Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dream Theater Concert Review

This is my review of the Dream Theater concert Friday night at the Universal Studios Gibson Amphitheatre.

Into Eternity:

Overall, this was a very disappointing set. The audio was so poor that it was often hard to hear the guitars and vocals, enough that at parts it was very difficult to hear the melody/chord progression. Further, the bass wasn't even in the mix. This didn't help their performance, which was the typical thrash/metal deal, which isn't really my taste and a bit boring "hey look, another cram as many notes as possible solo".


This is a band I want to hear more of… some interesting stuff, but some also some more typical metal stuff. They use a lot of odd tempo changes, and are very rhythmically interesting. What I don't get is why bands will have a riff that has very little to do w/ the vocals its behind. It just doesn't work. The audio and lighting was also mediocre for this group… at this point in the show, I was wanting my money back.

Dream Theater:

Wow… just wow. Best dream theater show ever. When the curtain dropped, the band rocked my world. They played over 2 hours, which was surprising because both opening bands played for just under an hour. They played a lot of new stuff, but also covered a lot of older songs. There were a couple I'd never heard live before, like misunderstood, surrounded, and caught in a web. All of the extended solos were very interesting, the stage presence was good, and the band was very tight (though got a bit loose at a few parts). Highlights included Rudess breaking out a keytar and playing a duet w/ Petrucci the way we always wanted him to. Another highlight was the new Dream Theater medley. They have 9 albums now… so its hard to cover a lot of that material in one show. The new medley incorporated parts from the previous 8 albums, including Finally Free and In the Name of God. The Spirit Carries on was a special moment for sure.

While the lighting for the first 2 sets was mediocre (12 intelligent lights), when the curtain dropped fro DT, I was blown away to see over 40 intelligent lights on the ceiling. Consequently, the lighting was very amazing.

Petrucci's tone was also outstanding. He preferred his new wooden design guitar.

Rudess' setup seems to grow each tour. He has a new keyboard stand which is a molded hand point upwards at its base, with the main keyboard resting on its fingers. He also has a second controller and a tone generator attached to the main keyboard, making it quite a monster.

Labrie was also on for most of the night. Sometimes he's hit or miss, but he nailed it.

Walking away from the show, I realize even more so how amazing this band is. Some of the new songs that I'm not as fond of were awesome live. The opening bands really contrasted starkly w/ Dream Theater. Dream Theater has a metal element to them, but it is entirely inaccurate to call them metal. Hearing them side by side w/ metal bands makes this painfully clear. The production of their songs is outstanding, and despite their virtuoso chops, they remain melodic and creative. It is amazing that after 9 albums, they've still got it. That, and each album has such a distinctive tone to it, each so unique and creative. This band truly is the best band ever.

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