Dream Theater, World Tourbulence 2002
January 25th, Manchester Apollo, Manchester, UK
January 26th, Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK
February 1st, Columbiahalle, Berlin, Germany
February 4th, Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Holland
February 9th, The Arena, Oberhausen, Germany
February 19th, Sala Razzamatazz, Barcelona, Spain

By Charlie Farrell, Andreas Vogel, Bart Jan van der Vorst,
Gido van Schijndel, Tim Jakobi & Craig O'Brien


January 25th, Manchester Apollo, Manchester, UK, by Charlie Farrell

So the Dream Theater World Tourbulence 2002 tour began its European leg in Manchester, where, true to form, it was raining heavily for most of the day. This time the band had selected to play the Manchester Apollo, which is a seated theatre holding around 2500, much bigger than the standing only venue (The Academy), which the band played on their Scenes From A Memory tour, and it was very full indeed.

Pain of Salvation

The opening band on this tour, Sweden's Pain of Salvation came on stage very early and they were part-way through their second number, when I arrived at the venue. They appeared to have their own P.A., which was dwarfed by the shrouded Dream Theater set-up behind them, but the sound was good and clear and they were playing very energetically. Vocalist/Guitarist Daniel Gildenlow introduced the next tune Ashes from 2000's The Perfect Element, Pt 1 and though the crowd didn't seem to know the song, they applauded loudly as it finished and it seemed clear that the audience were warming to the band.

Undertow and Beyond The Pale were introduced as tracks from the new album Remedy Lane, which the band reminded us was available from the merchandise stand. During Undertow, Kristoffer Gildenlow put his bass to one side and sat down to play an electric cello. This quiet, yet powerful number, came across much better than the track which followed it. At this point 4 of the 5 members of the band left the stage, leaving keyboard player Fredrik Hermansson to play the beautiful short instrumental overture Spirit of The Land from One Hour By The Concrete Lake.

When the band re-assembled a short while later, Daniel had left his guitar off stage and proceeded to grab the microphone and to leap around the stage with it, during a powerful rendition of Inside, also from the same album. Then, with the clock at barely 19:50, the band said their goodbyes and left the stage after just 30 minutes. They received loud and warm applause from the audience in the, by now, fairly full venue and can feel content that their debut performance on English soil made a good impression.

James LaBrie

Forty minutes later, the lights went down and the outro of Scenes From A Memory, announced the start of The Glass Prison - the opening cut of Dream Theater's new Double CD - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (6DOIT). Drummer Mike Portnoy exchanged vocals with singer James Labrie throughout the 13 min plus song, which I was hearing for the first time. The response from the crowd was fantastic and the band seemed pumped up for the occasion, with singer James Labrie declaring that they were "Psyched" that the band were back on the road again.

Having playing something new they followed up with a selection of old numbers which were glued together with neat instrumental breaks. 6:00 from the album Awake was an unusual choice, but immediately sounded great. That was followed by Strange Déjà Vu which was the first number to visibly animate the audience. It immediately became clear that a large part of the audience were familiar with Scenes From A Memory album and they burst spontaneously into song - something which is quite unusual here in the UK.

As the lights went down briefly at the end of that song, James Labrie re-appeared on a stool stage-front and began to sing something that the band has not played live for some time. It was Surrounded, a beautiful ballad from 1992's Images and Words disk and it was full of the magic which the songs on that particular album are imbued with; truly something special. Then keeping with the theme of playing something out of the ordinary, the band followed it with Burning My Soul from the follow-up album Falling Into Infinity. That was not unusual in itself; but the fact that they incorporated the instrumental Hells Kitchen into the song, meant that it was played in the form of original demo version rather than the version which finally appeared on disk. Something for the band's setlist enthusiasts to get excited about.

Reaching back a little further in time, to their debut album, When Dream and Day Unite, they proceeded to play another tune which is rarely played live these days, Another Hand/The Killing Hand. Consisting of an excellent instrumental joined to one of their finest early songs, it was a real joy to hear.

Having picked out some of the gems from their earlier discography, it was then time for them to introduce the audience to some more new material. This time it was Misunderstood, which appears to be one of the more commercial sounding tracks from 6DOIT. Things were then enlivened with a heavy, yet slightly re-arranged version of Lie before Labrie introduced the evening's final cut from 6DOIT, entitled The Great Debate - a song about the issues governing human cloning. Once again it was a long tune, with the excellent extended guitar solo marking it out as a number that was written largely by guitarist John Petrucci.

