TOUR: Dream Theater / Train of Thought World Tour
VENUE: The Warfield -- San Francisco, CA
DATE: Friday, March 5th, 2004
ATTENDED W/: Motorhead Jeff, Bouville
GEAR WORN: n/a
MERCH PURCHASED: None
MOSHING REPORT: None
EDDIES AWARDED: 8.5
REVIEWED: February 2nd, 2005
In late 2003 and early 2004, the IMBB was under constant bombardment by posts of fans of Dream Theater and Iced Earth. Since I had no dog in either fight, I rarely participated in the threads. Despite my experience in Los Angeles, Dance of Death still delivered an imagined post-concert euphoria that had to be slowly massaged out of my system. TicketAssRapeMaster had a listing with relatively inexpensive tickets for a Dream Theater show in San Francisco the first week of March. I snapped up some tickets and bought two albums, “Train of Thought” and “Scenes From a Memory”, in preparation for the show.
Motorhead Jeff was in the Bay Area for a teacher’s conference already, so he decided to come with me. On the way, we picked up Bouville (for the first time) at Stanford for our first real concert together, my first show at the Warfield Theater in the City. Ignorantly parking nine city blocks away, we hiked up the streets of San Francisco to find the theater. I bought two boxes of Girl Scout cookies on the way and consumed one on the run. I offered the other to a bum who was pestering us in line outfield the theater, but he turned me down. I guess he wasn’t that hungry after all.
The Warfield Theater opened in the 1920s; the place reeks of history and nostalgia. As you walk in, you pass by the famous bills from yesteryear. The theater itself has two levels: a main (slightly subdivided) floor and a very steep upper section above consisting of rows and rows of seats. MagazineUSA’s city guide has this description: “The Victorian influence can be seen in the architecture and accoutrement, ornate ceiling designs, chandeliers, and wrought-iron balustrades. Gold-leafed opera boxes overlook the palatial stage and the period mural that brightens up the top of the stage. “
The concert started at least 30 minutes late because the roadies were having technical difficulties with the video screens. Before the band took the stage, the audience was treated to a retrospective covering at least ten years of albums and tours. Dream Theater played two sets, each lasting more than an hour:
As I Am
This Dying Soul
Beyond This Life (w/ extended improv section)
Hollow Years (w/ extended guitar solo)
War Inside My Head
The Test That Stumped Them All
Trial of Tears
Honor Thy Father
Mother, Father (Journey)
Only a Matter of Time
A Mind Beside Itself:
II Voices (abridged)
III The Silent Man (electric version)
In the Name of God
Dream Theater was my first non-Maiden metal concert. The lower pit began with a low intensity sardine can thing but quickly loosened up. I expended very little effort to plow my way three off center stage during As I Am. A couple kids threw some elbows during This Dying Soul, which I returned – my first baby moshing steps. The “pit” denizens stared at us like we were Giants fans at Dodger stadium, so we stopped. Someone lit up a reefer, and several people screamed for it to be put out. What the fuck? I thought this was a metal concert… maybe not. With the very brief exceptions of the set openings, everybody literally just stood there, staring at the stage with frozen faces. It was fucking weird.
Originally formed as Majesty, Dream Theater renamed itself after an artsy movie theater a few minutes from my house here on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Every member of the band is a virtuoso on his own right. John Myung plays a monstrous six string bass. The drummer, Mike Portnoy simply is not human; he is that damn good. What can I say about John Petrucci on guitar? Take all the standard clichés and magnify them by a couple orders of magnitude. Dream Theater’s man on keyboards, Jordan Rudess began studying at Julliard at the age of nine. James LaBrie’s vocals are some of the finest I’ve ever heard in and out of metal.
Each of the band members has their own stage personality. John Myung stands as still his fans, one eye occasionally peaking through his long black hair – kind of like that scary bitch in The Ring. James LaBrie often left the stage when lengthy instrumentals were up. Portnoy has one of the largest drum kits (like two or three melded together) on the planet and makes good use of it; I tell you the man is not human. Jordan’s keyboard swivels and he gets into his music. The one guy I didn’t watch that much was Petrucci because my eyes stayed on Myung’s bass playing.
My problem with Dream Theater is that they are too damn good. While technically brilliant, I experienced certain coldness from their albums. An arctic chill blew my way several times in San Francisco while watching and listening to their performance. Maybe I’m mistaking coldness for complexity. Dream Theater’s music is best digested slowly. An acquired taste, I appreciate them much more now than I did a year earlier.
Many Dream Theater fans did not appreciate the Journey cover. Many people were puzzled by it, given the strength of DT’s albums. It didn’t matter to me because most of the music was new to my ears anyways. What the fuck did I know?
Before the concert, Bouville screamed “Blaze Is The Messiah!” in the pit. During the intermission, he proselytized among the youth. As we left the building, he screamed his lungs out for Blaze. If you are at a concert in the San Francisco Bay Area and hear some shout “BLAZE IS THE MESSIAH!
”, Bouville is with you.
Dream Theater might have been the first band to receive an Eddie rating. Unfortunately, their score would have been lost with the IMBB crash. Retrospectively, I’m awarding the band 8.5 Eddies for the night. Technically, they are superior to any band I can think of, but the feeling I had after the concert was something like: “Yeah, I’m glad I went. Yeah, that was some impressive shit. Anyone want to see Metallica next month?” The next time I see Dream Theater, I’ll probably stand and gawk just like the rest of the lemmings.