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Ayreon - Electric Castle Live and Other Tales CD (album) cover



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3 stars Arjen Lucassen only does things on a grand scale, so you can imagine when he does a live extravaganza, it's going to pull out every stop he can reach. In this case, he enrolled a pretty well-known actor to narrate interlinking material, John De Lancie, famous as "Q" from Star Trek: That Next Generation. Well, I love that show and that actor (got to meet him once), so that's a big plus to soften me up to be receptive to this over-the-top prog-metal block party. Singers like Fish from Marillion and Anneke van Giesbergen from The Gathering get big parts in the performance of the complete concept piece "Into the Electric Castle," and then the show ends with a suite of Ayreon "hits." Focus' Thijs van Leer gets a flute spotlight in a few places as well. As always, it's fun, silly stuff, performances are tight, arrangements are thick and rich and everybody seems to be having a great time. Lucassen even gets Fish to sing "Kayleigh" at the end, although tuned about 3 1/2 octaves down. It doesn't fit my definition of greatness, but you're probably not breathing if you don't crack a smile at the high spirits or just the likable b-movie hokeyness of it all.
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Posted Sunday, July 5, 2020 | Review Permalink

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