Thursday 17 April 2014

Progressive metal band since 1985, DREAM THEATER “Along For The Ride” tour at The McCaw Hall in Seattle, Washington on April 14, 2014 celebrated their new self titled album DREAM THEATER, released September 24, 2013, the 20th anniversary of their third studio album AWAKE, and the 15th anniversary of their fifth studio album SCENES FROM A MEMORY, the band gave us a three hour concert!

I have to mention The Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle, formerly known as The Civic Auditorium.   In 2003 McCaw Hall went under a major renovation that cost $20 million, donated by the four sons of Marion Oliver McCaw.   It was a perfect venue to experience Dream Theater , the acoustics were amazing!  Every note and beat played by Dream Theater soared, vibrated, and bounced off of every surface.

The show started right on time at 7:28pm with “False Awakening Suite,” track one of their brand new album DREAM THEATER.  The song was a two minute suspenseful instrumental played on the PA, as a cool video of their animated discography was shown on the huge cinema screen.  It was a perfect opener to let you know that you are about to go along for an intense ride!   After the intro, they kicked right into “The Enemy Inside” the second track off of their new album and inspired by the true accounts of Iraq war survivors.  The audience already knew the words to this song and I could faintly hear them singing along to James LaBrie’s high pitched soaring vocals.

James LaBrie appreciatively tells the audience, “It is absolutely our pleasure to be here, are you guys having a good time?” at which the audience responded with an incredibly loud…..YEAH!  With that, DREAM THEATER kicked into “The Shattered Fortress,” off of their BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS album.   Jordan Rudess definitely puts the prog in DREAM THEATER’s sound.  He gave an incredible symphonic keyboard solo with his custom made rotating and tilting keyboard.

 James LaBrie took a moment to say, “We’ve been coming to Seattle since (he took a moment to think)…..1993 and we FINALLY made it to the Space Needle!”  At that, the audience loudly cheered!  The band then went into “On the Backs of Angels,”  “The Looking Glass,” and “Trial of Tears.”  The light show for each song was, by far, the best light show I have ever experienced at a concert!  Each song presented a different array of color and patterns.  “Trial of Tears” was my favorite light show, giving the illusion that the band was under water, with green and purple waves of light gently rippling across the stage.

The next song was “Enigma Machine” and was Mike Mangini’s turn to really show us how he uses every bit of the monstrous symmetrical drum kit he has.  The newest member of DREAM THEATER since 2010, Mike Mangini really brings strength and interesting sound to the band.  I clearly heard several styles of drumming Jazz, Progressive, and Metal through-out his performance.  John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess played back and forth with intense speed, even teaming up for duels.   Jordan brought out his Keytar and played a synthesized solo like I've never heard!   John Myung is the glue that holds it all together and he is definitely not lost in the shadows.  He accents each song with his mastery and some quick bass solos playing a SIX string bass!  “Along For the Ride” and “Breaking All Illusions” were the next two songs played with the same intense, high speed ferocity.

At this point, the band, understandably, took a thirty minute break.  A fifteen minute intermission and fifteen minutes on a video of hilarious commercials, featuring cartoon characters of each band member and some DT fan’s videos pulled off of YouTube one of which was a cover by a 14 year old, incredibly talented girl covering John Petrucci's shred in “The Best of Times.”

DT went on to play six more songs, “The Mirror,” “Lie,” “Lifting Shadows Off A Dream,” “Scarred,” “Space-Dye Vest,” and the 20 minute “Illumination Theory Suite.”  Every single song played was practiced to perfection.  The players were modest, all holding their positions at their designated spots on the stage, mostly I think, because of the need to switch pedals, as each song had so many textures and layers.  James LaBrie, having the charisma and confidence of a good frontman, roamed around the stage.

That was it, the band left the stage and the crowd cheered loudly for an encore, which we all knew we were going to get.  Everyone shouted their approval at the image on the screen of their next song “Overture 1928,” off of the bands fifth studio album, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory.  They continued with “Strange Deja-Vu,”  “The Dance of Eternity,” and “Finally Free.”

I went to this show not knowing much about DREAM THEATER and left a new fan, excited to explore more of their music!  DT was an experience to see, definitely the ultimate concert with technical perfection, an awesome light show, and clever and creative videos.  I highly recommend seeing them if they are coming to your town.

False Awakening Suite (intro tape)
1. The Enemy Inside
2. The Shattered Fortress
3. On the Backs of Angels
4. The Looking Glass
5. Trial of Tears
6. Enigma Machine (w/ drum solo)
7. Along for the Ride
8. Breaking All Illusions
9. The Mirror
10. Lie
11. Lifting Shadows Off A Dream
12. Scarred
13. Space-Dye Vest
14. Illumination Theory
15. Overture 1928
16. Strange Deja-Vu
17. The Dance of Eternity
18. Finally Free

Tour Dates:
The Warfield
San Francisco, CA, United States
Fox Performing Arts Center
Riverside, CA, United States
Orpheum Theatre
Los Angeles, CA, United States
Ikeda Theatre
Mesa, AZ, United States
Arena Monterrey
Monterrey, Mexico
Arena Ciudad de Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico
Auditorio Telmex
Guadalajara, Mexico
Sheffield City Hall
Sheffield, United Kingdom Tickets:
Knebworth Park/Sonisphere 40yrs of Festivals
Knebworth, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Paris, France
Masters of Rock
Vizovice, Czech Republic
Erfurt, Germany
Hamburg, DE, Germany
Gdynia Arena
Gdynia, Poland
Berlin, Germany
Tilburg, Netherlands
Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Reitstadion at Maimarket
Mannheim, Germany
Concerti Piazza Loggia
Brescia, Italy
Gru Village
Grugliasco, Italy
Adriano Flacco
Pescara, Italy
Budapest Park
Budapest, Hungary
Bucharest, Romania
Festivalna Hall
Sofia, Bulgaria
KüçükÇiftlik Park
Istanbul, Turkey
Loud Park Festival
Saitama, Chuo Ward Shintoshin, Japan

Dream Theater Website:

Facebook Page: 

Review by:
Jill Maciel
West Coast Correspondent CRRdotEU

Photography by:
Scott Banning

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