Earlier this month AYREON mastermind Arjen Lucassen brought “Ayreon Universe” on stage at Poppodium 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands, choosing the best songs from the AYREON albums and Star One to create these three exclusive live shows ( 15th, 16th and 17th September).
The 15th September show was performed by the very best original Ayreon vocalists and instrumentalists including Floor Jansen and Marco Hietala from Nightwish, Praying Mantis’ John ‘Jaycee’ Cuijpers (who replaced Russell Allen), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia), Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gentle Storm), and many other original Ayreon singers on stage, as well as an appearance by Arjen Lucassen himself.
Arjen Lucassen has the following recap:
“I don’t even know how to begin to thank you for the warm welcome you gave us at the first official Ayreon shows in 22 years. As I said on stage, it truly was an emotional rollercoaster for me. It was a huge transition from my simple, nerdy, reclusive life to this huge warm shower of love that you poured over us.
I have to admit it’s sort of a double feeling for me. Firstly I’m having difficulties dealing with all the attention, simply because I don’t think I deserve it. But at the same time it’s an amazingly satisfying feeling to be able to make so many thousands of people so happy.
Right now I’m totally exhausted. Would you believe I lost over 4 kilos in these last sleepless weeks? But I have to admit I’m quite proud of myself for having conquered (at least for a few days) my two biggest fears: playing live and talking in public. But I swear… it’s all totally been worth it.
Sorry for this dramatic sappy message, but it comes from the heart. So… no silly jokes this time, no exclamation marks or smileys… just a lot of love to all of you. And special hugs to those who couldn’t be there, I’m so sorry for not playing live more often. We’ll make it up to you with a great DVD/Bluray.
As melodramatic as it sounds, having been face to face with you again I REALLY think you’re the best audience in the world. Please give me some time to answer your hundreds of sweet messages… I’ll get to them all, I promise! Look, there’s an exclamation mark after all 🙂 And a smiley!”
The setlist was as follows:
“Abbey of Synn”
“River of Time”
“Prologue: The Blackboard”
“The Theory of Everything, Part 1”
“Dawn of a Million Souls”
“Valley of the Queens”
“Ride the Comet”
“Star of Sirrah”
“Day Sixteen: Loser”
“And the Druids Turn to Stone”
“The Two Gates”
“Into the Black Hole”
“Age of Shadows”
“Intergalactic Space Crusaders (Star One cover)
“The Castle Hall”
– Arjen’s Speech –
“Day Eleven: Love”
“The Eye of Ra” (Star One cover)
Ayreon Universe was fully organized and arranged by Arjen Lucassen personally, assisted by Joost van den Broek.
Prior to the release of “The Source” (out April 28th via Mascot Label group/Music Theories Recordings), Metal Shock Finland‘s Tarja Virmakari had a huge honor to interview Arjen, talking about his new masterpiece “The Source”, in detail, as well as Ayreon Universe show. Join the chat below. Enjoy!
Watch Fan-filmed video footage, here: