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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Fates Warning

Live in Joliet, Illinois, November 2013

Review by Greg Olma

It has been a little over a decade since the mighty Fates Warning toured near Chicago.  In fact, the last time they were in these parts was at the Aragon Ballroom in July of 2003.  Back then they were the opening act for both Queensryche and Dream Theater.  This time around, I’m happy to say, we got a headlining set from the guys.  Not only was I glad that they were able to give us a full show, they also decided to start their tour in Joliet, Illinois. 

The band hit the stage with a new track “One Thousand Fires” off of their newest disc Darkness in a Different Light.  I really like the new material and live it is even better.  They also played “I Am” and the first single “Firefly” from the same album.  Even though Fates Warning has an extensive back catalogue, I was happy to see them perform new material (especially when the material is that strong).  As I think back to the set list, I realized that they played something from every record starting with Perfect Symmetry.  Sure, we got the “hits” like “Through Different Eyes,” “Point Of View” and “Eye To Eye” but we also got a tripe dose of cuts from A Pleasant Shade Of Grey.  When I talk to other fans, Disconnected is an album that often gets overlooked but there is some great stuff on there and the band made sure that “One” and “Pieces of Me” got into the set.  As I mentioned earlier, Fates Warning performed material from most of their catalogue making sure to get to the well-known tracks along with performing less known songs.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   

The band for the show consisted of Ray Alder on vocals (of course!), who sounded great throughout the evening.  Sure, he may not have hit all the high notes but what we got was a vocal performance that was richer and had more emotion in it.  On guitar was remaining original member Jim Matheos.  His playing was as fluid and impressive as always.  He is truly one of the most underrated prog metal guitarists out there.  Help on guitar was provided by Mike Abdow who is filling in for the absent Frank Aresti.  Abdow did a great job of filling in the vacant slot and duplicating Aresti’s guitar parts.  Joey Vera has been playing bass with Fates Warning since 2000 and although I like Armored Saint, I’m glad he has found himself another home with Fates Warning.  This was the first time I got to see Bobby Jarzombek with the band and he fits in perfectly.  Although I like Mike Zonder’s drumming, Jarzombek gives the band a slightly more metal edge.  That’s not to say that he re-did any of the drum parts of the songs we know and love, it’s just that he put his little elements into the playing and they sounded great.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   

Since this was the beginning of the tour, I didn’t want to list out all the songs that were performed because I feel that there should still be a surprise when you go to see them.  The worst thing is to have basically the whole show available to you beforehand so I will leave you with this:  Go see Fates Warning when they come near your town.  They are one of the godfathers of prog metal and they don’t disappoint.  I have seen them over a half dozen times now and this last show was one of the best performances I have seen them deliver.


Greg Olma
 
Greg Olma
   
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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