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Dream Theater

Live at the Riviera Theater, Chicago IL, August 12, 2000

Review by Steve Alspach

Dream Theater were on their Metropolis 2000 tour, and they performed a number of songs from their latest album, "Scenes From a Memory", but they performed a solid two hour-twenty minute show that never let up in intensity. The band opened with "Metropolis" from their most recent album. The show actually started with soft, moody keyboards, and the band got a standing ovation before playing a single note. They made no bones about what they were about - loud, precise rock, and virtuosity from all of its members. The dual lines between guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess were in evidence all night. The stage also had six screens - two on top, and two sets of two in front of the monitors - that flashed snippets of song lyrics or images that corresponded perfectly with the music. James LaBrie was in good form all night. It takes a powerful vocalist to front a band like Dream Theater, but he did it with no problem. LaBrie also had the smarts to leave the stage during the longer instrumental passages. When the band is in full flight, what can one do but step aside? John Petrucci is known as one of the fastest, most fluent guitarists in rock music, and he showed his chops all night. Jason Rudess was able to coax a myriad of sounds with just one keyboard. John Myung, on bass, showed little flash, but was more than competent in his role with the band. Mike Portnoy, on drums, was nothing short of astounding. He laid down the beat with flair, and his inventiveness never wavered through the night. Petrucci and Rudess each had solo spotlights during the show. Petrucci's solo started off softly, with Rudess playing along with chordal accompaniment. Petrucci, then, slowly built up in speed and was soon playing at enormous speed. Rudess went for speed right off the bat, and few keyboardists, if any, can match the man in terms of speed. Early in the show LaBrie mentioned that Dream Theater was going to play songs throughout their career, and it was no lie. The band opened with Metropolis, then went into the "Scenes From a Memory" album for their next three songs, and then they played songs from "Falling Into Infinity," "Awake," and "Images and Words" The encore left Dream Theater fans in ecstasy - with Robin Williams on the stage screens acting from "Dead Poet's Society," the band played "A Change of Seasons" in its entirety. My watch stopped about an hour earlier (is Rudess a powerful keyboard player or what?), so I couldn't gauge how long the encore was, but it would be safe to put it at the 25-minute mark. The band put all they had in this song, including a snippet of the theme from "The Simpsons."

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