Saturday, 15 February 2014

Dream Theater Live at Wembley

My second time seeing the kings of prog metal at Wembley Arena and this time they were much better than the first time as I recall. Last night's show was billed as An Evening With Dream Theater and there was no support so it was a chance for them to flex their muscles and deliver a long and varied set list to please all the progheads out there.

First thing to note is that last night's show was an all seated affair in contrast to their last appearance here. I just don't think any metal show should have seats only. It just doesn't make much sense to me at all, even though I only had a ticket for the seats on one side on not on the floor. If I had been on the floor I would have had a pretty bad view of the stage no doubt. The back parts of the Arena were cordoned off for this gig so it wouldn't have been a full sell out anyway but I would guess the crowd at around 6000-7000 or so. The sides were not packed though and after the intermission I moved position to a less full part of the seating area a bit closer to the side of the stage. The stage had two massive speakers obscuring my view somewhat but I had to make do.

After the initial opening song the sound was completely amazing in the Arena last night. The best I have ever heard in the venue no doubt. All instruments were crisp and super clear and of course the musicianship was stellar all night. The band is on shit hot form and not having Portnoy in the band makes zero difference to the band IMO, although I am in no way a DT freak. I just marvel at their fantastic music skills and their sense of showmanship and the adulation they receive from their legions of fans. Another interesting point regarding the type of people that go to DT shows. This was definitely not a typical metal crowd. Not everyone was wearing black shirts. People of all ages are into DT it seems and all walks of life and I would guess a lot of DT fans are not really into actual other metal bands as such or at least they don't look it. They attract a lot of prog music fans in general so their actual live heaviness maybe a surprise to those people hehe!

The set list last night was dominated by recent albums as well as Awake and Scenes From A Memory. Unfortunately not a single song was played from Images & Words which is a shame considering they had so long on the stage overall. I must admit I was slightly expecting to feel the pace towards the end of the marathon set but it wasn't the case at all. The band had my attention all the way with their brilliant playing and Labrie's decent live vocals. Note I won't say great 'cause I'm not a huge fan of his voice but he was more than adequate live and despite being surrounded by virtuoso music, more than held his own on the mic. Of course when Petrucci held court centre stage, he had the crowd eating out of his hand with his mesmeric lead work. Those long instrumental passages were also fantastically well received indeed with young and old air guitaing and air keyboaring to their heart's content.

The best song of the night was the 20 minute Illumination Theory that ended Act II followed by an an awesome long encore to follow. That was a bloody awesome end to the main set! The band left with the crowd's adulation ringing loud in their ears as they had put on a stellar 2 hour 40 minute performance. I'll never be a huge fan but DT has my respect for sure as a superb live act with every essence of prog metal heightened to the max.

Act I
False Awakening Suite
The Enemy Inside
The Shattered Fortress
On the Backs of Angels
The Looking Glass
Trial of Tears
Enigma Machine
(With drum solo by Mike Mangini)
Along for the Ride
Breaking All Illusions

Act II
The Mirror
Lifting Shadows Off a Dream
Space-Dye Vest
Illumination Theory

Overture 1928
Strange Déjà Vu
The Dance of Eternity
Finally Free
Illumination Theory


Anonymous said...


I just wanted to say that I was there too and the sound was truly awful. There was a while during the first set where they sorted it out but otherwise it was dreadful. I've seen Dream Theater on each tour since 1996 and this was the only time I've been disappointed. The band were on top form but it was all undone by one guy at the back controlling the sound. If you were impressed last night then I really hope you get to see them when they tour with a competent sound man again. You'll be blown away.


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