Monday, 24 April 2017

Dream Theater Live at the Hammersmith Apollo

Ok I'm done with Dream Theater now. Next time they come around I won't be going. The reason being that I just saw the definitive DT show. It can't get any better than this as far as DT is concerned. I am by no means a huge DT fan in the first place and I nearly didn't go to this at all what with the ginormous ticket price but curiosity for the I&W tour got the better of me and luckily for me I nabbed a ticket for a reasonable amount. I settled in for a night of triumphant progressive metal from the undisputed heavyweight champions of the genre.

The band started an initial hour long set of fan faves from albums other than I&W as a sort of warm up for the main set if you will. The sound was absolutely immense. Crystal clear in all departments. Labrie's vocals were spot on but a little shrill or whiny shall we say but he never had a single real problem as many envisaged he might have considering the length of the set. His somewhat airy fairy voice still sounds a bit odd coming from such an imposing figure! I'll never be his biggest fan but who listens to DT for vocals anyway. Everyone's here to witness one of the most revered prog metal albums ever recorded.

The first set passed by fairly quickly with notable moments being the two Astonishing tracks and the heavy As I Am which had an Enter Sandman snippet in the middle which was pretty cool. After an hour they took a 20 minute intermission before returning for the main event with the fans reaching boiling point in anticipation of hearing these 25 year old songs once again. The familiar strains of Pull Me Under has the crowd in full voice come the chorus with its most recognisable refrain. After that, I don't really recall the whole album much at all to be honest since I haven't heard it in maybe 20 years. I'm here for the vibes, the feelings of class prog metal wizardry and the amazingly slick musicianship and I got all three in spades!

The technical aspects of their playing is simply top notch. After all these years they've probably never sounded tighter or better. Some of the passages that I used to love in I&W come flooding back to me as I hear them played live and it's like a nostalgia trip into early prog metal history for me. Metropolis pt 1 was awesome especially the amazing instrumental parts although they did incorporate a superfluous Mangini drum solo in the middle which we could've done without, but I guess it gave the others a breather if not us.

Petrucci was the typical mad prog metal axeman all night. He has the prog guitar aficionados eating out of his hand all night with those mesmeric riff and solo passages. Keysman Rudess was obviously no slouch either and ran him close in the wizardry stakes. People around me and below sang all the words back at Labrie pretty much all night. The last notes of Learning to Live were treated as if they were the last time that song will ever be played and cheered like the second coming! DT fans are really very passionate that's for sure. though they never instilled that passion in me to be fair, but you couldn't help but admire the band's capabilities in bringing their fans exactly what they want.

The band said their thank yous and goodbyes but of course that wasn't it. There was the little matter of the A Change of Seasons encore which added another 25 minutes to the set time. I actually bought that EP man many moons ago on cassette as I recall. Then later on I bought I&W on cd afterwards funnily enough. The fans got their money's worth for sure with 2 hours 40 min of DT prog metal perfection.

Like I said at the beginning though, I'll be done with DT now. Seen them 3 times and I think that's enough don't you? :-)

Act 1:
The Dark Eternal Night
The Bigger Picture
Hell's Kitchen
The Gift of Music
Our New World
Portrait of Tracy
(Jaco Pastorius cover) (played by John Myung)
As I Am
(bridged with a part of Metallica's Enter Sandman)
Breaking All Illusions

Act 2 (Images and Words):
Happy New Year 1992
Pull Me Under
Another Day
(extended outro with Jordan Rudess' solo)
Take the Time
(extended outro with John Petrucci's guitar solo from the song Glasgow Kiss)
Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper
(with a drum solo by Mike Mangini)
Under a Glass Moon
Wait for Sleep
(with extended keyboard intro)
Learning to Live

A Change of Seasons: I The Crimson Sunrise
A Change of Seasons: II Innocence
A Change of Seasons: III Carpe Diem
A Change of Seasons: IV The Darkest of Winters
A Change of Seasons: V Another World
A Change of Seasons: VI The Inevitable Summer
A Change of Seasons: VII The Crimson Sunset

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