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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews

Dream Theater

Live In Chicago, February 13th, 2000

Review by Gary Hill

When a band releases a concept album, there is always the temptation to come out on tour and do the entire album from beginning to end. Quite a few bands have tried it. The list includes Pink Floyd, Queensryche and Yes. There have been some successes and some failures with this approach. When it works well, it is often looked upon in retrospect as being the one tour to not have missed. Certainly this Dream Theater tour fits into that category.
The band turned their latest release into an hour-and-a-half live musical tour de force, complete with drama, emotion and great production values. All of the members put in wonderful performance, augmenting the composition while keeping it true to the studio rendition. The Scenes From A Memory album really came to life in this live rendition, gaining power, emotion and immediacy. It is a twisting and sometimes dark story that has an uplifting message. The capacity crowd was very enthusiastic, giving the band a standing ovation for their efforts.
The only member to actually get a full-blown solo was newcomer keysman Jordan Rudess. It was a performance that was wonderful keyboard frenzy based on themes from the album. At times he took on modes similar to prog greats Emerson and Wakeman, but the end result was all Rudess.

Gary Hill
 
Gary Hill
   
After they completed the Scenes album, the remainder of the show consisted of a medley sort of approach covering a solid cross-section of the band's catalog. It even included a short rendition of "Wipe Out". As good as that section of the show was, though; it really paled in comparison to the drama that had just been presented.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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