Seen Live: Ayreon Universe

Nope. Couldn’t be done. How’d you image to get all those singers in the same place at the same time? Nope. Won’t happen. Justforgetaboutit. And besides, he’s not that big on touring/playing live anyway. He’d rather be working in his home studio like the hermit he is. So, no, it cannot be done.

And yet, despite all that having been said for a million times over and over again and again, it did happened. It really, really happened. Sixteen vocalists, an awesome band, just three shows (okay, and a tryout and public dress rehearsal), two years in the making, but: it could be done, and it happened. Ayreon Universe was the first time one could see Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon project perform live. And the Missus and I, we were there.

Was it awesome? Of course it was. Epicly awesome. Going in I didn’t really have a clue what to expect, apart the if you have that singer, they are surely gonna play that song, and as it turned out, the set list was great. Most of my favorite Ayreon tracks were played, and there was only one song that fell a bit flat for me, and that was “Collision”, which seemed to be the ‘watch us play really fast’ song, which was played very fast and was a bit of a tuneless drone.

If I had to pick a favorite moment, it would either be “Dawn of a Million Souls” sung by John JayCee Kuypers, or the mighty Damian Wilson completely stealing the show during “And the Druids Turned to Stone”:

In a few months there will be an official recording of this show available, for those who missed this epic show.

Seen live
Arjen Lucassen presents Ayreon Universe, September 16, 2017 at 013, Tilburg
Vocalists (in order of appearance)
Mike Mills (Toehider), Edward Reekers (Kayak), Robert Soeterboek (Star One), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia), Anneke van Giersbergen, John Jaycee Cuijpers (Praying Mantis), Maggy Luyten (Nightmare), Damian Wilson (ex-Threshold, Headspace), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot), Jay van Feggelen (Ayreon), Irene Jansen (Ayreon), Lisette van den Berg (Scarlet Stories)
Marcel Coenen (lead guitar), Ferry Duijsens (guitar), Johan van Stratum (Bass), Joost van den Broek (keyboards), Ed Warby (drums), Ben Mathot (violin), Jeroen Goossens (flutes, woodwinds), Maaike Peterse (cello), Rob Snijders (percussion on Comatose, drums on And the Druids Turned to Stone), Peter Vink (bass on Intergalactic Space Crusaders) and Arjen Lucassen (guitar on The Castle Hall and Amazing Flight)
Setlist (Spotify)
Prologue (Mike Mills)
Dreamtime (Edward Reekers)
Abbey of Synn (Robert Soeterboek)
River of Time (Hansi Kürsch, Marco Hietala)
Prologue: The Blackboard (Mike Mills)
The Theory of Everything, Part 1 & 2 (Mike Mills, Marcela Bovio)
Merlin’s Will (Floor Jansen, BVs)
Waking Dreams (Jonas Renkse, Anneke van Giersbergen)
Dawn of a Million Souls (John JayCee Cuijpers)
Valley of the Queens (Anneke van Giersbergen, Marcela Bovio, Floor Jansen)
Ride the Comet (Jonas Renske, Maggy Luyten, BVs)
Star of Sirrah (Mike Mills, Maggy Luyten, Hansi Kürsch, Floor Jansen)
Comatose (Jonas Renkse, Anneke van Giersbergen)
Day Sixteen: Loser (Mike Mills, BVs, Maggy Luyten)
And the Druids Turn to Stone (Damian Wilson)
The Two Gates incl. Band Introduction (John JayCee Cuijpers, Irene Jansen, Damian Wilson)
Into the Black Hole (Tommy Karevik)
Actual Fantasy (Edward Reekers)
Computer Eyes (Edward Reekers, Robert Soeterboek)
Magnetism (Tommy Karevik, Anneke van Giersbergen, Marco Hietala)
Age of Shadows (Marco Hietala, Hansi Kürsch, Floor Jansen)
Intergalactic Space Crusaders (Damian Wilson, Maggy Luyten)
Collision (Tommy Karevik, Marco Hietala)
Everybody Dies (Mike Mills, Hansi Kürsch, Tommy Karevik, Maggy Luyten, Floor Jansen, BVs)
The Castle Hall (Robert Soeterboek, Damian Wilson)

Arjen’s Speech
Amazing Flight (Jay van Feggelen, Arjen Lucassen)
Day Eleven: Love (Edward Reekers, Marcela Bovio, Ed Warby, Robert Soeterboek, BVs)

The Eye of Ra (Damian Wilson, John JayCee Cuijpers, Floor Jansen, Irene Jansen, ALL)