Tagged: Dream Theater

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2014: My Year In Scrobbles

Total Scrobbles In 2014 4341 scrobbles First Track Of 2014 Nightwish – Taikatalvi (Good way to start out the year, with Imaginaerum!) Last Track Of 2014 Ayreon – Day Twenty: Confrontation Top Artists Of 2014 1) Nightwish – 385 scrobbles 2) Dream Theater – 288 scrobbles 3) Sonata Arctica – 265 scrobbles 4) Ayreon – 241scrobbles 5) Within Tempation – 156 scrobbles Sonata and Ayreon switched back, and Within Temptation makes a return to my top 5. This means it’s just the same as 2012! Top Albums Of 2014 1) Ayreon – The Theory of Everything – 124 scrobbles 2)...

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Dream Theater – San Francisco – April 17th, 2014

Artist: Dream Theater Date: April 17th, 2014 Location: San Francisco Venue: The Warfield Tour: Along For The Ride Tour I was very exciting going into this concert, it had been 8 years since the last “An Evening With Dream Theater” concert and this was my first one! As with all Dream Theater concerts, it’s always a pleasure chatting with other people about bands and music; prog fans -love- talking music. The stage production on this tour was downright impressive. There were tons of well synchronized lights doing all sorts of interesting things, a humongous screen that displayed accompanying visualizations and...

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2012: My Charts In Review

First Track Of 2012Rush – 2112Last Track Of 2012Ayreon – Day Twenty: ConfrontationTop Artists Of 20121) Nightwish – 544 scrobbles2) Dream Theater – 321 scrobbles3) Sonata Arctica – 318 scrobbles4) Ayreon – 275 scrobbles5) Within Temptation – 257 scrobb…

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Dream Theater – San Francisco – July 1st, 2012

Artist: Dream Theater
Supporting: the crimson projeckt
Date: July 1st, 2012
Location: San Francisco
Venue: The Warfield
Tour: A Dramatic Tour Of Events

Remarks:
It wasn’t until this concert that I realized I’ve seen Dream Theater every year for the past 5 years. Not only that, but according to my setlist.fm account, out of 47 (ish) songs, I’ve only heard 5 of them twice; now that’s some setlist diversity! It was great going into this concert knowing I’d be hearing different songs as well as those crazier, complicated songs that had yet to be played from A Dramatic Turn of Events.

As I found my place in front of the stage, I immediately noticed that there were not one, but two drumsets ready to go. Also, placed dead center of the stage: a chapman stick. This is how you know you’re attending a prog concert. The Crimson Projeckt was thoroughly entertaining. These guys (and girl) know their way around their instruments in ways most people can only dream of, so they could pretty much bend the music to their will. It’s easy to see how having two drummers, two guitarists, a bassist, and either another bassist or Chapman stickist (is that what you call them?) can easily be overkill, but it definitely was not. The way they layered themselves allowed them to create this, well, layered sound that is rarely replicated in live shows. Drummers trading beats in the middle of a song, two entirely different bass grooves simultaneously, guitarist soloing while the other guitarists taps on his 7 string, they’ve got it all! Amidst the other talented musicians was none other than prog superstar Tony Levin, who was well received by the crowd, and rightly so!

Preceded by the assembling of the Dream Team (with a ninja, wizard, barbarian, priate, and genie on your team, how can you go wrong?) to the backdrop of some Inception music, Dream Theater stormed the stage, and you could immediately tell they definitely had kicked things up a notch from last year. Their lighting rig was more spectacular, the weird 3D cubes displayed better visualizations and was better at showing appropriate members on screen outside of solos, and most importantly, the guys all seemed to be much more relaxed. The jitters of a new album, a new tour, and introducing the new drummer were all behind them and they all flowed much better on stage. That’s saying a lot because back in September, I had noted that they already felt like they were on top of their game, very energetic, and showed signs of being glad to be back on stage!

Not only did they step things up aesthetically, but musically as well. They rotated in some of their more progy, complex songs while bringing back some old classics, which made for another diverse and memorable setlist. During the songs, I noticed a lot more interactions between the guys, which is always endearing. James hopping up on the drum riser to check on Mike, Jordan storming center stage with his keytar, or the two Johns rocking out together in epic rock poses. And Mike Mangini with his silly animated movements and big wide smile! I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone who has as much fun as that guy does on stage.

