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Ayreon Ayreon Universe : Best of Ayreon Live album cover
4.33 | 46 ratings | 4 reviews | 70% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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DVD/Video, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1
1. Prologue
2. Dreamtime
3. Abbey Of Synn
4. River Of Time
5. The Blackboard
6. The Theory Of Everything
7. Merlin's Will
8. Waking Dreams
9. Dawn Of A Million Souls
10. Valley Of The Queens
11. Ride The Comet
12. Star Of Sirrah
13. Comatose
14. Loser
15. And The Druids Turned To Stone
Disc 2:
1. The Two Gates
2. Into The Black Hole
3. Actual Fantasy
4. Computer Eyes
5. Magnetism
6. Age Of Shadows
7. Intergalactic Space Crusaders
8. Collision
9. Everybody Dies
10. The Castle Hall
11. Amazing Flight in Space
12. Day Eleven: Love
13. The Eye Of Ra

Extras: Behind the scenes, incl. interviews with the singers and musicians; Compilation of the try-out show

Total Time 246 minutes

Line-up / Musicians

Vocalists :
Floor Jansen
Damian Wilson
Hansi Kürsch
Tommy Karevik
Anneke van Giersbergen
Marco Hietala
Jonas Renkse
Mike Mills
Marcela Bovio
Irene Jansen
Robert Soeterboek
John Jaycee Cuijpers
Edward Reekers
Jay van Feggelen
Maggy Luyten
Lisette van den Berg

Ed Warby / Drums
Johan van Stratum / Bass
Marcel Coenen / Lead guitar
Ferry Duijsens / Guitar
Joost van den Broek / Keyboards
Ben Mathot / Violin
Jeroen Goossens / Flutes, woodwinds
Maaike Peterse / Cello
Arjen Lucassen / Guitarm Vocals

Releases information

Live recording in Tilburg, Netherlands September 17. Availaible in CD/DVD/LP and Blu-Ray. Released March 30, 2018.

Thanks to rdtprog for the addition
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Buy AYREON Ayreon Universe : Best of Ayreon Live Music

AYREON Ayreon Universe : Best of Ayreon Live ratings distribution

(46 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(70%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (2%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

AYREON Ayreon Universe : Best of Ayreon Live reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
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.
Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Universe' - Ayreon (78/100)

As I first opened up Ayreon's Universe, slipped in the disc and pressed play, I came to the halting realization: I've been a fan of this band now for over ten years. Ten years. That may not be such a long time in the grand scheme, but looking at the way my taste in music has warped and changed in the time since, it's really something to behold that Ayreon's music still holds up as the progressive metal par excellence I remembered it as. I know it's actually been quite a bit longer than ten years too, but it's 2008 that stands out as my personal "year of Ayreon." I can still distinctly remember counting down the weeks until 01011001 was released, with the sort of naive enthusiasm that's only possible when you're fifteen years old and still new to the deeper end of the music pool. I remember reading announcements of the CD release party happening half a planet away in Tilburg (if memory serves) and trying to concoct some wild scheme to raise money enough to make it there in person. Music has remained a central motivating force in my life, but I do miss the days when I'd get hooked on a band like that.

In that sense, Universe feels very much like a sort of homecoming for me as a listener-- and that's not even touching on the significance it must have for everyone involved, not least of all Arjen himself. Universe feels both like a retrospective of Ayreon's career and one of its most triumphant moments all at once. Seeing music live tends to have that effect, but the demanding scope of the material has had the effect of keeping live appearances rare. Between scope and rarity; there's two reasons why Universe (but more importantly the event it captured) feels larger-than-life.

I won't delay with the obvious. Yes, Ayreon's Universe sounds fantastic. The performances are incredible across the board. Most important of all, the rock opera bombast on display really owes itself to a live setting. "Larger than life" in the studio sounds larger still on a theatre stage. There wasn't a lot invested in playing out the story action. Nonetheless you can tell the ensemble's confident enough to have some fun with it; Mike Mills' loopy role as MC comes to mind as a case of good humour in an undertaking that could very well have taken itself too seriously. Who could blame them if they had? Over a hundred people were reportedly involved in the production. There wasn't a ton of precedent to lean on outside the pilot Theater Equation from a couple years back. I've always been boggled by the amount of planning, networking and logistics that must be involved in recording an Ayreon album; that challenge rockets up an exponential curve in a case like this where it's all coming together in a single place and time.

I'm not sure how much distinction there should be made between Ayreon Universe, and the shows. As for the shows themselves, they turned out incredibly, and as much as I enjoy Universe I burn with envy for all those who got to see it in the flesh. I stand by the thinking that the Universe shows will go down as a bold- fonted chapter in the band history. The DVD release itself is competent in all the ways that matter, but lacks the jaw-dropping effect in of itself as a frame for the magic it captured. The visual direction and film editing feels bog- standard for a concert DVD, and the documentarian second disc disappointingly boils down to the sort of mutually congratulatory talking heads segments you get in every special features disc-- not the piercing Ayreon documentary I might have hoped for. The sound design and mixing are immaculate, but that was never in doubt to begin with.

I think Ayreon made the right choice in casting a wide net across all albums. Most of their songs work great as standalones anyway. The fact remains that they had a lot of excellent material to select from; I could repeat saying this because it's as much a burden as a boon to Universe. There were always going to be subjective essentials left off. But for whatever tunes with high stage potential left omitted, like "Journey on the Waves of Time" and "Carried By the Wind", there are bangers like "River of Time" to set things straight. My love of 01011001 was reaffirmed watching Hansi Kursch come on stage. Better still, the live setting breathed a new appreciation for the material on Actual Fantasy and The Theory of Everything; the two Ayreon records I had never been more than "meh" about. I've since returned to them and found new angles I hadn't quite heard before. Funny how live albums can do that.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ayreon return to the stage in a blaze of glory with The Ayreon Universe. This is selections of Ayreon gold gleaned from Arjens back catalogue and supplemented with a plethora of vocal artists, some of which appear on the original tracks. The dvd that accompanies the CD is the best way to get maximum enjoyment from this but it can be experienced nicely without the visuals. The production on this is exemplary, each musician can be heard and the vocals are not overpowering. I love how the crowd roar when certain artists take to the stage such as the incredible Floor Jansen and Damian Wilson. Its a cool thing to hear the crowd explode when Arjen appears too. He is the visionary behind the whole concept so well deserved. I am no newcomer to Ayreon, having devoured every album, sometimes on countless listens, so I had heard some of these tracks many times, however its been a while since i heard anything prior to Human Equation so it was a joy to revisit tracks from Electric Castle and Actual Fantasy. I adored the live renditions from Human Equation, 011001001 and The Theory of Everything. It is also wonderful to see the vocalists injecting so much passion and energy into their roles with flawless performances. I missed Devin on Loser but its handled sufficiently. The trio of women singing angelic harmonies on Valley of the Queens is spellbinding. Everybody Dies is a powerhouse performance. Amazing Flight in Space features Arjen on vox, Dawn of a Million Souls is unforgettable, and And the Drids turned to stone is beautifully sung. The Eye of Ra finale is excellent featuring a massive harmony of voices.

Their are 2 discs of incredible masterpiece tracks from the universe we know as Ayreon so really no surprises that it is being rated highly. I prefer the studio albums but this is still an awesome concert experience. For those who could not be there, this is the next best thing. I hope Ayreon release more material soon as the albums are simply outstanding prog masterclass products.

Latest members reviews

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1914609) | Posted by Revelation_Space | Sunday, April 15, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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