With the level of excitement in the crowd dropping a little, Dream Theater then supplied the perfect antidote. Once again, it was a cut from the Falling Into Infinity album, Peruvian Skies whose big metallica-like riff and memorable chorus encouraged the audience to sing along and to jump up and down. Then with the audience animated once more they followed it with the big crowd pleaser Pull Me Under. It never fails to get the crowd going and always makes a perfect ending to the set. John Myung and Jordan Rudess

After all that, the crowd really wasn't going to let them stop there. They really did scream for an encore and were delighted when the band returned to the stage to play Home, the big show-stopper from the popular Scenes From A Memory disk. Unfortunately a small problem with the microphone meant a delay in us hearing the vocals of James Labrie, but it was one of the few minor faults in a terrific evenings entertainment. The Spirit Carries On provided the perfect material for another crowd sing-a-long and would have made for a perfect climax too, had the band not then pulled another old tune out of the hat, in the form of Take The Time, which, once again, much of the audience didn't seem familiar with.

It seems churlish to grumble about the band performing an extra track, but the crowd's mood seemed to be so high after The Spirit Carries On, that it seemed a shame to have it lowered somewhat by a further number. The set came to a finale with a brief cover of the old Rush number By-Tor & The Snow Dog to the visible delight of many Rush fans in the audience.

All together it was an excellent evening's entertainment. 30 mins of a promising upcoming outfit and then 2 and a half hours from Prog Metal's finest. A set which contained material spanning over 13 years of the band's history and which included a little bit to suit fans from all stages of the band's career. It made an excellent start to a tour, which any self-respecting prog-metal fan will not want to miss.


January 26th, Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK, by Charlie Farrell

So the bands moved south to the Hammersmith Apollo in West London, along with a large proportion of the audience, it seemed, although traffic and rail problems meant that many arrived at the venue much later than planned. They were joined by a large foreign contingent from France, Switzerland, Greece, Iceland and Latvia, amongst others - all keen to catch an early glimpse of the tour.

Pain of Salvation came on stage at around 7:20, as they had the night before, and played for half an hour. Two improvements were noticable straight away, namely the improved lighting meant that all the band members were clearly visible throughout the show and secondly their attitude, which was much more agressive, shocking the London audience into life. Unfortunately, half the audience had either not arrived, or was still sat in the bar, but those who were present witnessed a great show.

The band opened with Used. "London, how are you?", asked lead singer and guitarist Daniel Gildenlow, "This is a song from new album, available here by coincidence". They continued with Fandango, which I found a difficult song to appreciate, but from there onwards the set was excellent. With people still taking their seats, Daniel announced, "We are Pain of Salvation, for those who have just arrived. This is Ashes". The tune was truly stunning and certainly delighted the dedicated fans at stage-front, who enjoyed an excellent solo from Daniel and some great bass work from his brother Kristoffer.

"Another song from new album, still called Remedy Lane" introduced Undertow, with Kristoffer changing to the cello. The crowd response seemed more muted than in Manchester and the band moved swiftly into Beyond the Pale. Once again Kristoffer Gildenlow was impressive on bass and he struck an imposing figure as he strode around the stage headbanging furiously. Lively second guitarist Johan Langell also made a significant contribution.

After keyboard player Fredrik Hermansson had played the delightful instrumental Spirit of the Land the other musicians returned to their positions and Daniel, shorn of his guitar, announced the closing number, "This is Inside". It was performed with all the energy and enthusiasm which one hears in the studio version, with Daniel re-creating perfectly his unique vocal performance. The lighting enabled the crowd to see Daniel leaping around and aiming some of the lyrics at one of the over-officious security guards, much to the delight of the audience members who he was hassling.

All too soon it was over and after a final reminder of "We are Pain of Salvation" they left the stage to warm applause. The sound throughout the set was excellent once again, but 30 mins seems a very short set, for band like this to play.

Anyway, at around 8:30pm, the outro to Scenes From A Memory signalled the start of The Glass Prison and the headliners came on stage to huge cheers. The equipment was arranged as for the night before with Mike Portnoy's huge Siamese Monster drum kit taking up most of the stage-center. To the left was Jordan Rudess, stood on a raised platform with his single keyboard on a plinth, which he could rotate. James Labrie's percussion stand - with chimes, shaker and tambourine amongst its fearsome armoury was to the right of Portnoy's kit, with Johns Myung and Petrucci in their usual positions stage-left and stage-right. This number, taken from their new album 6 Degrees of Inner Turbulence (6DOIT) still needs a few more listens, but I did love the vocal exchanges between drummer Portnoy and vocalist Labrie, which worked really well.

The response from the crowd at the end of the song was excellent and Labrie went on to thank the British audience for returning in numbers. "For a while we thought we were losing it here in the UK, but you people really helped bring it back". After that, it was straight into monster versions of Under a Glass Moon and Scarred which were joined together by a neat Petrucci solo and culminated in the closing section of Rush's 2112. I'm really not sure what all the 'new' DT fans really thought of such a heavy start of set, but from there on, the material became a bit more accessible, beginning with a version of Cover My Eyes, a poppy track which didn't make its way onto 1998's Falling Into Infinity.

