Concert Review: Dream Theater

Live Park, Rishon Lezion July 18

By DAVID DIMOLFETTA
July 22, 2019 21:47
3 minute read.
Concert Review: Dream Theater

DREAM THEATER. (photo credit: Courtesy)

There was something unique about the fourth visit that progressive metal legend Dream Theater made to Israel last Thursday. The epic, operatic opening to the show, the thousands of fans sporting the unique, Majesty-logo apparel, or perhaps something else altogether proved to metalheads around the world that the band now fully knows what it takes to show Israel what it has in its toolbox of extravagant musicianship.

Featuring its latest studio release Distance Over Time at Dream Fest Israel, the band made sure to include old favorites from its years as one of the world’s top metal bands.

John Petrucci, one of the group’s founding members, didn’t make any mistakes as he shredded his way through every song. The heavy set list the band chose for the evening, comprising songs including “As I Am” from its heaviest album, Train of Thought, and the epic instrumental piece “The Dance of Eternity” – with over 100 time signature changes – gave the guitarist more than enough room to light the stage on fire.

A fan could be seen nodding his head in approval as Petrucci shredded on the final bars in one of their latest, Metallica-like songs, “Fall into the Light.”

Mike Mangini, the band’s second drummer, who joined in 2010 after a falling out with founding drummer Mike Portnoy, sported sunglasses and a neon bandanna, as he blasted his drums on the opening fills of the nine-minute epic “In the Presence of Enemies Part I.” Considered to be one of the greatest drummers of all time, Mangini made the intricate, technical drum parts at the show look easy on his monster drum set.

Founding bassist John Myung’s fingers moved as fast as lightning on songs like “Lie,” dating back to the band’s 1994 album, Awake, which took a darker, heavier approach than their previous, claim-to-fame album, Images and Words. His dancing fingers were a pleasure to the ears and the eyes, as he backed his bandmates through their parts.

Julliard-trained Jordan Rudess, the band’s keyboardist, put on an unforgettable performance using various sounds with his keyboard and even with his iPad, a signature move of his where he has often implemented digital technology in his performances. Rudess, in addition to performing with Dream Theater in Israel since 2009, has visited the country previously, performing with Aviv Gefen and with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree and has said that some of the best performers in the world come from Israel.

Anyone claiming he could play like Rudess would be very wrong. Joining the band in 1999 full-time for one of its greatest hits, “Metropolis Pt. II: Scenes from a Memory,” Rudess has more than proven his ability to play anything in the realm of rock or even classical music. Recording nine more albums with Dream Theater since his induction, he is also known for his solo work and recently released Wired for Madness.

Of course, no good Dream Theater concert is complete without the sense of humor of longtime front man James Labrie.
“Y’know,” he said to the audience, after playing the set list’s second song, “A Nightmare to Remember,” “what is there to do here? We’ve been to Israel four times now, and I still haven’t seen anything.”

Labrie went all out, even utilizing metal screaming at times in songs where the music traditionally calls for a more melodic approach. The screaming was a unique, surprising hit and got the crowd cheering, with goosebumps to boot.

As the show finished, Labrie thanked the audience for welcoming the group back for another round of progressive epicness. As he spoke, Rudess and Petrucci looked at each other, smiling, as they played “Shalom Aleichem,” prompting laughter and cheering from the audience.

The proof is in the performance. Dream Theater members gave it their all on Thursday while playing the very best of their music, which they handpicked to get people jumping in the air, singing along and, yes, even air drumming and air guitar playing during the songs.

One thing’s for sure: Israel will be sure to welcome back Dream Theater with open arms when the band comes again.


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