Dream Theater @ Symphony Hall, 18th February 2023
Birmingham put on its leather jacket and black T-shirt and went out on a Saturday night to the Symphony Hall for some progressive metal masterpieces from Dream Theater. Formed in Boston, Massachusetts almost 40 years ago, the band came to the UK as part of their Top of the World tour, in support of their 15th album.
To start the night, Finnish metal band Arion got the crowd excited and ready for the long-awaited show. They made the most out of their 30 minute set and had great crowd interaction, prompting us to sing along and cheer to the outstanding riffs and vocals. They had great confidence and energy, showing they were not new to the stage.
Following a short break of classical music in the background, Dream Theater entered the stage, with Mike Mangini (drums), John Petrucci (guitar), Jordan Rudess (keyboards) and John Myung (bass) taking their places and starting to play and lead singer James LaBrie joining shortly after while the crowd was getting louder and louder.
Their brilliant talent took over the room as they opened with The Alien, the first track from their newest album, A View from the Top of the World. The majestic venue blended with the video projections and light show and we were immersed into the orchestral theatrical performance happening in front of our eyes. Everyone was excited to finally witness a GRAMMY -worthy showpiece that won last year for Best Metal Performance.
Dream Theater doesn’t stop at musical talent, as their charisma formed an even stronger bond with the audience, as they wished everyone a good night after two songs and made us laugh. Frontman James LaBrie made jokes about their famous long songs and asked the crowd what they were drinking. Jokes aside, he also announced that, after coming to the UK for over 30 years, we’re sadly not going to see them again for a while, to which the crowd reacted accordingly.
The set was a mix of everything, bringing back albums embraced worldwide including Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Awake and Black Clouds & Silver Linings. They played three more songs from their latest album, including A View from the Top of the World, a 20-minutes long hypnotic journey with incredible vocals, dreamy piano notes and guitar riffs that left us speechless. Another highlight was Pull Me Under from Images and Words, taking the fans back to the beginning with its catchy chorus and heavy riffs.
The band left the stage following some well deserved standing ovations and returned shortly with The Count of Tuscany, a mix of captivating lyrical narrative and incredible instrumentals. The almost 20 minute piece came to an end way too soon and the crowd got up again to show their massive respect for the band. It was truly an immersive melodic story tale that needs to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
1. The Alien
3. Sleeping Giant
4. Bridges in the Sky
5. Caught in a Web
6. Answering the Call
7. Solitary Shell
8. About the Crash
9. Losing Time
10. Pull Me Under
11. A View From the Top of the World
12. The Count of Tuscany
Review and photographs: Andra Tudoran
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