Dream Theater then delighted the whole audience with a triple-play of tracks from Scenes From a Memory, Strange déjà vu enlivened the crowd and got them to sing along in huge numbers. Then Through my Words and Fatal Tragedy continued to lift the mood, ending with a neat Rudess solo for good measure. "Thank you everyone, so far so good" declared Labrie. Jordan Rudess

With a new album to promote, it is no surprise that the band were keen to introduce some more new material. Blind Faith was played for the first time and came over well. Labrie then introduced Jordan Rudess and he played a delightful little solo - melodic and restrained, backed by his own drum-machine, before a rotating Majesty symbol appeared on the screen above Portnoy and the rest of the band returned to launch into the epic Lines in the Sand. This also seemed to receive a good reception, possibly confirming, like the night before that, Falling Into Infinity is probably their best known album besides Scenes From a Memory, in the UK anyway. This contained some nice piano stuff from Jordan and a lovely soulful, bluesy solo from Petrucci, who really seemed to be playing out of his skin this evening.

The final cut from 6DOIT was Misunderstood which was OK, but seemed a little over-long, before the stage was lit by strobes and they kicked into a fearsome version of Lie - ending with yet another blistering Petrucci solo. The Spirit Carries On then raised the level of the crowd's involvement, prompting them to sing along once more before the rousing set closer Pull Me Under.

After a few minutes off-stage, they came back to play Home, which didn't sound to me, as good as the night before, with Labrie a little bit more 'screamy', but he then sung an delightful version of Hollow Years which more than made up for it. Learning to Live was just the sort of thing I wanted to hear, but once again, one sensed that many people had never heard the song before, so from where I was standing, the finale wasn't quite as hot as it might have been.

At the end of all that, the band members just bathed in the adoration from the audience, which certainly seemed to be more than satisfactory from their point of view, evoking a "Fuckin A! London" from Mr Portnoy. so, with the UK won over once again, it is on to mainland Europe.


February 1st, Columbiahalle, Berlin, Germany, by Andreas Vogel

For merely five days had Dream Theater's latest output been in the shops when their "World Tourbulence 2002" hit German ground. To witness this occasion, a huge flock of fans had gathered at Berlin's Columbiahalle, many of them sporting worn-out Dream Theater tour shirts. Well, I guess those shirts will have to suffer another year or two, as the prices for dreamtheatrical clothing appeared to be more than six degrees above average this time. Hefty, hefty…

Support act Pain of Salvation entered the stage quite on time, and off they went with an impressive set, comprising pieces from most of their albums. Knowing only 'The Perfect Element, Part I' - an outstanding work indeed - I feel unable to comment in detail on everything the band played. However, the marvellous Undertow still sticks in my mind, a song from the Swedes' brand-new album Remedy Lane. Fandango, from the same album, seemed rather unusual, but I suspect that's just what we experts call 'progressive'. So, Remedy Lane is definitely worth to check out next time you roam the record store.
Initially I had thought that a non-progmetal band would make a better Dream Theater support (such as Spock's Beard or Porcupine Tree on previous tours), but it worked rather well. Pain of Salvation ably set the scene for what was to be unleashed.

The stage lay dark. A black cloth concealed what would soon turn into Portnoy's throne. The intermission music tootled away… Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, The Flower Kings… but finally it gave way to a tape that the crowd immediately recognized as the outro of Scenes from a Memory. It took another split second to conclude that The Glass Prison was to be the opener of the night, and as soon as the musicians had taken their places to kick in with fierce pressure, the sixth degree of inner turbulence was reached. The hall boiled as the song whirled about at an incredible speed. Glass Prison is probably Dream Theater's most ferocious piece to date. But it suits them damn well! What force, what bone-crushing power lies therein! The boys borrow heavily from hardcore metal but infuse the whole affair with genuine Dream Theater magic. Terrific.

After greeting the crowd, the band played a little section of classics containing Under a Glass Moon and Scarred, both flawlessly and energetically performed, with the short-haired Petrucci (who is no doubt married to his guitar) putting a little solo spot in between. More recent stuff (but nonetheless classic, in a way) came up with Strange Déjà Vu, Through my Words, and Fatal Tragedy. The musical ingenuity of these pieces is certainly indisputable. As a result, the response took on dramatic forms, with the fans singing along enthusiastically and LaBrie deriving a great deal of pleasure from poking his microphone into the audience.

