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Dream Theater

Sunday 23rd April 2017

Hammersmith Apollo, London

In a career lasting more than 30 years, the US Prog Metal quintet Dream Theater have continued to attract a large and passionate fan base, as well garnering critical acclaim and even the odd Grammy nomination along the way. Last year they released the epic 2 CD concept album 'The Astonishing' and then proceeded to tour, playing the entire album in its entirety (very Prog!). Now swiftly following on, this current tour is in support of the 25th anniversary of the release of their breakthrough album 'Images and Words'.

We are promised a selection of fan favourites, as well as the entire album, so there is a keen sense of anticipation tonight. From the opening salvo of crunching chords that herald 'The Dark Eternal Night', the band had the audience in its palm. Through its twists and turns we went, and there was even a keyboard solo from Jordan Rudess thrown in. It finished with one of the best guitar outro riffs ever put on record. Next up was 'The Bigger Picture' from their self titled album, followed by 'Hell's Kitchen', an instrumental from the 'Falling Into Infinity' album. We were then treated to a couple of singalongs from 'The Astonishing' in the form of 'The Gift of Music' and 'Our New World'.

The musicianship was exemplary, as we have come to expect, and it was time to slow things down a bit. John Myung is the quiet man of the band but is up there with the best in terms of his bass playing. This was now showcased in his rendition of a bass composition by Jaco Pastorius called 'Portait of Tracy'. The quiet didn't last too long though as he finished off by launching into 'As I Am'. This is from their most Metal of albums 'Train of Thought' and they never sounded more like Metallica than they did on that album. Just to reinforce that opinion, they even inserted a chorus from 'Enter Sandman' before the end of the song! The conclusion of Act 1 was 'Breaking All Illusions' from drummer Mike Mangini's debut album 'A Dramatic Turn of Events'. Time for a breather!

Act 2 was all about 'Images and Words'. The band played the album from start to finish and it is remarkable the sheer range and type of song on this firm fan favourite. From the crunch of 'Metropolis Part 1' to the delicate 'Wait for Sleep', they swept the audience up and gave us a thrilling ride. The prowess of guitarist John Petrucci shone through again and again, but the whole band were playing at the top of their game. I, for one, have never seen them play better. At the end of the closing track, 'Learning to Live', the audience was on their feet raising the roof!

The encore was the 25 minute suite 'A Change of Seasons'. A fitting end - this was recorded around the time of 'Images and Words' but was released separately. The near sell out crowd lapped it all up and before long it was all over and we were spilling out into the London night. This was Prog Metal at its finest and was as good as this author has seen them. If you get the chance to catch them live - do it!!

Set List:

Act 1

The Dark Eternal Night

The Bigger Picture

Hell's Kitchen

The Gift of Music

Our New World

Portrait of Tracy

As I Am

Breaking All Illusions

Act 2 Images and Words

Pull Me Under

Another Day

Take The Time


Metropolis Part 1

The Miracle And The Sleeper

Under A Glass Moon

Wait For Sleep

Learning To Live

Act 3

A Change Of Seasons

Steve P.

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