Tonight was the final night of the UK leg of Dream Theater’s European tour, at an almost sold out Civic Hall in Wolverhampton. The gig was an all-seated one with no support act, and Dream Theater doing two sets.
The night started with projections onto a curtain in front of the stage as the intro tape played before the curtain dropped to reveal the band on stage who kicked the first song off before singer James LaBrie came out on stage. With a giant LED screen behind the band the visuals were spectacular, but the visuals paled into insignificance when compared to the music. This was a simply incredible performance, and once I’d taken photos for the first fifteen minutes of the show I was able to sit down and enjoy the show. This was definitely one of those shows that you can describe as flawless (and that’s not something that happens often). The lighting was superb, the sound was superb, the video on the back screen worked well – technically everything was perfect. As for the band, they were spot on musically and they put in great performances too. I’ve seen the band before but at festivals and it didn’t have anywhere near the impact that tonight’s show did – they’re definitely a band better enjoyed at their own shows rather than as part of a large festival.
Jordan Rudess on keyboards had two keyboards which he used during the show, one of which was on a stand that rotated allowing him to face different parts of the crowd, and which also tilted at an angle giving the crowd a view of the keys as he played. At times the screen at the back of the stage showed a view from a tiny camera mounted above the keyboard showing his hands playing the keyboards.
There were lots of instrumental sections with some stunning guitar work. All the band members had time in the spotlight, particularly during the instrumental parts. Drum solos can be incredibly boring but Mike Mangini with his giant drum kit did a great drum solo that didnt bore at all.
A short 15 minute interval barely gave people chance to go to the toilet and the bar before the show kicked off again for the second set of the night. As before it was marked with excellent songs, great musicianship and great performances.
Tonight was a fantastic night – a gig that’s going to be hard to beat, and it was great that the band played for so long.
The Enemy Inside
The Shattered Fortress
On the Backs of Angels
The Looking Glass
Trial of Tears
(With drum solo by Mike Mangini)
Along for the Ride
Breaking All Illusions
Lifting Shadows Off a Dream
Strange Déjà Vu
The Dance of Eternity