One brand-new track was next: Blind Faith. A well-crafted song which, after taking off rather floatingly, winds its way through multiplying layers, slowly turning into a more rough'n'tough tune that holds plenty of room for guitar and keyboard extravaganzas. Right thereafter, Maestro Rudess continued to shine in a solo on his rotating kurzweil, blending smoothly into Lines in the Sand, a gem from Falling into Infinity. With Misunderstood, there followed yet another track from the Six Degrees album, and what a stunning piece this is! LaBrie's soft singing wallows in soundscapes of serene beauty until there enters an aggressive edge, letting the song tip over into a rousing pound-along. The end drags on a little too long, though (to my liking, that is). James LaBrie & John Myung

After the hard-rocking Lie, the band offered a resting point with The Spirit carries on, only to have it followed by the age-old but still fantastic set closer Pull me under. The crowd flipped out completely, bounced and jumped as LaBrie had his mane swirl and his voice rise to those unique squeals of his. As an encore, the fifth Metropolis Part II title this evening, Home, was performed, before the band had the evening end at a more leisurely note with Hollow Years. Well - not quite. Unfortunately, there occurred a total power failure in mid-song, so that after an unpleasant electric crackle, all the instruments and microphones fell silent. LaBrie tried to shout an apology or something, but to no avail - he could not be heard. As soon as Petrucci flicked his plectrum away, the crowd understood that there was no hope - and burst into applause, paying tribute to a nevertheless smashing show. Judging from previous set lists, the band might have added Learning to live, but it was not to be.

Dream Theater have taken the wise decision not to perform the title track of their new album during the first leg of the tour. The fans would have been run over by this still-yet-unknown epic. Instead, the set delivered a fine cross-section of Dream Theater's albums since Images and Words, with an emphasis on their latest two.

It cannot be enough emphasized that with Dream Theater we have the rare occasion of five genius musicians working together. This collaboration is bound to result in a sonic feast, a musical tornado. Each of them delivers top performances, be it Portnoy's out-of-this-world drumming, Rudess' formidable keyboard wizardry (Just how many fingers does this man have…?), Petrucci's staggering guitar work, LaBrie's heavy vocal labour, or Myung's flawless bass playing. Of course, Dream Theater's efforts are not exactly suitable for the musically faint-hearted and squeamish. But even easy-listening enthusiasts should give them a chance unless they wish to miss one of the most terrific epicentres in the musical world today.


February 4th, Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands,by Bart Jan van der Vorst

This was only my second Dream Theater gig ever. For some strange reason I always managed to be in the wrong country whenever there was a DT tour. The other time I saw them, it was during the Falling Into Infinity try-out tour, in 1996, in a very small venue in Amsterdam, with an audience just over 1000. So tonight it was going to be something slightly different, in the Heineken Music Hall, which accommodates some 5000 people (and it was packed!)

I knew the support act Pain of Salvation mainly by name, and I'd heard their album The Perfect Element, Pt 1 a few times. I had high expectations of this band, but somehow they didn't manage to captivate me as much. Probably because I wasn't too familiar with the material, but the whole thing sounded like "standard metal" to me, rather than "prog metal". Not bad, but not all that great either.

After their 40-minute set the house-lights went back on, while the stage was set in darkness in order to change the stage for Dream Theater. Mike PortnoySome twenty minutes later the entire hall was covered in darkness and the final tones of Scenes From A Memory were played, which is also the beginning of the first track of their new album Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence. The band started heavily with the opening track of that album, The Glass Prison.

Once the stage lights were on, one could appreciate the incredible size of Mike Portnoy's drumkit, which is now reaching Spinal Tap-esque proportions. Three bassdrums? How is he ever going to play that? It turned out that he now has in fact two drumkits next to eachother. His regular, double-bass drum "monster", and a smaller one attached to it, which he used for the mellower songs like Surrounded, The Spirit Carries On and Peruvian Skies (during that latter track he actually switched between the two kits halfway, to continue the heavy second part on the big kit).

On the left next to Portnoy's drumkit, Jordan Rudess' keyboard stood on an elevated platform. In order to compete with Portnoy being The Coolest Man Onstage™, his single pole keyboard stand enabled him to turn it a full 360 degrees - a cool feat which enabled him to use an appropriate pose for each different part. On the right was another elevated platform, where a Jon Anderson style percussion kit stood, for James LaBrie to entertain himself during the lengthy instrumental breaks. (in earlier years he used to disappear off stage during each and every solo, which made him look a bit disinterested at times. I feel this is a better solution)

John Petrucci A new haircut seems to come with each new album, at least, for some bandmembers, and it was fun to see some of them. Although John Myung and James LaBrie haven't changed that much, and Portnoy's hair is getting longer again, it's Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci that have done The Metal Artist Total Make-over™ this year. Rudess' hair has diminished to half-length, but it's Petrucci who stood out the most, as his new short haircut makes him look like Eric Clapton's younger (and faster) brother! All that's missing are the glasses! :-)

The set continued with an unexpected (and much appreciated) 6:00, off their 1994 album Awake, followed by Strange Déjà Vu from Scenes From a Memory. Then the band took a step further back into history to 1992's Images and Words with the rarely played Surrounded. Immediately it became clear what the drawback of such a large venue is: half the audience doesn't seem to know what they're doing here, and it struck me as to how many people were not familiar with this song. So, during the quiet intro, there were tons of people chatting away and there seemed to be a massive run on the various mobile beer-selling outlets (beer companies sponsoring a rock venue should become prohibited!).
Amsterdam setlist

The next track, Burning My Soul, seemed to bring about a bit more recognition, and at least it was loud enough to stop the chattering.

Next up was one of my favourite Dream Theater tracks: Another Hand/The Killing Hand - I absolutely adore the version that is on Live at the Marquee, but I also know that concerts where James LaBrie's voice holds that well are very rare. And the band seems to be aware of that as well, as the aggressive vocal parts of this track were toned down, completely missing the impact of the aforementioned version. Furthermore, they had added a few new instrumental parts to the track (one of which is based on the music to One Last Time) and to me all this sounded rather chaotic, and it had taken the natural flow out of the song. A pity. And to make things even worse, half the audience didn't know this song either, so during the quieter parts it seemed yet another night at the pub.
Fortunately from this moment on the concert only got better. (and better!)

Next up was a new song, Misunderstood and despite its overlong ending, it sounded great in its live form. We went back to Awake with Lie and Scarred, of which the latter featured an extended ending that featured part of the finale of Rush' 2112 and the ending of YYZ.
Another great new track was played, The Great Debate (I wish all 13-minute epics were this good) which was followed by an unusual choice: Peruvian Skies. The crowd seemed to love it, and so did I, as it is one of the best tracks of Falling Into Infinity.

The gig just seemed to go on and on, as after the ending of Peruvian Skies, they started yet another track. Back to 1992 again, with the classic Pull Me Under, and behold, the crowd got to sing along!
And then the main set really ended, nearly two hours after it had started. Often, with other bands, you're already on your way home by this time. But Dream Theater is a band of quantities, and quantity we got, for the encore features even more epics of 10 minutes plus...

First up was the great Home, during which LaBrie struggled to remember the words. "Any word, just sing any word" shouted Portnoy from behind his drumkit, to much hilarity from the other bandmembers.
Next up was a very intimate The Spirit Carries On, which resulted in many people holding a cigarette-lighter in the air, considerably touching the band, as LaBrie urged us to keep it up.

Yet the fantastic Spirit Carries On wasn't enough yet, as the band started yet another one of their classic epics, Take The Time. Much hilarity during the instrumental intro, when James LaBrie hid behind the drumkit and played the cymbals on the far side of the kit, while Portnoy was drumming on completely the opposite side. From the audience point of view this seemed really weird as the kit of far to big for one person to play on both sides.
Portnoy started singing, until LaBrie took over with "I think it's time for a chaaaaaaaaange".

The song just went on and on forever, ending with a great duel between Jordan Rudess' keyboards and John Petrucci's guitar. Rush fans could descry another one of their favourites in this section: By-Tor And Snow Dog.
And that was the real ending. It wouldn't have surprised me if the band had come back another time, but two-and-a-half hours was already a very impressive and satisfactory length. Plus the fact that Dream Theater music isn't really for the faint-hearted... James LaBrie

In all it was a very enjoyable gig. For me that is, as I haven't seen the band that often - though friends of mine complained that it was basically more of the same from previous tours. In any case the band proved to be in top shape. Portnoy, as always, flawless and very entertaining behind his kit and Petrucci and Rudess were cool as ever.
Myung was a bit like the missing man tonight, as his bass was so low in the mix that his sound was often drown out by Portnoy's drums.
And James LaBrie just remains the weakest link of the band. At least, during live performances. He is never able to reach the same standard as in the studio and his screams are often on the verge of being out of tune. I've heard live recordings where his voice was far worse than tonight's gig, but I can't help but wonder how in a perfectionist band like Dream Theater they don't find a way of preventing LaBrie from straining his voice too much.

For Dream Theater standards the band stayed very loyal to their songs. Apart from the two Rush bits and the extras during The Killing Hand, all renditions stayed very close to the original album versions, and hardly any songs were played back-to-back or in medley form. Something very unusual for the band, but I think they did this because they change the setlist daily, therefore making it easier to shuffle the songs around when they all stand on their own.

As you may have gathered from my review, I'm not very fond of large venues and the Heineken Music Hall is really on the brink of being too big. And the noisy bars on both sides of the venue, the two VIP balconies, filled with utterly disinterested looking people, and above all, those irritating mobile beer vending guys are enough to rid the concert of any atmosphere it may still have.

