GIG REVIEW: An Evening With DREAM THEATER Live at The Fillmore, Detroit
Dream Theater rolled into Detroit and set up shop at the Filmore in the heart of the motor city. A night of Dream Theater was upon us. They have been reigning supreme in the Prog – Metal Scene since their debut album ‘When Dreams and Days Unite’ came out in 89’. Since then they have reached legendary status worldwide. Armed with their 14th studio album, ‘Distance Over Time’ these classically trained misfits from the schools of Juilliard and Berklee came to give their fans a space odyssey they would never forget and that’s exactly what they did. Just like a good ol’ rock opera, this one came in two parts. As the Filmore packed up and the stage was dressed, Detroit prog rockers were ready for a night of mind-melting fret fires and riffling drum fills that would twist their perception on time over the next few hours.
Part 1, As the lights darken and a short video montage of their albums over the years plays they take their places and bang right into their first single of the new album Distance Over Time “Untethered Angel” now this was no warm-up song as right out the gate the melodic tones sharply turn to power driving forces as John Petrucci, Mike Mangini, Jordan Rudess, and John Myung give us pure thunder right out the gate as this song just keeps building to the brink of exploding as James LaBrie was firing on all cylinders right from the start. This was a mostly seated event and you could see the pure amazement on everyone’s faces as they ripped into “A Nightmare to Remember “ I love the way this tune builds up with the big drum rolls and the heavy keys just amazing to watch Mike Mangini swing away at that massive oversized kit. He looks like a kid in a candy store, a ball of positive energy up there. As this song has some length to it now Mr. Rudess has moved from the upper deck to the lower deck with a sweet Keytar and rocks out a few bars with fellow axemen Petrucci and Myung while soloing out on his way back up. It’s truly wild to watch these guys perform with such ease, it’s like they could do it in their sleep perfect.
Again, As I look around everyone is in complete awe of what’s going on and they continued to look this way through-out two more of the new songs “Fall Into The Light” and “Barstool Warrior”. As people are still getting warmed up to the new stuff the energy pumps back up and aggressively with the high octane “ In The Presence Of Enemies, Part 1” where everyone steps up and shows their excellence as the riffs are mesmerizing, the drums are rushing at a feverish pace and the keys and bass are laying down a milky way that these space cowboys just keep thrusting towards finding a new realm of reality in the music galaxy.
Taking us to another world they blasted us off with the end of the first set with “Pale Blue Dot”. This song starts with a video of the earth and some space communications before coming in hard and heavy with gripping drum beats and a frenzy of Keys and Guitar, one thing I was very impressed with was James Labrie’s vocal range and the power he still has after all those years. He’s not 25 years younger but man does he still bring it with conviction every single song. Pure professionals all of them.
Part 2, with the first half done and a 15-minute intermission complete everyone rushed back to their seats, as we were being treated to ‘Metropolis Pt.2 – Scenes From a Memory’ in its in entirety as it’s a celebration of its 20th Anniversary. I still can’t believe it’s been 20 years since this masterpiece came out. It’s also the first album that Jordan Rudess appears on as well. With that said they blast through the whole album song for song as a video played along with the music perfectly of some sort of space euphoria. There were lots of highlights within this second half with massive jam outs in this 12-song set. “Overture 1928”, “Fatal Tragedy” and “The Spirit Carries On” really got my attention.
At the end of the day, these guys are masters of the universe when it comes to the slaying and shredding their respective instruments. John Petrucci is a complete wizard with a golden axe in his hands, Mike Mangini is the god of thunder as his intensity and masterful play is highlighted throughout the show, John Myung keeps the rhythm steady and calm, as Jordan Rudess splashes his magic over each note they play, while the star fleet commander Mr. James Labrie takes us on a trip of a Galaxy as we are still trying to comprehend. After these majestic force finished their final song, the lights go dark a small break is had and the encore is erupting with their mega-hit from their 1992 album ‘Images and Words’ “Pull Me Under”. At the completion of their set which was close to 3 hours long you could tell people still wanted more. That’s what seeing your idols is all about. Dream Theater are a band that is incredible to see live, if you get the opportunity please do, they will not disappoint. The tour is ongoing check your local retailers for tickets their show, you don’t want to miss it.