Dream Theater

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Awesome stuff. Really hope it lives up to the hype.
Have you seen the pictures of Mike Portnoy's kit? The majority of those cables are probably drum mics. :D
Smiling is a big word... He's rather chewing a gum and the photographer took the picture at this particular moment. :D

Shh, I like to imagine that this weird hybrid between a smirk and an expression of painful suffering is the elusive "Myung smile", so to speak. :D

(It's also an internal joke, I am very animated in my expression an gestures, like any proper wop should be, whereas wifey is rather inhibited and expressionless, so I tend to make fun of Myung's memetic Myungness with a certain amount of affectionate particularity)
Listened to the second half of my DT discography which runs from Train of Thought through The Astonishing.

I remember when it first came out I LOVED Train of Thought. I know they got made fun of for Labrie's "rapping," and going beyond homage and into plagerism territory copying Metallica and Megadeth. It's obvious it's Blackened, but I forget the Megadeth song, just remember it was off of The World Needs a Hero album. While I haven't listened to it pretty much since it came out, I really liked it, but by far the stand out is Stream of Consciousness. Brilliant instrumental.

Octavarium, originally I was really disappointed with this release. After Train of Thought I thought they would remain on the heavy track and instead gave us a mostly mellow outing. Now I LOVE it. DT, Yes, Pink Floyd all rolled into one and it's great. I'm glad I didn't give up on this one.

Systematic Chaos is one of my all time favorites it's the follow up to Train of Thought I wanted and basically got. Can't put a finger on it, but I just vibe to this album. What I recall most is watching the making of DVD and that Young doesn't appear AT ALL. There are a couple of shots of him playing bass, but it's just a close-up of his hands. Like... wtf? LOL, talk about camera shy.

I want to take a small tangent here, because while I do like the whole album, the weakest track is Portnoy's A.A Repentance song. Seeing it in the greater context of the A.A suite, it's not that bad. Also, Portnoy has gone on to say that he regretted spreading out the steps into so many songs, that after a while it felt like homework. If he were to do it again He'd just do one song with all the steps. That speaks to the tremendous task that laid ahead of him and his incredible talent to pull it off. Not only did the songs have tobe congruent with each other as far as musical/lyrical themes, but they also had to fit within the albums they were in. I do have a CD of just the AA songs (I'm sure I'm not alone in this) and it's amazing to see how they flow together as well as in their respective releases. In the case of Systematic Chaos, it's the slow song that allows the listener a break before revving back up.

Anywho, Systematic Chaos, fun times.

Black Clouds and Silver Linings. Again, nothing bad to say about this one, but I feel it lives and dies on its opener and closer. The Count of Tuscany is another one that I really connect with. Especially the lines:

[Verse 3]
Could this be the end?
Is this the way I die?
Sitting here alone
No one by my side

I don't understand
I don't feel that I deserve this
What did I do wrong?
I just don't understand

Give me one more chance
Let me please explain
It's all been circumstance
I'll tell you once again

You took me for a ride
Promising a vast adventure
Next thing that I know
I'm frightened for my life

"Now wait a minute, man!
That's not how it is!
You must be confused
That isn't who I am

Please don't be afraid
I would never try to hurt you

This is how we live
Strange although it seems

Please try to forgive!

Those lyrics hit at a very personal level beyond the song and still do. The album is also noteworthy as it concludes the A.A suite with Shattered Fortress. I remember a friend and I were listening to it and he recognized the musical reprisal of earlier themes in the suite and he said, "Wait? this is from a Glass Prison?" "Yup, Shattered Fortress, last song of the suite," "oh THANK GOD, about time he finished it!" And good thing he did cuz they canned his ass soon after LOL

A Dramatic Turn of Events is another perfect album for me. Just solid track after solid track and can't find a single lull. My friend who was glad Portnoy finished his AA suite was mesmerized by Breaking All Illusions. I found it... good. The last line, "Kaaaaaarma, starts the signaaaaaaal" has always rubbed me the wrong way, but aside from that perfectly fine. I guess that's the beauty of art in general, it speaks to us all, but we all respond to it differently or not at all.

Self Titled. Oh god, I promise I tried my best and after listening to it as part of the MP3 collection I burned and on its own for about a week I still have nothing to say about it. While I'm listening to it I dig it, I enjoy it, but I can't CONNECT to it like I did with previous DT releases. The only thing I remember is "through the looking glass," but only because it's an uncommon way to refer to a mirror in the U.S. It's very... British. Like, I would never say "I'm walking on the pavement, looking both ways at the zebra crossing on my way to the petrol station." For me it's sidewalk, pedestrian crossing and gas(oline) station. Aside from that... nothing.

