I have reached my 9th year as a Dream Theater fan. It all goes back to seeing them on their first ever Australian tour in January 2008. I was lucky to pay big dough to meet them on the “Black Clouds and Silver linings” tour of December 2009.
It took me another 5 years to see Dream Theater again when they came back to Australia to end their “Along for the Ride” tour.
Dream Theater was touring Europe in June-July/August of 2015. I was too busy getting settled in Birmingham, so I didn’t get the chance to see them in Wales that year.
In all 3 tours of Australia, I was kind of annoyed that they didn’t play songs like “Learning to Live”, “Another Day” and do I dare say “A CHANGE OF SEASON”. But this all was about to change when I arrived back in the UK in early December 2016.
There was a press release on Facebook that Dream Theater was going to tour all around Europe in 2017. They were doing this tour not to promote their latest album, but to celebrate the 25th Birthday of their landmark album “Images and Words”
The setlist was to remain the same on the tour. They would play some interesting tracks before doing the full “Images and Words” album and “A Change of Season” in the encore. This excited me, but I had to wait like 4 months to see it.
I was tempted to go to Cardiff to see the band on a Saturday night, but I realized I would have bloody work commitments that weekend. So, I had to settle for a gig in my town of Birmingham.
To save money I decided I would watch the concert from the level 5 balcony. Yes, it was a cheap seat and you may think it was crap, but it bloody well gave me a sky-high view of the band.
I was kind of pissed that none of the UK tour dates was going to be GENERAL ADMISSION. In all 3 times, I saw Dream Theater I would be near the front of the barrier. But this time I had to watch them from a seat.
I had to watch King Diamond from a sky-high seat at the O2 in Kentish town last year.
At 8 pm the sounds of the "The Colonel" by Two Steps from Hell was blaring all over the P.A. If Metallica uses “Ecstasy of Gold” as the intro to every concert, the Dream Theater can do something different every tour. Like how they used “Also Sprach Zarathustra” to open their 2007/2008 shows.
Dream Theater kicked into “The Dark Eternal Night” from 2007 “Systematic Chaos”. It’s the 2nd time I have heard this song live. I remember at the last few DT concert they had the use of a projection screen. Well they didn’t use it this time.
It was more about shining the spotlight on one of the men during their solo parts of the song. Like when Jordan does his classic piano part in Dark Eternal Night. I mean you can redraw that cartoon after Mike Portnoy left.
But the funny thing is I could hear Mike Portnoy’s backing vocal tracks over the PA. I mean John Petrucci can sing. But I mean it’s hard to play “Constant Motion” without hearing a singing drummer.
The Big Picture
It’s a song off their self-titled 2013 album. It’s been a while since I listened to that album. It was a good record but hearing that song reminded me of music I had forgotten since the last time I saw Dream Theater
“Hell Kitchen” is a good instrumental. It’s been 20 years since Dream Theater put out that awfully sounding “Falling into Infinity” album that wankers like Desmond Child, Kevin Shirley (who mixed ONJ GAIA record) and Elektra Records who made Dream Theater make an album to impress the popular music world.
“The Gift of Music”. I am not a big fan of the latest Dream Theater album. It was all John Petrucci ideas. I don’t blame the band for making a 2-hour long album. It’s just the Sci fi subjects just didn’t interest me at all.
“Our new world” It reminded me of past Dream Theater concerts. I mean yes, we live in 1 world. But if you move from Australia to England and you see Dream Theater, then everything is different.
James introduced John Myung as he ripped into a tribute to mad man bassist Jaco Pastorius by playing “Portrait of Tracy”.
This lead into “As I Am”. It’s one of my favourite tracks off the heavy album “Train of Thought”. It’s the 2nd time I have heard this song live and its only one of 2 Dream Theater songs with swearing.
The song kind of reminds me of my critic late Aunt Cecily and my nearly 70 Mother. I never got along with my Aunt and my mother was also an unsupportive critic at time.
Allot of people asked me. Martin why did you turn your back on Pop Music and become a Metalhead? I tell them my mother didn’t let me meet fucking Olivia Newton-John when I was 19, but becoming a Metalhead at 20 gave my mother praise about who I went to see and that I waited outside fire exits to meet bands.
In the end “DON’T TELL ME WHATS IN, TELL ME HOW TO WRITE, DON’T TELL ME HOW TO WIN THIS FIGHT, IT INS’T YOUR LIFE”.
