As the curtain dropped, there stood the band. Random securtity people dragged handheld cameras along the barrier as the crowd began to frenzy & by the time that Portnoy first hit the skins from 6 o'clock the croud was already surging. For me there couldnt have been a better picked opening track either. The Awake album was my first run in with Dream Theater & when I heard it I was immediately in loathe again, hard up against the barrier & fired up to go mental.
Petrucci was on fine form all night & he made an effort to get in close to the crowd. Guy really knows what he is doing & it shows. He also looks like he genuinely still enjoys playing the music for the crowd, even though I dare say that he's played these same tracks a million times before.
La Brie made sure that the bleachers were involved from the get go & throughout the night continued to draw them in each time he took to the stage. When he was on stage (he had a tendancy to walk off for the instrumental bits which irritated me), he made great use of it - Strutting up & down, swinging his mic stand about. At one point he missed a security guy by about an inch without even flinching. Im not even sure if the security man realised how close it went, but the collective gasp from the pit was audiable. There was 1 note that he missed the whole night, no mean feat given the range he uses.
What really impressed me throughout the whole gig though was the quality play that they gave for each song. Its rare to find a band who can duplicate what they lay down in a studio for a live gig, but Dream Theater have this filed down to a fine art. With such techinical phrasing, I only caught about 2 deviations from what I would be listening to from one of their pressings if I were sitting at home. That being said, it was still well worth making it out to the gig because it was a thousand times more potent.
Most importantly, this gig gave me the opportunity to actually watch Mike Portnoy play. For those who havent had the chance, I highly recommend that you do. I assure you that all the YouTube you could possibly eat does not do any sort of justice to the pure skill & ease that he owns on a kit. To give you an inkling, at one stage he was standing at the kit drumming one handed, still owning the double kick. He has thrown out his stick to the crowd, asked them to throw it back (They threw a horrible shot which didnt even get back to him) so picks up a new stick, same thing, thrown back & he's caught it & kept drumming. Timing perfect & play was still crisp.
Myung also surprised me with just how easy he finds some of the phrase that he plays. He almost looked bored while pulling out some of his more complex parts especially during some of the older tracks. None the less, his skill was most impressive.
With all this going on, Rudless remained relatively in the background. For Dream Theater he plays one of the more important elements because of the diverse way they play. His solo was exceptional. Most other players would be layering their tracks to come up with half the shit he does. When he finally cracked on his keytar, he finally got a chance to interact with the audience & actually made it look cool. No small feat.
Again it was a perfectly selected track when they encored with The Count of Tuscany and by the time the band took their final bows, the crowd was absolutely spent.
By the end of the gig, I had moshed my way through 6 o'clock, In the name of God, half of their newest album Black Clouds & Silver linings, as well as a smattering of their older tracks. As each new song began, it was as if the others had never existed.
Definately one of the best live acts Ive seen and well worth your money if you ever get the chance.