Avatar Ages: Dreams, or the Age of Dreams, is the first of 4 live stream events happening over the course of January brought to us by the masterful Swedish, metal band, Avatar. Over the course of January we will be treated to 4 events based around the entirety of the charismatic band’s existence. The Age of Dreams covered their most recent, and excellent, release, Hunter Gatherer along with some additional fan favourites. On the 16th of January, the band will tackle a fan voted set list with hits from the Feathers and Flesh, and Avatar Country era in the Age of Illusions.
The 23rd of January will bring the Age of Madness which sees the band look further back with the Black Waltz and Hail the Apocalypse albums tackled. Finally, on the 30th of January we go back to the early days with the Age of Memories with another fan voted set list from the albums Thoughts of No Tomorrow, Schlact and Avatar. Obviously Age of Dreams is done now, and the purpose of this review, but tickets can still be purchased for the other events from the Avatar Ages site, here.
And, based on Age of Dreams. you are not going to want to miss out. See the one thing we all know is that Avatar always give 100%. Nothing is rushed, nothing is half arsed. They have an idea and they go all in, working as hard as they possibly can to make sure every single interaction the fan has with the band is important and memorable.
Let me try to explain in words how spectacular this event was. So we start as normal, stream is up and counting down. There is an active chat where the excitement from waiting fans is plain to see. As fans call off their locations we see all corners of the world represented and realise how global this event really is. From the UK to China, from Russia to all over the USA. Africa to every mainland European Country, Ireland to India.
This band are a big deal. As the countdown plays out, the band have another treat instore. A backing soundtrack of all of the songs from Hunter Gatherer playing in an almost unrecognisable ambient form. Something they didn’t need to do but it is all these little touches that make the difference with Avatar. 5 minutes left on the countdown and we get treat number 2. See when we purchased this ticket, we were encouraged to record a 2 second long video of yourself chanting AVATAR!. So starts a collage from all around the world of all of these fans saying, screaming and shouting AVATAR, AVATAR. It isn’t exactly like being there, hearing the crowd chanting but it’s as close as we can get and it is perfect. A truly connecting moment.
The show itself starts with a film as we watch frontman Johannes come to life in a CGI machine not unlike a 3D printer that forms him layer by layer. As the band take the stage, and Johannes comes running in, you realise that even the stage is a huge effort. In fact, over the course of this gig, it appears the stage is actually multiple stages all connected, allowing the band to finish a song, make their way round to the next stage and continue playing with a whole new set up. Is that enough effort? Of course not. They also manage to perform some of the fastest costume changes ever seen by mankind en route.
So we finish a song, run to the next stage and completely change on the way leaving no noticeable waiting time between tracks. Like I said, always 100% effort. Musically the band sound like absolute fire. They play like they are headlining to 50,000 people and not just a camera. Starting by playing Hunter Gatherer in full, we get Silence on the Age of Apes followed by Colossus followed by A Secret Door. In between they switch stages and outfits between each song and play A Secret Door in a room similar visually to that from the tracks official video. God of Sick Dreams, Child and Justice are next and you can’t help by blown away by the effort and quality of the music and vocals on show.
A modern era thing but also the quality and stability of the stream is top notch too. A real treat follows as Gun gets an airing. With just Johannes and a piano, it’s a beautiful song and is beautifully sung. It gives the band a little break too before we end the album with the two heavy tracks of When All But Force Has Failed and Wormhole. That closes the whole album, but there is much more still to come as we hit “greatest hits” territory.
More backdrop changes, more stage switches and more outfit changes come as we hit some absolute bangers in a row. Starting with The Eagle Has Landed and then into the insanely heavy For the Swarm, the energy is up, I’m up and feel 100% involved. A short film of The King wandering around feeding goats and the like comes next as Glory to Our King plays out and we head into another new stage set up and outfit change for Avatar Country and A Statue of the King.
The heaviness returns with Let it Burn before a crowd favourite, Bloody Angel gets aired. Smells Like a Freakshow is the penultimate track before we close on the awesome, Hail the Apocalypse.
It goes without saying that musically, it was phenomenal but the most mind blowing, pleasing thing to take from Age of Dreams was the way the band performed. Avatar are a theatrical band and they bring it still even when playing to cameras. From the robotic drumming to Johannes rolling around on the floor screaming. The synchronised headbanging and fun the band have on stage was all there. The interactions with the crowd/cameras were nice, touching and heartfelt.
Overall, it was a brilliant experience from a band who really do set the bar for effort and creativity. I watched with my family. We cried at some moments, laughed at many and felt as close to being at an Avatar show as was possible in these trying times and I logged off that night feeling immensely grateful for the band and proud that I am part of this Avatar family.
Avatar Ages: The Age of Dreams (09/01/2021)
The Final Score - 9.5/10