Way over 100 shows in 2012- a personal record!
I wouldn’t have missed this show for anything and I made it a point to get a good seat by using a pre-sale code and getting a seat pretty close to the stage. I saw both bands playing within a month of each other last year. I’m pretty sure the show Dream Theater played at the Nokia last September was the best concert I’ve ever attended. I’d also seen them many times with Mike Portnoy, but being a long time fan of Mike Mangini as well, I am just as happy with him in the group, if not more.
I saw Tony Levin’s trio open for Adrian Belew’s trio last year at The Canyon. Both bands were awesome in a weird way and then they joined up to make a super group of insane music. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy that concert very much- I was exhausted and that music tends to take a lot out of the listener. I was particularly impressed with Julie Slick and Tobias Ralph (from Adrian Belew’s trio), who I’d never heard of before. I also really liked Pat Mastelotto and Tony Levin’s rhythms. I did have issues with the guitar playing. Both guys played some parts great and other parts had me scratching my head. The other tough thing was that I stood behind Danny Carey for most of that show and he’s a big, tall guy.
The two trios merged into a double trio that’s now called the Crimson Projeckt. The Gibson was a great sounding venue for their music. It sounded really good and I enjoyed most of the performance. The highlight was when Danny Carey came out onstage and did a drum duel with Tobias Ralph. That was pretty nuts.
I think I have a deep-seeded resentment of Adrian Belew when I saw him play guitar for David Bowie at Dodger Stadium back in 1990. His guitar work just sounded like noise to me. He is very talented, but I ‘m not a big fan of his singing or some of his guitar playing. Markus Reuter is a great guitarist, but the “touch” guitar” kind of bugs me after a while. Still, this was a solid performance even though many were left scratching their heads when it was over.
Pound for pound, there isn’t a better rock-oriented musical group than Dream Theater- instrumentally, anyway.
Anyway, John Petrucci is a master of the guitar. Jordan Ruddess is a maestro on the keyboards and John Myung and Mike Mangini make for an incredible rhythm section.
A lot of bands have certain members that are so good, that fans can look the other way when someone else in the band isn’t matching their level of skill. There are tons of examples that come to mind (this show, in particular) and I still contend that there’s a singer out there that could make this virtuoso band completely unbeatable.
Having said that, this was another show where Dream Theater seems to keep upping their level of musicianship and just becomes more and more impressive as a band. The entire concert was thrilling from beginning to end. The sound quality wasn’t as good here as it was at the Nokia and I think that’s my one complaint about the show (perhaps it was better back in loge the further back you got, but I am not sure). And I was hoping to catch a drum stick or guitar pick at the end, but they didn’t seem to throw anything into the crowd at the end of the show. No big deal…
This was definitely the best show I’ve seen this year so far (dropping the Queen Extravaganza last Monday down to #2) and I doubt anything else will come close to this one for a while…
Dream Is Collapsing
(Hans Zimmer song)
Bridges in the Sky
The Dark Eternal Night
This is the Life
The Root of All Evil
Lost Not Forgotten
A Fortune in Lies
On the Backs of Angels
War Inside My Head
The Test that Stumped Them All
The Spirit Carries On
Breaking All Illusions
Metropolis Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper