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1  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: My Dream Theater Odyssey -- 9/24/11 *set list spoilers* on: September 28, 2011, 02:47:29 pm
Awesome Jerry ! I never visit DTF anymore, so thanks for the review.

I know.  I'm sad about that.   Cry
2  General Category / General Music Chat / My Dream Theater Odyssey -- 9/24/11 *set list spoilers* on: September 27, 2011, 03:44:58 pm
Posted this on, but thought I'd re-post here since I don't see any show reviews here, and I know some of you don't visit DTF regularly. 

First off, I just have to say, while I have been to quite a few shows, this may very well be my favorite DT show ever.  The two shows I saw in 2003 are the only contenders, and those rank so highly because at the time, Queensryche was still my long-time #2 favorite band, and the joint encores between the two bands were breathtakingly amazing.

As posted in another thread, once we got to San Francisco, the festivities began with a fun meetup with some other DTF forum members: lonestar, a friend of his, H, Fiery Winds, and Stereo Steve.

The food was good.  The company was even better.  Kinda wish we could have sat around and just chatted more casually, but we were all focused on the show, and the group was just big enough that conversations were going different directions at the same time at times.  But still, great way to kick off the evening.  On to the venue:

Doors open, and we get inside and find out seats.  This is a problem.  Our seats were VERY good in terms of being close because we were right at the front of the balcony, and the balcony seats at the Warfield are very close to the stage.  The problem is that they did a lousy job of hanging the PA speakers at that venue.  It is a fairly narrow theater (i.e, not very wide), and the speakers hung VERY low and were close in to the stage.  The result was, if you were too far to either side, they completely obscured the back part of the stage.  Whoever at Live Nation is responsible for the seat descriptions should be shot for not putting an "obscured view" tag on these seats so that buyers know ahead of time what they are getting.  For Trivium, it wasn't a problem since their stage was not very deep.  We could see everything just fine.  For DT, it was an issue.  Luckily, it was one we fixed.  More on that later. 

Trivium were VERY good.  I'm not into the screamy growly stuff in general, with a few exceptions, but I picked up their latest album and find it pretty good.  There were a LOT of fans sporting Trivium shirts, and the crowed was totally into it.  Our seats were perfect for observing some hardcore moshing down below us, and sometimes it was just as much fun watching the crowd as it was watching the band.  Overall, even though they are not a band that I am as into as others, it was great seeing a really solid performance from an established and talented band who know how to respect the audience and the headlining band when they are capable of headlining and are touring in an opening slot.  Great intro, and I think they got the crowed pretty fired up and ready to go.  Too bad so many seats were empty and more people didn't give this band a chance. 

So, during the break, we attempted to remedy the seating situation by scoping the place for empty seats, hoping they were vacant either because the people with those tickets didn't show up, or left after Trivium.  We found a nice pair of seats again right at the front of the balcony dead center.  Unfortunately, the ticket holders showed, so we had to vacate.  No big deal.  After that, we decided to just wait until the show began.  Into the second song, I approached security and charmed them into finding us better seats, figuring anyone who wasn't there yet probably wasn't coming.  The security guy I talked to was totally cool, and within second, found us a great pair of seats pretty close to the center, just a few rows back from the front.  Score!

As far as the set itself, you guys probably know the songs, but here's the list in all its glory:

1. Bridges in the Sky
2. These Walls
3. Build Me Up, Break Me Down
4. Endless Sacrifice
Drum Solo
5. Ytse Jam
6. The Silent Man
7. Beneath the Surface
8. The Great Debate
9. On the Backs of Angels
10. Forsaken
11. Through My Words
12. Fatal Tragedy
13. Outcry
14. Under a Glass Moon

For a bit of play-by-play:  Intro video was great.  ...or should I say, videos.  I gave Blob props for his, but the cartoony one that opened the show was just amazing.  For those who don't know, it is similar to the Octavarium video and the N.A.D.S. video for TDEN.  But James is now a pirate, JM is now a ninja, and a blue genie has been added for DT's newest member.  :biggrin:

I was guessing they would open the show with On The Backs Of Angels, but I have to say, Bridges In The Sky was an absolutely epic opener.  Could not have started the show off any better.  These Walls got huge applause, and BMU/BMD was a great, shortish, uptempo rocker to have early in the show.  VERY good choice to start things off.  I have to admit, Endless Sacrifice is my least favorite song on TOT, and while I wasn't unhappy when they started the intro, I figured I wouldn't enjoy it all that much.  I was wrong.  It was one of the highlights of the evening.  And Jordan taking the front of the stage with the Zen Riffer with JP and JM was great.  The three of them looked like they were having so much fun together, and it was contagious. 

Actually, let me pause on that thought for just a moment, because it is true of the whole show.  EVERYONE on stage looked like they were having the time of their lives.  Every single member was smiling, animated, totally into the music, and just looked like they loved being up there.  Again, I've seen quite a few shows, and this is the happiest and most animated I have EVER seen this band.  And, again, it was completely contagious.  Regardless of what anyone thinks of the set list, and whether or not they will play YOUR favorite song, you can't help but enjoy yourself if you see this band on this tour.  They are firing on all cylinders and you can't help but love it.  I commented to others, including the band, that I almost didn't even care what notes they were playing, because they were just such a joy to watch that that overshadowed everything else they were doing.

Back to the set:  While I am not a huge fan of drum solos, and would generally like to see another song instead, I was very much looking forward to Mangini's solo.  What can I say?  He killed it.  And all night, not only was he nailing every note, but he just looked so into what he was doing and was having so much fun that I can't tell you all how many times I caught myself throughout the show just watching him with either my jaw hanging open or an ear-to-ear smile.  Mike Portnoy will always be one of my favorite drummers, but if he had to leave, I cannot imagine a better replacement.  Mike Mangini looks and sounds like he was made to play in this band.  He struck such a great balance of respecting the legacy while adding just enough of his own personality that you can feel how much he is loving what he is doing.

The acoustic break was a nice twist.  The Silent Man is not a favorite of mine, but it was really neat having them go back to an all acoustic version.  What a great treat for the long-time fans.  James and JP brought stools up to the very front of the stage and sat together.  And after a bit of fun banter ending with James saying, "John, can you stop looking at me like that?  It's kind of intimidating," they launched into the song.  They kept that configuration for Beneath The Surface, which also worked really well.  Those who may be concerned that an acoustic break in the middle of the set would suck the energy out of the show:  Don't worry.  It was a nice change of pace and went over incredibly well.

And then into The Great Debate.  Along with Bridges and Endless Sacrifice, this was the highlight of the set for me.  Outstanding performance by the entire band.  I thought Mangini was going to break something.  And James' little note improvs were great additions.  The rest of the set was just as good.  I felt a bit of a dropoff toward the end, but I think that is just because I was getting so tired.  Outcry in particular has so much energy.  I was hoping they would play it, and I was not disappointed (actually, they played my top 5 from the new album, so great song choices as far as I'm concerned). 

Ending with Under A Glass Moon was a bit of a surprise, but a nice one.  I was pretty sure the encore would be Learning To Live, which I was looking forward to.  But UAGM worked surprisingly well to close out the show. 

As far as individual performances go, everyone was on fire.  There are plenty of shows where it is easy to pick a stand out.  Not this show.  Jordan was Jordan.  What more can I say?  It's not easy for a keyboard player to engage the audience as much as he does, but he is great about taking the spot light when it is appropriate, as well as staying in the background when that is what is called for.  James was literally the best I have ever heard him live.  And he exhibited a stage presence that simultaneously gave off an aura of humility while also showing a complete command of the stage.  John Myung looked like he was having the time of his life and was more animated than I have probably ever seen him.  There were many great moments where he would stride over to JP, Mangini, or the front center of the stage and just let it rip.  Petrucci was also very into it, and interacted well with the crowd and his bandmates.  But I would probably give the prize to Mangini if pressed.  Again, great balance between being the backbone of the band and also regularly adding enough flair to make sure you never forgot he was there.  And just the constant smiling and bopping around--he looked like he was the happiest person in the entire venue to be there.  And, again, that vibe was contagious.

Overall, I have to grade this show a solid A.  I have absolutely zero complaints.

And I also have to pass on that the members of Dream Theater are some of the most down-to-earth, easy to talk to, people you will ever meet in the music biz.  They are all very obviously VERY appreciative of the fans. 

Thanks, DT, for a terrific evening.
3  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: Messages for James Thread - NOT A QUESTION / ANSWER THREAD on: September 27, 2011, 03:40:04 pm
James, great meeting you Saturday night.  And as it turns out, what I mentioned to you was a case of mistaken identity.  The forklift driver we were stuck behind on the freeway was NOT wearing a pirate costume after all.  Just some guy who likes wearing frilly things in the warehouse, apparently.  Who knew?
4  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: James, help! (The Shaman's Trance or Bridges in the Sky?) on: July 19, 2011, 06:58:15 pm
Thanks for the ever-so-helpful Tweet, Cap'n.  :lolpalm:

(and tell Donna she needs to get some cool smilies on this forum.  *hint, hint*)
5  General Category / General Music Chat / James, help! (The Shaman's Trance or Bridges in the Sky?) on: July 19, 2011, 01:27:45 pm
There is a lot of confusion out there about a lot of sites (including Roadrunner's store) listing track #5 as "Bridges In The Sky."  Did the band change the name at the 11th hour, or did some distributor just make a mistake that all the retail sites advertising the pre-order are now perpetuating?
6  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: Cap'n James Sparrow, I just have to ask you... on: May 06, 2011, 09:11:53 pm
LOL....bosk...get out of "steerage" and get back to your upper deck cabin.

Hey now!
7  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: Episodes 1,2 and 3 of DT's drummer documentary here!! on: May 06, 2011, 04:22:26 pm
I thought I posted this here, but I guess not.  Here is a summary and links to information on EVERYTHING I am aware of that we know about the new drummer search, auditions, and the new album, including the documentaries, interviews, and some forum posts from Peter Wildoer and Derek Roddy:
8  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: Question about the phone call to Mike Mangini (help us, CJS!) on: May 05, 2011, 01:59:43 pm
Mmmmmm!  Nachos!

*munch, munch*

What was the topic again?

*munch, munch*
9  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: Question about the phone call to Mike Mangini (help us, CJS!) on: May 05, 2011, 11:31:17 am
Hey now, how come I didn't get any wings when I joined?  *sulks*
10  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: Question about the phone call to Mike Mangini (help us, CJS!) on: May 04, 2011, 10:59:54 am
Hmm...our crack investigative team at DTF has uncovered more clues that have only led to more questions...

JP's beard mystifies us...

10/18/2010:  Drummer auditions are held over a 3-day period.  JP has the goatee going on.

11/5/2010:  The band makes the selection phone calls.  Footage of the band reviewing the audition vidoes again shows JP sporting the goatee while watching the videos.  But here is where it gets interesting.  Only two notification phone calls show up in the documentary:  Peter's and Mike's.  The band is not shown during Peter's--you only hear James' voice.  In Mike's, you see the whole band making the phone call.  They are clearly at Cove City.  But...THE BEARD!  It is now in full Bear Mode.

This might not seem so strange, except that JP is in goatee mode on 11/17 at the LI HOF:

But then, when the band is in the studio in January, according to the last part of the documentary, they are at Cove City and the beard is in Bear Mode once again. 

We now seem to have two clues that the phone call scene was possibly re-shot later:  The fact that it is from Cove City and THE BEARD.  Obviously, it is entirely possible that while JP sleeps, The Beard has worked with a crack scientific research team to distill the essence of the cells in JP's fingers, and together they have used the resulting serum to bend the space-time continuum and travel through time.  But I suspect a much more mundane answer can reconcile these clues.

Cap'n James Sparrow, help us!  Was the video of an event that happened on November 5, 2010 actually shot in January 2011?  And if so, why?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Cheesy
11  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: Question about the phone call to Mike Mangini (help us, CJS!) on: May 03, 2011, 04:21:23 pm
I don't disagree with you.  And I'm not trying to be rude, but...I don't understand what that has to do with the question.  Again, not trying to be rude, but I just don't get it.
12  General Category / General Music Chat / Question about the phone call to Mike Mangini (help us, CJS!) on: May 03, 2011, 04:11:29 pm
In pt. 3 of the doc, it clearly shows the guys in studio.  Here's where I'm having a bit of difficulty putting things together.  Peter Wildoer said he got his phone call on November 5th, and that he believes all drummers were called on that date.  By that time, the guys were WAY done with the studio for auditions.  But according to the info. I have, they didn't go into the studio to start writing the album until January 3rd.  So...

Did the guys go back into the studio just for the phone calls and to shoot that shot?  Were they in studio for some other reason?  Was that a pickup shot that was done way after the fact?  Something else that I am missing?

Help us, Captain Jack Sparrow!  You're our only hope!  Cheesy
13  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: Welcome To The Family: New Dream Theater Drummer Mike Mangini on: April 29, 2011, 01:27:01 pm
So...2 of the final top 3 drummed for James.  CJS knows drums.   Grin
14  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: Episodes 1,2 and 3 of DT's drummer documentary here!! on: April 27, 2011, 10:31:50 am
Both Peter Wildoer and Derek Roddy had posted their impressions on the audition process on the forum of drummerworld. Cool stuff!
May you repost it here, please?

PS. 1 hour left 'till episode 2!  Cheesy

This is the thread... you gotta sort thru the firt pages though:

Very cool.  Peter has also been posting on DTF and has answered a lot of questions about the auditions (of course, without giving anything away that he is not supposed to give away).  I've been keeping a running summary of what we know about the drummer situation and the new album here, including quotes of some of Peter's posts about the subject , if anyone is interested:
15  General Category / General Music Chat / Re: Episodes 1,2 and 3 of DT's drummer documentary here!! on: April 26, 2011, 06:57:16 pm
I don't disagree about the first sentence.  I think he should have held off saying it isn't him.

As far as the second sentence, I obviously don't know what was on the guy's mind, but trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, I think he may just be saying, "As far as all the drama about Mike Portnoy leaving and the drama associated with that, it wasn't my intention to have my name associated with any of that, but I guess by me auditioning for Mike's vacant spot, one of the downsides is that now my name is associated with all that."  That's how I took it anyway.  Maybe I'm naive, but it just seems to me that if DT thought highly enough of him to have him audition, he's got to be classy enough to not go publicly slagging the documentary.
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