Sunday, 30 April 2017

Dream Theater 04.29.17 at Sala CUBEC!, Barakaldo

Today I don't want to write a regular review, in a technical tone. These are more the thoughts of a fan that had a great time with one of her favourite bands...
Performing The Bigger Picture
As you know, Dream Theater is now touring to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the album that made them international (as stated by LaBrie during the show): Images and Words.
It's more or less 20:00 pm, the venue is full. The stage looks impressively big, even if I'm not in the first rows and, seeing the gigantic drumset, I feel something similar to when I saw two timpani sets on the stage for the orchestra to play Mahler. It's just a grandiloquent declaration.
And finally the show starts, they come onstage and the very first chord launches me back to a lost memory of the first time I experienced what Dream Theater is (it was all thanks to a copy of the Metal Hammer magazine, now I remember). The Dark Eternal Night immediately gets us all headbanging. Soon I realize that, even though I've listened to the song a thousand times, I don't know the lyrics, but that's not a problem. Meanwhile, there are a zillion things, details, to focus on, maybe too many. Here there is John Myung, playing impossible bass lines (although at some moments not all notes played were clearly understandable, and that's a pity); there, John Petrucci runs his fingers on his guitar as nonchalantly as though he were just... don't know, writing his name. James LaBrie engages us to our full with his characteristic tenor voice (I could recognize it amongst a million), and Jordan Rudess is a technological musical display of grandeur himself, playing in unnatural positions for a keyboardist, and showing off his gadgets. Nevertheless, what got my attention during all (and seriously I mean, all) the show, was Mike Mangini playing drums. The phrasing, the clarity with which every part is heard and understood, the control he has over the whole drumset (a thousand cymbals, toms, and octobans included)... everything. That's probably why my favourite moment was the drum solo!
There are two sets to be played. The first includes a mix of different songs from different albums. The second consists of the whole Images and Words. During the first part, We enjoy songs such as the mentioned The Dark Eternal Night, The Bigger Picture, Breaking All Illusions or As I Am, the latter including a mashup with Metallica's Enter Sandman, which is introduced as seamlessly and smoothly (or even more) as a make-before-break handover (sorry for the reference, blame my profession for it). That ability always surprises me. 
From left to right: John Myung, Jordan Rudess, Mike Mangini,
James LaBrie and John Pretrucci
The second set was maybe a bit too dense for me. Many things going on everywhere, in every instrument at every moment, rhythm changes that are virtually impossible to follow. Well, it's Dream Theater, what did you expect. However, I was really expecting to hear Another Day, and my expectations were fulfilled (except that I absolutely love the sax part and it sounded a bit too synthetic). Something I'd like to highlight from this part, even though it has little to do with the music itself, is that I realized James LaBrie is a great communicator. From time to time, between songs, he talks to us, and accompanies his speech with gestures that make the whole message understandable, even though some words are hard to catch. In other words, he knows how to reach the audience, not only musically, which is something to be thankful for.
So, all in all, it was a great show. A dream come true, one could say (and it couldn't be said better). I missed some songs being played, and at times I would've liked to hear the keyboard louder, but else, it was pretty much the perfect show. Over three hours of pure progressive majesty.

PD: Sorry for the bad quality pics. There was no way to get better ones...