Live at Ice Hall, HELSINKI
REVIEW AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ
I don’t know if it’s something to do with the recent revival of older metal/hard rock on the scene – initiated by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Mötley Crue. It seems that metal is more popular than ever. Almost every concert in Finland is selling pretty well, and tonight, Dream Theater had the sold-out crowd head-banging in wild abandon for the duration of their two-and-a-half-hour set. It’s quite impressive when we talk about a band that plays a heavy, complex, and hard-driving hybrid of metal and progressive rock.
Dream Theater doesn’t have a support act on this tour because the shows are special concerts, and the band itself plays two separate sets, which total over 145 minutes every night. After a long intro tape, which was a theme of “Clockwork Orange,” the band took the stage about 08:00 PM, and they instantly captivated the whole audience with the crushing new album opening track “Root Of All Evil” followed by another new heavy track “Panic Attack.” The band then started its musical crusade with “Another Won,” a track by pre-Dream Theater band Majesty. Very rarely played stuff! More gems followed: “A Fortune In Lies” from their classic debut “When Dream And Day Unite” and “Under A Glass Moon” from the band’s third and breakthrough album “Images and Words.”
At this point, I learned the name of the game, and I understood that the band is going to play something in order from each Dream Theater album, so the next song must be something from my all-time fave DT album AWAKE, I was waiting for “6:00,” but to my big surprise they did “The Mirror.” Not a wrong choice, especially when they next did another rarely played AWAKE track “Lie.” Still, no “6:00″ but this concert consists of two different parts, so there will still be enough time for that one .” Peruvian Skies” then represented FALLING INTO INFINITY. That album was a brave attempt to woo a more mainstream audience and has resulted in the band’s weakest effort since their debut. Still, there are some good moments, and “Peruvian Skies” is one of them.
Unlike its predecessor, the 1999 studio sequel, “Scenes from a Memory,” delivered the band back straight into old-fashioned, progressive rock, and it’s one of the band’s finest works to date. It is a milestone in their career, finding all of the band’s best attributes amalgamated into a fully-realized whole. I remember when the band did a tour for “Scenes..” They then did the whole album live. They only did “Fatal Tragedy,” which is a great song, as everything is, on that brilliant album.
Even successor album SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE may not be another classic, but it’s still another good addition to their impressive discography. The album’s overall sound is the heaviest Dream Theater to date, and the song “About the Crash” was probably the heaviest track played tonight. “Losing Time/Grand Finale” was the final song of the first act, and then it was time to have a small break. Overall this first part was musically really brilliant, and it took a retrospective look at the band’s past. Lot’s of surprises and rarely played gems every here and there. Visually this band has never been anything special when the guys mainly concentrate on playing but compared to previous shows I’ve seen in the past, and they now had perfect vibes. Especially singer James LaBrie surprised many with his aggression and energetic performance. Picking up the mood and buzzing off the audience’s enthusiasm, James treats us to some pretty damn excellent improvised vocals, and he managed to sound fresh and heartfelt.
The rest of the band: guitarist John Petrucci, bassist John Myung, drummer Mike Portnoy, all of whom once trained together at Berklee, and keyboardist Jordan Rudess showed impressive ability on their respective instruments, and fortunately, no one didn’t collapse to do over length soloing but only a couple brief solo spots now and then which were pretty and practical.
After A twenty-minute break, the second act soon started, and the band continued where they left off. “As I Am” and “This Dying Soul,” both from the 2003 album TRAIN OF THOUGHT, opened the game and everything went on smoothly like in the beginning. To my surprise, at this point, it seemed that obviously, most of the crowd didn’t know the more recent material too well. It became clear at the latest when the band next played three songs from their latest OCTAVARIUM album. These three tracks: “Never Enough,” “Sacrificed Sons,” and the album title track “Octavarium,” caused a massive crowd invasion towards public houses, and so I did myself too. I’m not the biggest fan of some “Octavarium” material, and these overlong, complicated, and somewhat dull songs, running time totally over 30 minutes, wiped out all the good vibes. Suddenly the whole gig was turning to be quite dull… End of act two.
The audience seemed rather tired at this point, but still, most of them had strength enough to give the band a big cheer when the guys returned on stage for the final time. The first encore was the 14-minute epic “In The Name Of God” from TRAIN OF THOUGHT, and it included a great keyboard solo by Jordan Rudess. Even it’s a great song, and it seemed that most of the crowd didn’t recognize it too well. Fortunately, things got much better when they next did their biggest hit song to date, “Pull Me Under,” which was the most obviously appreciated of the evening’s songs. Things got even better when the band next abruptly started launching into their 1992 standout, “Metropolis Pt. 1”, which was the last and final encore today. However, I was still waiting for more and especially “6:00,” but it never happened. In summary, I guess this gig would have ranked as great despite the “weak” period at the end of the second act. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of this band, I still really enjoyed it, and this sure was a fantastic evening for any die-hard Dream Theater fan.
Jordan Rudess was saying hello to fans!
SPECIAL THANX TO MII SARASKOSKI FROM MEDIANOCHE OY FOR THE PHOTO PASS AND OTHER HELP !!
01. Clockwork Orange (Intro)
02. The Root Of All Evil
03. Panic Attack
04. Another Won
05. A Fortune In Lies
06. Under A Glass Moon
09. Peruvian Skies
10. Fatal Tragedy
11. About To Crash
12. Losing Time / Grand Finale
12. As I Am
13. This Dying Soul
14. Never Enough
15. Sacrificed Sons
17. In The Name Of God
18. Pull Me Under
19. Metropolis Pt. 1
MORE PICTURES FROM HELSINKI CONCERT!