Having said that, tonight's gig was certainly one of the best I've seen in the past years. And that is, of course, still the most important.


February 4th, Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, by Gido van Schijndel

Shortly after the release of their amazing new album 6 Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, Dream Theater hits the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam on a wet and rather stormy Monday evening. Expectations were very high. Dream Theater is known to deliver high quality and lengthy concerts and through the various DT-forums on the internet rumours said that they w(c)ould play a magnificent set of about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Knowing that the concert would start at 20.00 and Pain of Salvation was the opening act with also a set of about 1 hour it would be difficult for some people to catch their train !
The three of us (Rob and Stefano, two colleagues from The Bank) entered the Heineken Music Hall at about 19.15. For those of you who do not know this venue: it is a very nice concert hall located in the south-east part of Amsterdam next to the Ajax-Arena soccer stadium. It has great acoustics and is commonly known as the "Black Box".

We settled ourselves on the stands when suddenly at 19.30 Pain of Salvation entered the stage. A lot of the crowd was not even in ! Although their CD's are critically acclaimed for me they were a disappointment. Luckily they played a short set of about 40 minutes. IMHO this band is very much overrated. They are a little bit of this and a little bit of that, with weak (screaming) vocals and musically not that strong.

While the stage was rebuild for Dream Theater the venue looked really crowded. It must have been a sold out evening. At about 20.30 the lights went out and a voice said "Wake up Nicolas" and seconds later The Glass Prison roared from the PA ! I expected this heavy opening and we all felt: this is going to be GOOD !
From the beginning it appeared the band was very inspired and they played very tight. Mike had a huge drumkit and he really was playing like a mad-man. How many feet and arms has this guy ?. Jordan had his usual single keyboard on a revolving stand. It is amazing how many terrific sounds this guy can play with only one keyboard. During his solos the sound of the keys was very fine but unfortunately Jordan was in general a bit low in the mix. James' voice was very good and he really tried to fire up the crowd ('Come on you people, I can not hear you !). As usual John Myung was mainly in the background. He seems to be a very shy person, but I think he is extremely important for the Dream Theater sound. His bass-guitar really thunders away. Of course John Petrucci was in the spotlight many times and quite rightly. He is an absolute maestro. He can play the heavy riffs and the solos like no one else can. It's almost impossible to catch him with a wrong tune.

John Petrucci After the first couple of songs and some words from James to the crowd, they played a medley kind of thing, lasting like forever, with songs from all of their albums. They even played The Killing Hand from When Day and Dream Unite! For me the 1st time I hear this song live and it was great: perfectly played with great solos and superb singing from James. From 6doit they also played Misunderstood and The Great Debate. This last song was absolutely fabulous with great supporting stage-lights to create the right surroundings for this song which has, as many other Dream Theater songs, superb lyrics on a difficult subject.

In the encore they played Home and The Spirit Carries on. The latter song is one of my all time Dream Theater favourites. They played this song with great inspiration with a great voice from James and an absolutely perfect solo from John Petrucci. The show ended with Take The Time which contained and amazing 'fight' between John Petrucci and Jordan. What a way to end this performance. After 2 hours and 45 minutes the guys left the stage with a thundering applause from the crowd and Mike could barely be heard when he announced: "We will see you all tomorrow with a completely different set-list" !

All in all one of the best concerts I've ever attended. Musically the guys showed their craftsmanship again with great spirit, playing their songs in a perfect mix of the heavy tracks and the more mellow ones. Overall the sound-mix was great, although the keys were a bit low in the mix. The volume was really high, but thanks to the acoustic quality of the Heineken Music Hall this was not a nuisance. Can't wait to see them again on the 2nd leg of their European tour, when they will play CD2 of 6doit in it's entirety !


February 9th, The Arena, Oberhausen, Germany, by Tim Jakobi

One thing in advance: This was by far the most incredible DT concert I've ever been to. The setlist was a dream come true and the guys were (seemingly) really enjoying themselves.

Pain Of Salvation were the opener in that huge venue, having the opportunity to play to a crowd of 9,000 people. (the real estimate lies around 6,000 -ed.) Not bad for a band of their status and they really put on an amazing show. I had never seen them before live but they absolutely knew how to go wild on stage. What I found quite amazing was that they reproduced the multi-vocal parts of their albums almost mistake-free. I was quite blown away by that!!! I wasn't familiar with their new material, but I know they played Used as the opener and another song from their last album, Ashes, a while later. Also they did one song more than on the previous gigs which was an old one that I didn't knew, so I can't give the title. James LaBrie

Then we had to wait a never-ending 30 minutes until the Finally Free outro resounded and suddenly hell broke lose. Everybody went freaking mad and The Glass Prison shone out as one of the most perfect openers the guys could have. A quarter hour of sheer heaviness is, in my opinion, the best way to start a show. Without further due they carried on with Burning My Soul. To my surprise and delight they played the "real" version, having most of Hell's Kitchen in it. Fine thing that the record company can't influence their shows!!!

