No time to storm the Bastille today: I have another appointment at the typisk norsk Wrightegaarden in the quiet Langesund. So quiet? We will see…
Pagan’s Mind had just to drive half an hour from their hometown Skien to play here tonight. I have to admit I appreciate more their progressive side than their power metal side, but it is just a question of taste: the frontman Nils K. Rue and his friends deliver a good mix of both and a solid performance.
But now, introduced by ‘False Awakening Suite’, Dream Theater is ready to hit the stage!
Shall we review the troops, from the left side where my friend Albert and I are standing for our fifth concert together (after Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, Al Di Meola, Steve Hackett and Fish), to the right?
We start with the always smiling Jordan Rudess and his waving keyboards: an authentic virtuoso. I would love to see and listen to him, playing a grand piano in a concert hall, taming a piece like the Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor by Rachmaninoff: should be a piece of cake for him.
I can read in Wikipedia (is it cool or not?) that in a poll conducted by Music Radar in 2010, John Myung was voted the greatest bassist of all time. We are talking about music here, not world record in Olympics, but still, he is for sure among the best. Few minutes after the concert opening, we can already enjoy the legendary bass tapping from ‘Metropolis’: j’aime!
I discovered Mike Mangini in 93 with the album ‘Set the World on Fire’, then live, when he joined Annihilator. In 2010, Dream Theater had to carry out an impossible mission: replace Mike Portnoy. The DVD in the limited edition of ‘A Dramatic Turn of Events’ shows the auditions and the chosen one, Mr Mangini, the right choice (Marco Minnemann plays drums at a stratospheric level too, it has to be said). You can also see it on youtube: an epic drama. Then, what about Mangini live tonight? Well, having him on stage is a delight for the ears and the eyes!
Dream Theater usually plays some epic and long instrumentals where James La Brie has the possibility to catch his breath. But during this tour, the band focuses on shorter songs, changing moods between ballads and metal, where the Canadian vocalist has almost no break; and this evening, his voice is not 100%. Anyway, he is a great singer, an experienced musician. He knows himself perfect and always finds the right modulations: not ‘Caught in a Web’.
I have been playing (‘trying to play’ seems more appropriate) guitar for many years and I worship many guitar heroes from many musical horizons. Among them, John Petrucci is for me THE progressive metal guitarist. He has the magic touch which is not just technique, and can take us where he wants, for a cool walk or a trip to the stars at speed of light, from dark and complex riffs to bright, colorful soli.
Dream Theater is not only the addition of world class musicians. It is a perfect alchemy, with and without Mike Portnoy.
I discovered the quintet in 92 with ‘Images & Words’. I saw it live for the first, and definitely not the last time, at L’Élysée Montmartre in Paris 13th March 1995, 20 years ago, during the ‘Awake’ tour. In 2015, Dream Theater celebrates also an anniversary with this summer tour, especially the founding members John M and P: 30 years!
The concept of their birthday party is simple: picking a song from each album, in chronological order. Simple and so exciting: we had a great evening. And the story goes on: I will rush on their new album in 2016, as I always do.
02. Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper
03. Caught in a Web
04. A Change of Seasons: II Innocence
05. Burning My Soul
06. The Spirit Carries On
07. About to Crash
08. As I Am
09. Panic Attack
10. Constant Motion
12. Bridges in the Sky
13. Behind the Veil