Concert Review: Dream Theater – Wembley Arena – London
Dream Theater graced London’s Wembley Arena last night (10 Feb 2012). My 5th experience with them was nothing less than astonishing. This also marks the first time I see the band with new drummer Mike Mangini…the dude is a monster! This was also a special treat for me because my companion for the night was my 8-year old son who…totally got into it! Though he did get tired later in the night, can’t blame him it was a late night for him. Today I am listening to Dream Theater and he is remembering what he heard last night. Man, that shit brings a tear to my eye…metalheads in the making ;)
It’s hard to sum up a Dream Theater show without using words like magical, phenomenal, or impressive. Anyone who has seen Dream Theater knows that. Even if you don’t like them, you cannot deny their musicianship. If you haven’t seen them yet, you should as soon as possible. It’s a show you will remember for the rest of your life. Bottom line, the show was fantastic and the 2+ hour set went by far too fast.
Opening act Periphery was pretty good. It’s hard to lay judgment, I don’t know much about them except for a song or two. What they play looks complicated; nothing seemed out of tune to me. The lead guitarist had some great solos. I am not sure how I am taking to the djent genre yet, but I would rather see a band like Periphery get up there and play complicated music than see someone try to scream as loud as humanly possible. Overall, they did a good job.
Even after seeing Dream Theater five times, they still pull the dust off songs (I am almost positive) I haven’t heard live before. Of course, the bulk of their set list came from A Dramatic Turn of Events. They did NOT open with On The Backs of Angels as I suspected they would. They did play it, just later in the show. We also got to hear Outcry and Build Me Up, Break Me Down just to name a few new songs. I don’t want to give up too much information for people who are patiently waiting for Dream Theater to come to their town, but there were some surprises in last night’s set list.
Although there was a short acoustic set, the guys brought heaviness to the night unlike I remember seeing in the past. Some songs you would expect them to play; they played such as Pull Me Under and The Spirit Carries On. I remember they sang the latter in Austin, TX years ago and dedicated it to the victims of the bridge collapse in Minnesota. I always think of that now when I hear the song.
Now for the moment everyone in Wembley Arena was waiting for…Mike Mangini’s drum solo. I can tell everyone was waiting for this moment because when James announced him and he started to play, there must have been a thousand LED camera displays light up in front of me. I was tempted to record it myself, but for that particular moment I wanted to absorb his drumming mastery without looking at it through one eye. Yes, I use an actual camera not an iPhone. I have seen many clips of his drumming prowess, but it does absolutely no justice to seeing it live. Hence, he is an absolute monster!
The rest of the guys were brilliant in their musicianship to say the least. This is why Dream Theater is a must see live band. They are precise, professional, clean, crisp, and even after seeing them five times, I still got to see & hear songs I have never seen live which were not in support of a new album.
The crowd was fully participative. They sang on command and on their own. Despite seats for everyone, they (we) all stood up for the entire show. Were there any disappointments? Well, I would have liked to hear The Count of Tuscany, Constant Motion, Blind Faith, or 20 other songs. Beggars can’t be choosers though. I did get to hear my favorite song off Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. If you want to know what that is just ask. Again, I don’t want to spoil it for others.
Overall, the show was amazing. At this point, Dream Theater can’t play long enough to play everything people want to hear. They had a great set list for last night’s show; I can’t imagine anyone leaving disappointed. The only other bit of excitement for the night was seeing a dude on the train projectile vomit while passed out sitting up. You should have seen that whole section of the train car clear out.
Next up on my concert “to-do” list is Chimaira in March in a small tiny club in Norwich. I am anticipating a good show…third time for Chimaira, but first time as a headliner.
Below is one of the clips of last night’s performance. Enjoy!