Dream Theater -- Boston, MA -- March 25th, 2014
An Evening With Dream Theater
Along For The Ride North American Tour
Boston Opera House
March 25th, 2014
Act I: False Awakening Suite
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/Mangini solo)
7. Along For The Ride
8. Breaking All Illusions
9. The Mirror
11. Lifting Shadows off a Dream
13. Space-Dye Vest
14. Illumination Theory
15. Overture 1928
16. Strange Deja Vu
17. The Dance of Eternity
18. Finally Free
For me, Dream Theater is summed up to date as such: 4 years, 4 shows, 4 different venues. My first time seeing DT was in 2010 at the Palladium which was an off-date show while they were opening for Maiden. Show #2 was at the Orpheum in 2011 with Trivium. The show before this evening was in 2012 at the Pavilion with the Crimson ProjeKCt. I have zero complaints about any of the aforementioned shows, however, as soon as I arrived at the what I assumed to be oddball Boston Opera House venue, I knew I was in for a treat, along with the other 2,699 people in attendance.
To my knowledge, this is the first concert in the hard rock/metal genres to be showcased at the Opera House (please correct me if I'm wrong on that one). If you're from around here, think of the layout of the Orpheum. Only with much more comfortable seats and a shit ton more leg room for tall fat asses like myself.
Anywhoo, to the show at hand. Left work at 530, parked at Sullivan Station, took the Orange Line to Downtown Crossing, walked a couple blocks and I find myself staring at this classic style theater. The staff were nice enough to let everyone wait in the hall to avoid freezing our balls/tits off (30 degrees a week before April. This is supposedly Spring, yes?). Doors opened at 630 and as soon as I find my seat, one of the staff hands me a playbill. Yes, a playbill. At a metal show. Then it entered into my mind that this was being recorded for DT's next Blu-Ray concert and that at some point during the show, the Berklee World Choir & Berklee String Ensemble would be making an appearance. Plus, it's at a venue where every other show staged here has a playbill. Alrighty, that makes sense now.
Promptly at 7:30PM, as the ticket said, the show began. The one thing I immediately noticed was James LaBrie. 4th time seeing DT and this was EASILY the best I've heard him sound in person. Petrucci was rocking his Jesus hair/beard and a new signature guitar line from what I could decipher (new ones have pickguards....don't mind me, gear nerd here). Not much to say about Myung...since he never has much to say (awesome bass tone though, that 6 string EBMM is the tits). Rudess was his wacky self all night long (two keytar solos!) and Sir Mangini of Planet Drumulak sounded fan-fucking-tastic.
Act I lasted from 7:30 to 8:50 and the band took a 15 minute intermission. Upon returning at 9:05, they broke into The Mirror and I could sense the show starting to go into overdrive. Whether it be an extra boost for filming or returning to the old stomping grounds, everyone kicked it into high gear. After The Mirror, LaBrie mentioned that this was the 20th anniversary of Awake and the 15th anniversary of Scenes From A Memory, therefore, they'd be paying "special attention" to these albums tonight. Lifting Shadows off a Dream & Space-Dye Vest were especially nice due to the theater's acoustics. The low tempo stuff was about as clear and punctual as one could ask for in any setting.
At the conclusion of Space-Dye Vest, James introduced the Berklee World Choir & Berklee String/Horn Ensemble. They remained in the pit & on stage for the remainder of the concert. Then came the highlight of the show for me, a version of Illumination Theory that highlighted each person on stage over the nearly 20 minutes of the composition. The strings/horns played a particularly nice piece halfway through.
Finally came the 4 song encore, all of which highlighted Scenes From A Memory. The choir was featured prominently during the final act. I'm looking forward to getting this when it gets released on Blu-Ray. Not even to say OOOO I WUZ THAR, but because I know it'll be a memory I want to relive at least a few more times. That's how fucking good this show was. At the final note, it was 10:33PM. Minus the intermission and you have a rock solid 45 bucks spent for a 15th row orchestra seat and 2 hours, 48 minutes of pure music enjoyment.
I seriously feel rejuvenated after this show. This was the first show I've been to in 7 1/2 months due to a combination of real bad timing, unemployment/general lack of dough and personal bullshit. Longest drought I've ever been in since I started attending concerts in 2007. 2 more weeks until my next show and I cannot wait for it. My days of returning to 20+ shows a year could very well reboot itself this year.