songs, ‘The Castle Hall’ and ‘Amazing Flight in Space’, to a suitably loud and rousing welcome from the audience.

Considering there were only a limited time for rehearsals, the musicians bring the songs to life on stage making for a successful and memorable run through the Ayreon musical catalogue.

For those lucky enough to attend either of the shows a perfect audio and visual memento, for the rest of Ayreon’s fan base a ‘must have’ of quite possibly the only live shows we will see by Ayreon, although he has said in a recent interview that further shows may happen in 2019. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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Power Plays w/c 17 September 2018

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF Try As I Might (KScope)
JAWBONE Two Million Heartbeats (indie)
BAD TOUCH Hammer Falls (Marshall Records)
SARI SCHORR Thank You (Manhaton)
MALLEN Polarity (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 17 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 GIOELI-CASTRONOVO Set The World On Fire (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 FEDERAL CHARM Passenger (indie)
14:00-16:00 PAUL CARRACK These Days (Carrack-UK)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 JOURNEY Raised On Radio (1986)



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