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Dream Theater

Live in Rosemont, IL, August 2007

Review by Greg Olma

I was surprised when I bought my ticket for this Dream Theater show. The past few tours that I saw them, they were the only band and it was billed as “An Evening with…” On this short little North American tour, Dream Theater brought with them Redemption and Into Eternity along for the ride. Either way, it didn’t matter because those of us “jones-ing” for a prog metal fix were given more than enough from the guys.

Touring on the back of their new album Systematic Chaos, the band started off proceedings with “Constant Motion.” As always, they played it note perfect and even James LaBrie sounded great (surpassing his normal high standard) singing in more of an aggressive vocal style. Keeping things moving at a fast pace, we got “Panic Attack” from 2005’s Octavarium. I like the album, but live the song takes on a life of its own. I’m glad this number has been getting air time because after seeing it live again, I realize what a good stage song it is. Even though they were promoting the new record, it was nice that they still picked tracks from their whole catalog.
Next up we got “Blind Faith.” I don’t know what it is but Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence is one of those records that kind of gets overlooked (I’m guilty of it too) but when you hear a cut off of it live, you really want to go back and pull out the CD and revisit those tracks. No sooner did I get home, I had “Blind Faith” cranked on the stereo. Prog fans, although loyal, can also be critical, but judging by the responses each song got, I don’t think there were any complaints. I am always amazed at how easy the whole band makes it look; not one note is out of place.

Many people judge a band and any of their output by one record in their career. For Dream Theater, that record would be Images and Words. I love that disc, but they have released many great albums since. I’m glad they didn’t dwell on the record and even decided to play a reworked version of “Surrounded.” The reason I enjoy seeing live shows is the fact that I love it when bands change things up. The guys have to get tired of playing a song the same way for years so it was really refreshing when the band played “Surrounded ‘07” (as it is being dubbed). The structure was basically the same but they added little parts and even snuck in a small piece of “Mother” from Pink Floyd. I figured that out because they projected The Wall cover on the back screen.
Coming back to the present, the guys went into “The Dark Eternal Night.” I thought the CD was produced well but there was an extra bit of power and intensity to the new material live that it really brought out the heaviness aspect of Dream Theater. Jordan Rudess took center stage next for a solo spot that had him roaming the stage with a portable keyboard. Falling Into Infinity is one of those albums that has divided Dream Theater fans. I’m on the side that likes it so I was glad they didn’t ignore the record and played “Lines In The Sand.”

Before the group returned to the new CD, they played “Scarred” and “The Spirit Carries On” (complete with the Rosemont choir helping out). Systematic Chaos is a really strong release so I was really pleased when they played “In The Presence Of Enemies” (both parts). They played all 25 glorious minutes of this cut. If they ended the show at this point, they still would have given value for money but Dream Theater came out for an encore. They played a medley of snippets of “Trail Of Tears,” “Finally Free,” “Learning To Live,” “In the Name Of God” and “Octavarium.” After looking at the set list, I noticed that they played something from every album except A Change Of Seasons which is pretty amazing. Even though they focused on the new record, they certainly didn’t ignore their past. There are a lot of bands now that mix prog elements with metal but after seeing Dream Theater, they truly are in a category by themselves.
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 5 at
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