The Astonishing is an interesting case. Like SDoIT, I HATED it at first. This time it was fine. I still don't know who these people are or what the "story is" I blame this on a couple of things. I'm not a fan of the shorter songs, I feel like just when it's finding its legs it ends and on to the next one. Also, unlike other DT albums, this particular release has the booklet glued to the middle of a three fold box, making it awkward and annoying to hold just to read the lyrics. With all other releases I could hold the booklet easily while I listened on my headphones. This time however, not really caring about song length, and having all the time to just listen while riding the bus and walking home, I felt like I was listening to it, I mean, truly listening to it for the first time and it was fine. Might grow on me with future listens.

I do not have their other releases so that's the end of my journey. Onto Apocalyptica next followed by some symphonic and power metal bands.
Suspended Animation is awesome. There are some really cool tracks on there that sound pretty unique for Petrucci like Glasgow Kiss and and Tunnel Vision. The Satriani-esque Curve is pretty cool too.

Did you like Terminal Velocity? That album combined with LTE 3 is some of my favorite Petrucci playing in the last decade. Also awesome to hear JP and MP together again.
Suspended Animation is awesome. There are some really cool tracks on there that sound pretty unique for Petrucci like Glasgow Kiss and and Tunnel Vision. The Satriani-esque Curve is pretty cool too.

Did you like Terminal Velocity? That album combined with LTE 3 is some of my favorite Petrucci playing in the last decade. Also awesome to hear JP and MP together again.
I find Suspended Animation to be much more interesting than Terminal Velocity, honestly. I think it shows Petrucci in a more creative light and the grindy aggressive (more old-school?) tones are more to my liking. LTE3 I’ll need to listen to again but it has some amazing highlights for sure.

Just Rudess and Portnoy doing karaoke in a cruise ship sub-basement. LOL

Good vocal performance, but still goes to show you how distinctive LaBrie's voice is (was).
Awesome! Hope it comes to the USA soon, I am actually surprised that they aren’t doing any summer touring, guess they really want to make sure they have an album out before the tour which I can respect.

I wonder if the evening with format will actually be better for LaBrie’s voice. The set times don’t differ that much. The evening with sets usually come in under 3 hours and their headlining sets (besides Dreamsonic) come in over 2 hours. If they do two one hour long sets with instrumentals thrown in each set (which they have done on almost every Evening With show in the Mangini era) and an intermission, JLB is probably going to get more of a break.

Everything about this is pretty much opposite what I was expecting. I was expecting summer USA tour with an opener followed by a break in late 2024 for album release and then the 40th anniversary starting in 2025. It’s really interesting to me that they’re going all in for the very first tour and opting out of summer touring completely.

The setlist will be interesting. They have to go for a career spanning show obviously, but presumably the album will be out by then as well. The tour poster suggests the band hasn’t forgotten about the Mangini era, and they can’t really do a full evening with show celebrating their history and completely ignore those albums. Even more so if they bring back rotating setlists like MP suggested they would. Every evening with tour with Mangini had a gimmick to it with half the set devoted to a particular era or playing a full album live, I hope they forego that this time and just try to present as much of the catalog as possible.
That interview really clarifies quite a bit and is a great read. It really brings me good feelings to read about how well they are getting along. Forget the touring and albums, it’s just really heartwarming to see these guys make up.

- Portnoy says he is taking the reigns on setlists again but that he also has to go back and review the albums they’ve made without him, so sounds like they intend on keeping Mangini songs in the mix. Also, he said that he listened to each album a couple times when they were released.

- Not really a surprise but also not really something I’ve seen discussed: article says JP is producing the album but nothing about MP as a producer. No surprise here that Portnoy isn’t producing, and also not really a confirmation per se, but I found that interesting.

- They’re still being somewhat cagey about the circumstances surrounding the reunion. MP really emphasizes how much of a difference playing with JP and LTE made, which makes a lot of sense. JLB makes a comment about the need to return the band to its best form which I thought was interesting particularly in light of the complaints around the last tour. I mean, nobody was complaining about Mangini’s drumming, but JLB on the other hand..

On that note, they really must be putting a lot of faith into this reunion with the big venues they’re playing and going straight into evening with. Between Dreamsonic, DT’s move to a smaller label, and now this, you have to wonder about what’s been going on behind the scenes. Doing a European arena tour as an evening with (no openers/coheadliners) is a pretty big about face from what was going on last summer.