I saw Dream Theater last Summer at Prog Nation '09, and to be honest, I wasn't impressed. I went with my dad and a couple friends who all loved DT, so I gave them a shot. It's not like I hated them, I just wasn't totally blown away like everybody told me I would be.
Fast forward to a few months ago. I'm doing my daily scan of MassConcerts, and I see that Dream Theater is playing the Worcester Palladium, a club. I freaked out and immediately got tix for me and my Dad. I wanted to give them another shot, so why not go to one of 4 club gigs this year?
An added bonus was Charred Walls of the Damned was also on the bill. I've loved Ripper for years, but I've never gotten a chance to see him live with any of the bands he's been in. Opening the show was comedian Don Jamieson, who's on That Metal Show on VH1 Classic.
Don was really funny in my opinion. He spouted off mostly metal-based humor that the crowd loved("The only thing longer than Tommy Lee's penis is a Dream Theater song"). He told jokes for about 20 minutes, until he suddenly brought on Charred Walls of the Damned. They tuned for a few minutes then started quickly.
My first qualm about their set was the sound. I couldn't distinguish anything other than the drums and the vocals. The guitars and bass were just a blur of sound. That being said, the two people that really shined were Ripper and Richard Christy.
My next annoyance at this set had nothing to do with the band. It took until "Ghost Town" 4-5 songs in for anyone to start moving at all. A pit finally started during that song, and the show got 10x better due to the crowd energy.
I'm awful at recording an entire set start to finish, so I only have a fragmented description of the list. If anybody knows the exact order, let me know so I can edit it.
(very rough)Charred Walls of the Damned Set:
Blood On Wood
From The Abyss
Creating Our Machine
Scream Machine (Beyond Fear cover)
a few more in the middle that I can't remember
Fear In The Sky
Voices Within Walls
I collided heads with one of the guys in the pit, so I went back to the bar to get a couple waters in between CWotD and Dream Theater. Due to this, I was unable to get as close as I wanted for DT.
After about 30-45 minutes, an awesome keyboard intro sounded, and the stage was revealed, showing Petrucci, Portnoy, Myung, and Rudess playing the intro to A Nightmare To Remember. When the vocals came in, out ran James LaBrie in his signature "wait for the vocals to come in to come onstage" fashion. As this first song went on, I immediately knew that this show was going to be special.
Seeing Dream Theater in a club was an amazing experience. I was 100x closer to the stage than I was at last year's Prog Nation at the Bank of America Pavilion. It was so much more intimate to be able to see all of their faces and attempt to make eye contact with them. The setlist was also so much better this time. I was disappointed at their last set, but this one blew me away.
Mike Portnoy's kids were in attendance, in the little VIP box. He kept pointing to them and during a couple of his backing vocal lines, he would say things like "Hi Melody and Max!" and smile at them. It was kinda cool seeing how happy he was to have his kids watch one of his band's shows.
Highlight of the show for me: Jordan Rudess and John Petrucci having a Keytar-Guitar Duel. It was during Metropolis Pt. 1 right after the bass solo. It lasted for quite a long time, and they really showed their technical proficiency and knack for improvisation during it.
All in all, it was a great show. They totally converted me to be a fan. I will 100% definitely see them the next time they have a stop in Massachusetts. Hopefully this wasn't the only time I'll be able to see them in a club setting.
Dream Theater Set:
A Nightmare To Remember
A Rite Of Passage
As I Am
Pull Me Under / Metropolis Pt. 1
The Count of Tuscany