Now was the time I had been hoping for this one for years and years and now, after 5 years, the boys gave it to me again: Another Hand / The Killing Hand alone would have made this show unforgettable for me (gladly enough they played the '97 version of it being lengthened to 14 minutes). Once they started Another Hand I immediately hasd to wipe away the tears from my eyes. Stuff from the debut, who would've thought of that. Hopefully we get another song from When Dream & Day Unite on futher legs of the tour. Right after that came another heavy song (it was the heaviest DT set I had ever had anyway): Under A Glass Moon. First time for me to hear it completely live. James did have slight voice problems on the high parts here as well as on many other spots during the show. It seems like he had bad day then but who cares: the power has to be there, that's the most important thing.

For chance to rest then. Lifting Shadows Off A Dream, with a very nice intro, gave us time to relax before we had to sing at the top of our voices again. Surrounded was played, and how I had hoped for this one. It was so damn awesome when James stopped singing and said, "Let me hear you now!", and 9,000 people were goin "...in aaaaaaaaaallllllll the light!". This was by far one of the most magical moments I have ever experienced. Goosebumbs all over here. On came Through My Words and Fatal Tragedy, two absolute crowd pleasers and very well anticipated by the audience (like all of the songs this evening). The crowd sang almost louder than the band (like in all of the songs this evening) and James had desperately shake his head on that. John Myung

Time for a new song again. The Great Debate really good and it was amazing watching John Myung play that insane bass part at the end of the solo. How the hell does he do this?!?! To my surprise they played Another Dimension then, a song from the second Liquid Tension Expirement album. In my opinion they shouldn't include LTE songs in the sets as it leaves quite a gap in the flow of the show. I love the songs but I'd prefer more Dream Theater material instead of the LTE stuff. On it went with a very tasty guitar solo by John Petrucci which led into Scarred which was also extended with the YYZ/2112 grande finale part.

The last new song of the night was Blind Faith (I'm glad they didn't play Misunderstood!!!). Like the two other new songs before a phenomenal live track. Funny thing was that James messed up the vocals and sang the second bridge again instead of the third one. Very likely to happen as they both start with the same line. He immediately recognized it and rolled his eyes being angry with himself which I found even more funny.
Then Jordan gave us a breath-taking keyboard solo with sounds never heard before, which led right into Lines In The Sand, my absolute favourite track off Falling Into Infinity. This one was also extended (to 16!!!! minutes) and included a killer guitar solo in which John Petrucci was switching between the original solo and improvised parts. Just amazing! Also Mike and John P. did some alternate background vocals (something with donuts etc...) which mad James laugh heavily so he could hardly continue singing. Very funny, indeed.

The set closer was Pull Me Under in a version never heard before. After the second chorus, instead of playing the solo part, they segued right into Metallica's Master Of Puppets which was played from the mellow instrumental guitar part, which was done by Jordan on piano playing it off the sheet and JP together, til the end. And James sang it!!!!! The whole venue went "Master, Master...!" and sang the whole of it all along the way. Then they segued right into the end part of Pull Me Under (Oh that this too, to solid flesh would melt, you know what I mean). This fucking, fucking rocked!!!!

The encore was no less stunning. Home made the crowd going wild again while in The Spirit Carries On we could show our singing "abilities" again. This was yet another goosebumby moment. 9,000 people singing it and many, many lights over their heads. Simply beautiful. The very last song of the night was Take The Time which contained some funny moments as well. James played drums together with Mike at the beginning of the song, then held the microphone to Mike who would then sing the first verse. At the end there was again some Rush thrown in in the form of Working Man and By-Tor And The Snow Dog and some crazy duel between John Petrucci and Jordan.

What an end to an amazing show. After more than 180 minutes they left the stage and a crowd that couldn't believe their eyes and ears. God must be a DT fan!!!!


February 19th, Sala Razzamatazz, Barcelona, Spain, by Craig O'Brien

As a relatively new fan to Dream Theater (my first CD was Scenes From A Memory), I was really looking forward to tonights gig. As the show was the last night of the bands European tour, it had been billed as a "very special" evening with no support band. Anticipation was high that either the band would debut a performance of the complete Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence song (which had not been played throughout the tour so far) or we would be in for a three-hour set of cover versions.