Dream Theater‘s Setlist:

Bridges in the Sky (Once again they started with this track. That low guttural moan is enough to send chills down your spine while the blue stage lights blind you, slightly hiding the moving shadows on the stage during that soft choir part. But once the lights lift and the delve right into that first exciting riff, the energy picks right up, on stage and off!)
6:00 (The lights went dark at the end of the previous song… only to blast a ton of flashing lights in the direction of Mike Mangini as he went crazy on a 30 second mini-drum solo. I’ll never get over how amusing his drumset is with a ton of stuff above him, and how he makes it work so well! From there, he effortlessly slid into the drum into for 6:00. Afterwards, James greets us and butters everyone up by complementing the city, but seemed a bit bitter about missing Alcatraz, muttering it was “fucking sold out…” ha! He also bids all the Canadians among us a Happy Canada Day which was met with polite applause.)
The Dark Eternal Night (A rather amusing song that I can no longer take seriously after watching the Jordan Rudess VP-550 Systematic Chaos demo video. I felt the vocals were a bit lacking without Portnoy’s lower vocals under James during the verses, but Petrucci tried to make up for it by doing the shouts in between James’ lines! The instrumental section is crazy awesome, Mike making use of the toms above his head, and the piano break down in the middle of those grindy riffs is just killer, especially with the perfectly timed lights! The ending was “especially special” when the two Johns hop up to jam with Mangini which leaves the entire stage for Jordan and his keytar!)
This Is The Life (A mild tempo calm down to with some nice solos in between. I think Mike might have been a little bored with the simplicity of his part, because I noticed him playing ambidextrously as well as hitting stuff across the set that he probably didn’t need to hit.)
The Root of All Evil (Jordan starts the song with that low piano note before walking off the stage, using the slow build up to the song as a quick break. They were really blasting that intro through the speakers as the floor was rumbling before the first drum beats were played.)
Lost Not Forgotten (Very enjoyable song, with some crazy synchronized playing between all of them; especially before the last chorus. It was the only track I managed to record, due to my positioning and the security being anti-camera that night. I missed out on Jordan’s grand piano intro, but it was one of the few times that we got to see his cool MIDI Wizard on screen!)

A Fortune In Lies (They went real old school here. Although James wasn’t close to sounding mid-90s here, he still did the song justice.)
Surrounded (The lights dim and Jordan plays this amazing, beautiful piano intro for us. As a (former) piano player, it just blew me away! Afterwards, James comes out and gives us a little speech as Jordan continues playing in the background. He tells us that there there is a lot of incredible talent in the world, but Jordan is absolutely phenomenal, a fact that draws massive cheers from the crowd. James reveals that Jordan comes out every night and plays some amazing improv piece, and that “it’s sick and I’m pissed off at him!” which draws massive laughs from the crowd. James can turn any situation to a humorous on with a single quip! As for the song itself, it was perfectly played. Mike was really having fun behind the kit and James dominated every part of the stage. The crowd was very much into this song, with tons of people singing along, especially at the end.)
On the Backs of Angels (This one was just as good as the last time they played it, just a solid performance of a solid song.)
War Inside My Head (Wasting no time, they jumped right into this one. Short, but sweet!)
The Test That Stumped Them All (Naturally, this was the next song. Very rocking song, even if the hypnotic videos on the screen were a bit disorienting. Maybe it was just where I was standing, but it felt like I was the only person who screamed right after the lyric “intro tape begins to roll…” where there’s the built in screaming on the album :( The falsetto in the chorus was now backtracked versions of James, which was a little disappointing because I wanted to see Petrucci give it a shot.)
The Spirit That Carries On (The dynamic duo of Rudess and Petrucci take over again for a little piano intro, then a long guitar into. As always, Petrucci hits one out of the park during his improv guitar solo before the actual song. Towards the end, he cranked up the heaviness a little bit as well as the shredding. James returns to continue his speech about “being surrounded by freaks” in which he dubs Petrucci “undoubtedly one of today’s guitar heroes,” which the crowd unanimously agrees to. The rest of the song plays out pretty much like it was performed on Score, with James singing higher for Victoria’s part, Petrucci nailing his infamous guitar solo, and Theresa’s vocalization playing over the speakers as Jordan finishes on piano. This was one of the songs I was glad to finally experience live as the energy and the crowd singing isn’t something that can be captured on film or mp3.)
Breaking All Illusions (One last, long track to go out with. I found the chorus to be surprisingly catchy and the build up to the last one very cool.)

Encore
Metropolis – Part I (The Miracle and the Sleeper) (The classic song that started it all for me, finally played in its entirety. I had heard the first halfish a few years ago as part of their Once In A LIVEtime medley with extended solos, but I’ve always wanted to see it the whole way through. After a very short break from the last song, they come back out. As the intro plays, James asks us, “You know how this works, right? We come back for another song.” Following the bass solo, Jordan tilts his keyboard sideways 45 degrees for the big harmonized instrumental section, which gave me a good view as he blazed through the section that I’ve been struggling with for so long! During the big rock ending, Mike goes crazy, nailing every crash cymbal on his set in rapid succession then follows it up with big time rolls. When he notices James feigning impatience, he bites down on one of his sticks and does an even longer drum roll with one hand! They promised to be back after their new album is out, so we’ll see if they can make it 6 years of concerts in a row for me!