Monday, August 4, 2003 @ 10:32 AM
QR & DT Live at the Concord Pa
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REVIEW BY: Scott Berbick
I haven't seen Dream Theater since March 2002 and I hadn't seen Queensryche since November 2001. Never even heard of "Fate's Warning" until I heard about this show. It has been too long since I'd seen either of these incredible bands play live. As usual, on this warm night in Concord, I was more excited to see Dream Theater than I was Queensryche. I'd seen Queensryche twice, and both times without Chris DeGarmo... so they were never that impressive on the guitars nor had much energy on stage. Dream Theater I had not heard much of before, I saw them my first time. They were an incredible band, I understood that, loved what I heard, so I picked up a ticket to their show.
But this time, I knew everything from DT, already knew everything from Queensryche and was set to go. This night would change my opinion about Queensryche forever.
We arrive a little late at the Chronicle Pavilion, and then got stopped by a friend of mine who had just assisted in an interview with John Petrucci of DT and had to razz me about it... he's my idol. Once we got in, Fate's Warning was half way into their set. What I was hearing didn't impress me much... then they started to play stuff off "their new record." I already like that one the best. Soloing.
When Fate's Warning went off stage, the beer and the crowd all came in. We were sitting 12 rows back from the front, and things got packed. All the stage lights went off, even though the sun was still bright enough, and Dream Theater walked out on stage as the sample at the beginning of "The Glass Prison" started to play. The crowd went wild. The bass came in, began the song... Petrucci jumped in the mix with some heavy powerchords, and finally his keyboard arpeggios he had Jordan write for the guitar. The soloing was insane. Every time the screens behind the band showed Petrucci's hand moving, it blew away anything ever said about the physics of movement. Nobody should be able to move their hands like that.
Dream Theater went on to perform songs such as "Under a Glass Moon," which was one I'd never heard live before. They did an excellent job and hit the solos right on. Now, I will admit, I know all Dream Theater tracks, but I can't remember if they played “Scarred,” “Hell's Kitchen,” or both!! I think they played both. If you were at the show, please correct me -- I know I've made a mistake. After they finished whichever song belongs here, the sample sound at the beginning of “Home” started playing and John Petrucci stood alone on the stage to begin the song. Jordan's keyboard mimicked a sitar well. “Home” got the crowd roaring, head banging, jumping, singing, it was amazing. Then, the show slowed down to almost a halt, and Dream Theater went from “Home” into “Hollow Years,” “Goodnight Kiss” and “Solitary Shell.” As the show had almost stopped, in my eyes, so began the closing song, “Metropolis Part 1:The Miracle and the Sleeper.” This was one of the most incredible songs to ever watch played live. Jordan's keyboarding was incredible, JP's hammer-ons were ridiculous, as are all his solos... John Myung tore through his bass solo, and Mike Portnoy did a little extra drumming. LaBrie's voice was dead on tonight. They finished it off without a mistake, and the band exited. The roadies cleared everything away, but just recovered Mike Portnoy's set, which was on the right of the stage, with Scott Rockenfield's to the left.
Bad idea. Ran into a guy I hadn't seen in years, and after DT only being off stage for 15 minutes, Queensryche had already come out. I missed the beginning of their opening song, “Open,” off the new record. Not that spectacular. But then, upon the screens behind Queensryche, the Matrix code began running down. And so began “NM 156,” which was crowd-exhilarating. The crowds heard “Screaming in Digital,” “I Am I,” followed by “Damaged.” Through the night, we heard such hits as “Jet City Woman,” “Take Hold of the Flame” and “Empire.” No exact order of set list has been specified here. I apologize -- it was a long night.
Queensryche entertained us all by going back to Operation: Mindcrime, and began with “I Remember Now,” which came on screen from the Livecrime recordings. The cartoon movie began. The band broke solidly into “Anarchy-X,” which I hadn't heard live in the two times I’d seen them before. They took it right into “Revolution Calling,” and Geoff Tate gave a small little speech about raising your fists and making changes. At the end, I was so energized I thought I could ... never mind. Expecting “Operation: Mindcrime,” we got “Speak,” which is just as perfect! The band tore through “Speak” and Geoff had the whole crowd singing the song. After this, we were treated to “Eyes of a Stranger,” which was closed as the Operation: Livecrime recordings were, with another semi-different version of “Anarchy-X” with military images and video flashing. It was spectacular. We also heard “Desert Dance” off the new album and “Best I Can!” Finally, the Queensryche show was over. They bowed together, waved, and exited. And people started leaving. But not me. Because I had heard about this. Show's over? Nope. Sit around.
Dream Theater and Queensryche enter the stage together. John Myung next to Eddie Jackson, Mike Portnoy on the right of the stage, Rockenfield on the left. Wilton, Petrucci and Queensryche's new guitarist (don't know his name) all separated, and Geoff Tate and James LaBrie together.
The crowds are cheering. Everyone's going nuts. And out from the keyboards and guitars comes "Real World," a Queensryche song not many people know. Petrucci did an excellent job on rhythm, and every single guitarist got to solo during it. Petrucci was the best. Scott and Mike were in their own kits. James and Geoff were dueling vocals and eventually harmonizing them. After this, everyone exited the stage, except for Jordan, who began playing "Through Her Eyes" on the keyboard. Geoff provided the opening hums and harmony for about 30 seconds, before Jordan broke into “The Spirit Carries On.” Every guitarist on stage, both bassists, Scott hanging out in Mike's drum kit with him while playing the tambourine... when the moment for the solo came up, Michael Wilton took it... and I was disappointed, because he played in the same keys as the solo, but didn't play the amazing solo from “Spirit Carries On.” Then, the new QR guitarist pulled another really simple solo... and then it all ended... and I was disappointed... until Petrucci ripped through the solo and got the crowd singing the rest of the song. The song ended and we expected that was it. The stage went dark.
Jordan began the song with the keyboard riff. The guitars and basses entered, along with the drums. And the lights flashed bright as both bands had begun their closing cover of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again". They played the song absolutely perfectly, note for note, harmonized vocals, and a guitar solo from each player. It was the most energetic closing to a show I had ever seen, with maybe the exception of “Holy Wars” at the last Megadeth show I saw. It was a spectacular show on a great night, and it was good to see two amazing bands collaborating. Go see this show when they come around, if they do.