The sell-out crowd were clearly ready for a big night as the lights dimmed and the opening sound effects of The Glass Prison, the first track on the new CD, came blasting through the speakers. Within seconds to the roar of the crowd, the band appeared on stage and started grinding out the opening chords of this excellent song. Anyone who thought that Dream Theater would "slow" down on the new CD need only listen to this song to see that they have, if anything, increased the power of their music.

Fifteen minutes later, the song ended to the rapturous applause of the audience. The band then launched into crowd favourite 6:00, followed by Beyond This Life, the first of only two selections from the Scenes From a Memory CD. The next two songs, Lifting Shadows off a Dream and the brilliant Surrounded, slowed the pace down a little for before the next onslaught.

By this early stage in the show it was clear that the band was in great form, really enjoying themselves, and James LaBrie's vocals were sounding very strong through both the quieter, and louder songs. The band continued the set with the well received Burning My Soul followed by the crowd favourite The Killing Hand from DT's debut album. The final three songs of the first set were definitely the highlight with a very moody Peruvian Skies and Another Dimension leading straight into the storming Great Debate from the new CD. This song is Dream Theater at their best and sounded awesome live. Following the conclusion of the song, Mike Portnoy told that crowd that they were having a 20 minute intermission before returning for a second set.

Then, twenty minutes later as the lights dimmed for the second time, the familiar acoustic chords of Metallica's Battery could be heard drifting from the speakers. The crowd went wild! As the acoustic sounds gave way to the crunching riff that is Battery, almost every audience member could be heard singing along with James. Indeed, this song probably got a better response than any of Dream Theater's original material from the first set!

As the song ended, a slide appeared on the wall behind the band showing the cover to Metallica's Master of Puppets album, but with the Metallica logo changed to Dream Theater in the same style of writing. No sooner had this appeared, than the band launched into the song Master of Puppets which the crowd again greeted with a huge response.

I had expected the Metallica cover versions to end there, however, we were instead treated to a near note perfect rendition of the entire Master of Puppets album, up to and including Damage Inc. To say that this shocked the audience would be an understatement as I think there would have been a fair number of people who would have preferred to hear a second set of Dream Theater songs, rather than over an hour of Metallica covers.

Following Damage Inc., the band left the stage before returning for three encores, the highlight of which was a very moving rendition of The Spirit Carries On which was simply excellent.

This was indeed a very special gig and likely not to be repeated again. I, for one, am very glad I was there.

Setlists:

Pain Of Salvation:

Used
Fandango
Ashes
Undertow
Beyond The Pale
Spirit Of The Land / Inside

Dream Theater:

Manchester:

The Glass Prison
6:00
Strange Déjà Vu
Surrounded
Burning My Soul
Another Hand/The Killing Hand
Misunderstood
Lie
The Great Debate
Peruvian Skies
Pull Me Under

Home
The Spirit Carries On
Take the Time

London:

The Glass Prison
Under A Glass Moon
Scarred
Cover My Eyes
Strange Déjà Vu
Through My Words
Fatal Tragedy
Blind Faith
Jordan Rudess Keyboard Solo
Lines In The Sand
Misunderstood
Lie
The Spirit Carries On
Pull Me Under

Home
Hollow Years
Learning to live

Berlin:

The Glass Prison
Under a Glass Moon
Scarred
Strange Déjà Vu
Through My Words
Fatal Tragedy
Blind Faith
Jordan Rudess Keyboard Solo
Lines In The Sand
Misunderstood
Lie
The Spirit Carries On
Pull Me Under

Home
Hollow Years
Amsterdam:

The Glass Prison
6:00
Strange Déjà Vu
Surrounded
Burning My Soul
Another Hand/The Killing Hand
Misunderstood
Lie
Scarred
The Great Debate
Peruvian Skies
Pull Me Under

Home
The Spirit Carries On
Take The Time

Oberhausen:

The Glass Prison
Burning My Soul
Another Hand/The Killing Hand
Under A Glass Moon
Lifting Shadows Off A Dream
Surrounded
Through My Words
Fatal Tragedy
The Great Debate
Another Dimension
John Petrucci Guitar Solo
Scarred
Blind Faith
Jordan Rudess Keyboard Solo
Lines In The Sand
Pull Me Under / Master Of Puppets

Home
The Spirit Carries On
Take The Time

Barcelona:

The Glass Prison
6:00
Beyond This Life
Lifting Shadows Off A Dream
Surrounded
Burning My Soul
Another Hand/The Killing Hand
Another Dimension
Peruvian Skies
The Great Debate

Battery
Master Of Puppets
The Thing That Should Not Be
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Disposable Heroes
Leper Messiah
Orion
Damage, Inc.

The Spirit Carries On
Take The Time
Stop Looking At Me

Note: If anyone has anything to add to above reviews, or a review of a gig that isn't here yet, please send them to me, and I'll add them.

All photos © Stephan Kunze for Gästeliste

 

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