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Dream Theater

Live in Houston, Texas, March 2022

Review by Gary Hill

It has a been a little while since I saw Dream Theater, so I was very excited to finally purchase tickets.  Unfortunately, this show was postponed from December 2021, but I was happy that it did finally happen, and the wait was well worth it.  The band was touring on their new record A View From The Top Of The World, so naturally most of the performance was centered around that disc.  The concert started with the opening track from their new album “The Alien,” and right off the bat you could hear that they were firing on all cylinders.  Even though they sounded and looked like a well-oiled machine, there was still some spontaneity to the performance.  After something brand new, the band reached back into their catalogue and ran through a great version of “6:00” from Awake.  I was surprised that this was as far back as they went being that Images and Words (the previous album) is considered a classic, but that didn’t seem to bother this Dream Theater crowd.  I’m also glad that the band decided to play more of their newer album and less of the older more “road weary” tunes.  Aside from the title track of their new opus, and the previously mentioned song, they also performed “Awaken The Master” and “Invisible Monster." Four songs may not seem like much, but these are Dream Theater tunes which are longer and make up 45 minutes of the new disc.  I like when bands perform a lot of new material, but it is even better when it is as strong as these tunes. 

The band peppered the set with older material, but they dug deep and went for tracks that were more unexpected.  The inclusion of “Endless Sacrifice” from the often overlooked Train Of Thought record pretty much made my day.  I find it to be one of their heavier releases and I am happy when any of the tracks make it into the set list.  Elsewhere, we got “Bridges In The Sky” from Mike Mangini’s debut Dream Theater album A Dramatic Turn Of Events.  I was surprised that aside from the new songs, this was the only other material pulled from the Mangini-era.  Rounding off the concert were “The Ministry Of Lost Souls” and a portion of the song “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence." The band did return for one encore, but in true Dream Theater fashion, they performed one of their longer songs in the 20 minute “The Count Of Tuscany."  I have seen Dream Theater many, many times and each time is an experience unto itself.  Each set list has been different, and each performance marked another chapter in their long history.  This last show will stick in my mind as one of the better concerts by the band, and I’m already waiting to catch them again next time they come to town.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

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