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Biebob, Vosselaer, Belgium
21 January 2007
Stream of Passion featuring Ayreon

Less than one year after their first tour, Stream of Passion were coming back to Biebob, for the third gig of a short tour of seven concerts in Northern Europe. The multinational Stream of Passion with increasing international recognition is a gothic metal band formed in 2005 by the Dutch multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Arjen Anthony Lucassen following a rock opera project named Ayreon comprising seven albums produced between 1995 and 2004. With Ayreon, Arjen Lucassen, after having played as guitarist for various bands since 1980, wanted to make music the way he has always wanted or dreamed about, without any constraint. The result is a collection of experimental music with various styles mixing various prog, pop and rock influences in a very subtle way.

It is not a surprise that Ayreon is a reference for the fans of neo-prog. In Ayreon, Arjen has also invited a long list of vocalists, amongst whom the Mexican Marcela Bovio, the winner of a vocalist contest through Arjen’s website and who has a Mexican prog band on her own (Elfonia). After the latest album of Ayreon, The Human Equation, released in 2004, Arjen wanted to do two things: create his own band and showcase the talents of Marcela. With one stone he hit the two birds by forming Stream of Passion, a project where the music is written around the voice of Marcela and vice versa… To form the group, Lucassen further tapped for talent through the Internet. Via the Ayreon Yahoo group site, he discovered the very skilled American guitarist Lori Linstruth, residing in Sweden. The Dutch drummer, Davy Mickers was also discovered through a musician contest. The other band members are the Mexican pianist Alejandro Millán and the Dutch bass player Johan van Stratum from the Rock Academy in Tilburg. For the tour, Diana Bovio, the sister of Marcela, is joining the band as backing vocalist. /

It is well known that Arjen likes to use the power of the Internet to interact with the globe.  In various blogs we could read how each “Soper” felt excited about touring together again. They gathered in The Netherlands on January 15th for some rehearsals before literally “embracing the storm” that was blowing over Northern Europe on Thursday 18 January as they were flying to Copenhagen for their first gig. On the 15th the band had already placed a picture and comments in the tour diary blog of the SOP website so that everyone could witness their “excellent metal form”. Day by day, each member of the band is providing her or his personal impressions of the day before.

Immediately after the opening of the doors, the public was quickly filling rows in front of the stage and the room of Biebob was getting increasingly crowded. Because of the origin of Ayreon and SOP, interestingly in the audience there were two generations of fans: the neo-prog and the metal fans, maybe even some were parent -child relatives…

A flash light from behind the stage was the signal for the sound engineer to launch the intro and the storm to break loose in Biebob. All the members joined the stage one by one, receiving a warm welcome and applause from the public.

For this tour, Arjen had announced it on his personal MySpace blog that there were five surprises which would make this tour different from the 2006 tour. After the stormy intro, the drums rolled into “Spellbound” a melodic song and the first title of the SOP album “Embrace The Storm”, which is an excellent way to introduce the great voice of Marcela Bovio, which sounds even better live than recorded in studio. The second song was the first surprise of the evening: “Pride” from the latest Ayreon album “The Human Equation”. This is a more rocking song which gives also the opportunity to introduce Diana, who is also a great singer. The rest of the concert was at the image of these first two songs: a good mix of melodic and more rocking or metal songs, altering 8 SOP songs with 9 Ayreon songs. One of the five surprises was “High Moon”, a song from Star One, the more metal project of Arjen Lucassen, where, in the original version, the choruses are interpreted by Floor Jansen! There was also “To the Quazar”, another song from Ayreon, and a nice interpretation of “Are Friends Electric”. Finally, the fifth surprise was an extraordinary interpretation of “Open Your Eyes”, which, with “Wherever you Are”, are best revealing the skills of Marcela and the passion streaming from her singing.

Thanks to the rich variety of styles in Lucassen’s repertory, the different members of the band were alternatively put in evidence. Some vocals were also interpreted by Arjen himself and the pianist Alejandro. Next to her talent of vocalist, Marcela also charmed the public by playing electronic violin. One thing was obvious: the “Sopers” all seemed very happy to be there and to  play together. The interaction and eye contact with the audience was warm and the public was responding with their hands in the air or warm applauses. After the performance, the band joined the public for a meet and greet session for the greatest pleasure of the fans. It was definitely a great performance of Stream of Passion, a very sympathetic band of talented musicians.

As a conclusion, I would like to refer to an article I read in the excellent Belgian magazine Prog-resiste, which raised the question “Is metal the future of progressive rock?” When we look at the work of Arjen, starting with Ayreon and “progressing” into a “Stream of Passion”, we may have some elements of an answer to this question…

01. Spellbound (SoP)
02. Pride (Ayreon – The Human Equation – 2004)
03. Passion (SoP)
04. Wherever you are (SoP)
05. Computer Eyes (Ayreon – Actual Fantasy – 1996)
06. Valley of the Queens (Ayreon – Into the Electric Castle – 1998)
07. Haunted (SoP)
08. High Moon (Star One – Space Metal - 2002)
09. Deceiver / Songs of the Ocean (SoP)
10.  Vigil (Ayreon – The Human Equation – 2004)
11.  Pain (Ayreon – The Human Equation – 2004)
12.  Quazar (Ayreon – Universal Migrator – 2000)
13.  Open your eyes (SoP)
14.  Out in the real world (SoP)
15.  Castle Hall (Ayreon – Into the Electric Castle – 1998)
16.  Black Holio (Ayreon – Ayreonauts Only – 2000)
17.  Love (Ayreon – The Human Equation – 2004)
18. Are Friends Electric (Gary Numan – 1979)
19. Calliopea (SoP)

Music 10
Performance 9
Sound 8
Light 9
Total 9

Photography: Stéphane Odent (


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