On March 27, Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group release ‘Ayreon – Electric Castle Live And Other Tales’, a 3 LP/2CD+DVD/BD set of last year’s spectacular live performance of the third Ayreon album ‘Into The Electric Castle’. Over four nights at Tilburg’s 013 venue (the scene of Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon Universe series of live shows in 2017) Lucassen, his band and one of modern progressive music’s most emphatic of casts celebrated the 20th anniversary of ‘Into the Electric Castle’ in front of 12,000 adoring fans from 64 different countries who had flown in from around the world.
They have now released the new live video of ‘Amazing Flight’ from the show. Talking about it Arjen Lucassen says; “Here is the final preview from the Electric Castle Live release for you… are you ready for this Amazing Flight in Space? Just watch this cool Hippie dude (me!) wipe the floor with that uncool Barbarian 🙂 And what a band! Oh… some friendly advice for your parents out there… please tell your kids not to follow the bad example of this crazy Hippie and his naughty water-pipe!”
Released in 1998, ‘Into The Electric Castle’ is your classic tale of an epic quest. Set in “no time and no space”, it tells the story of eight individuals who are guided by a mysterious voice and tasked with finding the mysterious Electric Castle. The original album features amongst others Fish (the Highlander), Lucassen (the Hippie), Edwin Balogh (The Roman), Anneke van Giersbergen (the Egyptian), Damian Wilson (the Knight) and Edward Reekers (the Futureman), all of whom repeated their performances for the live spectacular.
Also among the 22 musicians and singers who made up the impressive cast list were long-time Lucassen collaborators Thijs Van Leer (Focus), Simone Simons (Epica), John Jaycee Cuijpers (Praying Mantis), Marcela Bovio and musicians Joost van den Broek, Johan van Stratum, Marcel Singor, Ferry Duijsens, Bob Wijtsma and Ben Mathot.
“I poured my heart and soul into it”, says Lucassen of the original album. “Investing everything I had both financially and creatively, and enlisted the best instrumentalists and singers I could find in the world at that time. When making the album I was unconstrained by any musical or stylistic boundaries and incorporated many of my favourite musical styles. ‘Into The Electric Castle’ received an overwhelmingly positive reception from both the press and the fans. This firmly established the Ayreon name, making Ayreon the perfect project to pour all of my time and creative energy into.”
Creating a live show for ‘Into The Electric Castle’ seemed like the logical next step, and the four 2019 shows were a resounding success, captured for posterity in ‘Ayreon – Electric Castle Live and Other Stories’. In fact, it all went so well, that Lucassen is taking the show to headline the prestigious German progressive rock festival Night Of The Prog in June of this year.
“I just love recording my various projects in the studio,” he concurs, “but I’m not a live performer. I’m the guy who comes up with the ideas, sees the big picture, and puts it all together. So I’m glad that so many incredible musicians helped me bring my music to the stage.”