“Breaking All Illusions”. This was the last song of the set before an intermission of 20 minutes. It’s nice to hear written by John Myung as he wrote a song on every album between Images and words and Metropolis Part II.
I’m surprised the song contains poetry by the great Kahlil Gibran. He was a great poet who left Lebanon and worked in America. I remember when my Uncle Brian died in 2012 a friend of mine gave me some poetry of his work
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
During the intermission, there was a long bloody Q for the men’s toilet. I started talking to a married lady from Luton about Dream Theater. I may not have the balls to ask a woman for her phone number and I may not want to get married of have Children. But I love talking to women and I feel proud that I can say HI! To any lady out there.
When I was 24 years old. I realize one thing about 1992
1992 was a fucked-up year for music:
*Glam Metal was in a coffin
*Retards were running up the charts
*Mark Heard died
* Jeff Porcaro died
* Olivia Newton-John got Breast cancer.
*Thrash Metal lost its THRASH
But the most important thing that came out in 1992 in music was Dream Theater “Images and Words”.
That progressive Rock and Metal album sold big and kept Metal afloat.
Anyone who was struggling with life in 1992 could turn to “Learning to Live” and be raised up high by an awesome song written by John Myung.
The Intro tape began with a radio broadcast of Happy New Year 1992. The PA started playing some shitty music that came out in 1992 and some good music. But then the Radio announcer of Long Island told everyone that the new Dream Theater record has produced a top 10 Hit.
This was the launching platform for “Pull me Under”. It was my 2nd time hearing this song live as they played it during the encore of Sydney in 2008.
“Another Day” This song was released in 1992 as the follow up single to “Pull me Under”. John Petrucci wrote it about his father battling cancer and how he wanted his father to stay here longer.
I love how Spyro Gyra Jay Beckenstein did a sax solo on the album and when D.T played this song in New York City, Jay got to perform the John Petrucci solo part instead
This time Jordan’s Keyboard was playing the Saxophone. With all the technology than man uses no wonder he can do some amazing stuff.
Before “Take the Time: James did a bit of a spoken word part how he was talking about the record company believing in the band for this album.
When John Myung did his bass intro on the E string #2 fret. It’s just the best start to a long song. The Audio samples of Curtis Blow, Frank Zappa and Chuck D were played over the PA.
“Surrounded” It’s one of those soft-spoken songs on that album.
When Metropolis Part I started playing. Nobody in the band was on stage. They were using the intro of the song over the PA
Mike Mangini did a bit of a long drum solo in the middle of the song before John Myung did his wicked tapping bass solo.
“Under a Glass Moon” When Dream Theater was touring the world in 2005 to celebrate 20 years as a band. They played “Under a Glass Moon” to represent 1 track from “Images and Words”
Before Jordan started to play “Wait for Sleep”, James sat down on a stool to talk about how successful the album was.
Wait for Sleep is a short piano led song that Kevin Moore wrote. It was a great way to lead into the final song of the album.
“Learning to Live” was about a man struggling with the AIDS virus and how he was going to live his life in a new era. The colours of the gay Pride flag were beamed on the stage along with the colour red that symbol the Red ribbon people wear on world AIDS day.
It was a great build up to hear James LaBrie do his F#. Maybe he did or didn’t hit F# but it doesn’t matter.
What matter to me that the song made a GROWN MAN CRY and I have cried before at Dream Theater gigs.
The band went off stage for 5 minutes. John Petrucci led the way on “A Change of Season” This 23-minute song would end the night. My favourite parts are III. Carpe Diem and IV Another World. It’s a painful song the Mike Portnoy wrote after the death of his mother when the light plane she was flying in crashed on the 16th November 1984.
At the end of the concert all 5 gentlemen walks together to take a bow. I didn’t really see any sticks getting throw by Mike Mangini. But he is a very down to earth person.
15 minutes after I left the concert hall I was attacked by 2 eastern European scumbags because I didn’t have any cigarettes. I don’t smoke so one of them punched me in the nose and then the other one whacked me in the side of the head.
I don’t like to start rantings about Broad Street in Birmingham but if you are an Immigrant to this country and you fucking punch someone in the face or whack them in the head with a ball in a plastic bag, well then you are an Immigrant Prick and you should be deported. I don’t give a shit if you are an EU citizen or your Migration status. You wouldn’t like this if an Englishman moved to your town in Sofia, Bucharest, Warsaw, Belgrade and started doing shit like that!
You can read my news report online www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/police-hunt-thugs-after-broad-12914892