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Ayreon - Ayreon Universe : Best of Ayreon Live CD (album) cover



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5 stars There are somehow no reviews for this yet, despite it now being out for a couple of weeks. I bought the signed, limited edition 'earbook' version of this set, which has already sold out. It comes with 2 CDs, 2 DVDs and a blu-ray of the concert, along with a nicely finished book full of photographs and information about all participants. Well worth the money.

As for the concert itself, it is apparently the first EVER 'official' live Ayreon concert. There was the 'Theater Equation' from a few years ago, but apparently that wasn't a true Ayreon concert. That's a technicality, but either way this is a wonderful set. No less than 16(!) singers and 8 instrumentalists - plus Arjen himself - perform dozens of tracks from various Ayreon albums with great enthusiasm and obvious joy. The singers act out the various parts, having conflicts on stage where the characters are fighting. This is not a rigid concert at all.

The production values are surprisingly high, with an enormous screen projecting animations to accompany the music. The sound balance is fantastic, and the editing and camera work far better than I had assumed they would be. Arjen even gives a heartfelt speech towards the end, where he confesses to being "scared [&*!#]less" by playing live - presumably the reason it has taken so long for them to get up and do this. I haven't watched the special features yet, but there's a documentary about putting the show together which looks great, along with interviews with everyone involved.

I've listened to this concert all the way through at least 10 times now, and it's fantastic, I wish I had been there. If you at all like Ayreon's music you can't fail to love this.

Report this review (#1914609)
Posted Sunday, April 15, 2018 | Review Permalink
Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team
4 stars This show was made possible because of the involvement of 100 people.The musicians are from different Metal bands, some have played with Arjen Lucassen before. Many vocalists were chosen to sing in this almost 30 songs and more than 2 hours of music. This is the first big production in the Ayeron live release with the latest technology, projections, elaborate light show and mixed brilliantly by Arjen himself in stereo and surround. The high definition show showcases the greatest hits of Ayreon with some big Space-Symphonic Metal music with some folk passages. This a collaborative effort, Arjen only played at the end with that energy he is known for. And this is that energy and passion that transpire from every musician during this show. The sound is big, the mix is clear and the picture sharp. The one hour and a half documentary is led by with Arjen and his keyboard player and features mostly interviews with the cast and how Arjen discover them and decided to invite them to this project. The choice of vocalists for each song is spot on and the musicianship is tight with some talented and experienced players. A must for Ayreon's fan and a good place to discover the band.
Report this review (#1914681)
Posted Sunday, April 15, 2018 | Review Permalink

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