Thursday, August 14, 2003 @ 3:12 PM
Queensryche, Dream Theater and
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REVIEW BY: R. Scott Bailey
Sure, I live in Seattle. So Queensryche playing here has a little more flavor than in other cities, but now this bill was something to behold. I have seen Queensryche seven times before this show. Starting from the ‘Empire/Operation: Livecrime’ tour at Seattle Coliseum to the ‘Live Evolution DVD’ shows at the Moore Theater, I have seen them in their heyday to the not so "prog-metal" friendly days of today. Each time I have seen them, there has been something special about each show. So, right off the bat, with this lineup I had hopes of a great show. It did not disappoint.
Fates Warning was up first. In my opinion, this band never got the credit it deserves. Great musicians well thought out and intelligent lyrics, and one of the best singers to hit a rock stage makes Fates Warning a band to be reckoned with. I am not as familiar with their last few CDs, but I was ready for them to do some damage.
The crowd seemed a little indifferent when they came on stage (early I might add), but after a few songs and some goading from singer Ray Alder, some of the crowd responded and got up out of their seats and showed some life. The short but intense set was highlighted by Dream Theater drummer, Mike Portnoy playing with them for one song (wish I knew what it was). The set included "Point of View" and "Life in Still Water" from Parallels, but unfortunately my favorite "Silent Cries" from No Exit was not played. After a quick 30 minute set, I was more than interested in picking up a few more of their recent releases. Next up is Dream Theater.
I got into Dream Theater in about 1993. I saw "Pull Me Under" on MTV and liked what I saw. Little did I know that they would become a favorite of mine. I got to see them on the ‘Images and Words’ tour at this same venue, and was completely blown away by the intensity of their live show and in particular the stunning musicianship of EVERY band member. Now, I had not seen them since that tour, as they have not played Seattle since 1997. I was really looking forward to this show.
They start out the set by playing the first few selections from Scenes from a Memory, including some visuals that went along with the live DVD they put out in 2002. The crowd was on their feet and was getting into the band from the moment the lights went out. After 10 minutes of "Scenes" the band turned to it's most recent release Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and pulled out all the stops for "The Great Debate." "Debate" is an intense and politically charged song about stem cell research. The message may have been lost on someone new to Dream Theater as the lyrics and background voices were hard to decipher, but the song got a good reaction from the crowd.
The next few tracks mixed old and new tracks that I would not have expected. "Another Day" from Images and Words was a surprise to me. I half expected Geoff Tate to come out and play the sax for it, but keyboardist Jordan Rudess played the parts on they keys.
The instrumental section of the show was a hit with the crowd. Singer James LaBrie lets the band take over the stage. Guitarist John Petrucci now gets to really show off his chops. In typical fashion the band tore through sections of songs in a medley of Dream Theater staples and some interesting comic touches of Warner Brothers cartoon music. The addition of parts from Liquid Tension Experiment's (Petrucci, Portnoy and Rudess side project) "Paradigm Shift" were the most fun for me as I did not expect the same type of instrumental that Dream Theater's live CD Once in a Livetime produced.
After a short selection, "Solitary Shell" from the opus "Six Degrees," they started in with the familiar opening chords of "Pull Me Under." Now, even those not familiar to Dream Theater's music got into it. The song was put through the grinder and served up fast and furious. But unfortunately this was the set closer. After 1 hour and 25 minutes, the band was off and the wall of sound had subsided. What?!! No "Change of Seasons" for an encore?!!
I did have hope for more later, due to the fact that all of Dream Theater's stage set was covered up and left out on stage.
After a short break between bands, Queensryche hit the state with the first single "Open" from the newly released Tribe. Most of the crowd was not familiar with it, but got into it anyway as it should eventually be a staple of their live set. "Open" is Queensryche as it should be. A driving song that harkens back to the Empire and Promised Land days. But that makes sense due to the presence of original guitarist Chris DeGarmo in the studio for the recording of Tribe. Unfortunately, DeGarmo was not in the touring band. Fans had high hopes of his full return to the band, but it was not meant to be.
"NM156" and "Screaming in Digital" follow up "Open" with "tech"-themed reckless abandon. These two songs have become some of my favorite concert moments from Queensryche in the last few years. Digital and techno-vampire images on the big screens behind the stage make these songs seem more like warnings of the digital age than the 20-year-old songs they are. Nice job boys.
"Empire," "I am I" and "Damaged" make a nice quick set of early ‘90s ‘Ryche. "Silent Lucidity" was next and was always a crowd pleaser. It is still a beautiful piece of music. "Desert Dance" from Tribe comes up next and I could not be happier. "Dance" is a new favorite of mine. This song would have been a huge hit for them about 12 years ago, but it still sounds Rock radio ready now. (Hint, hint). After a foray into "Jet City Woman," they start into some Operation: Mindcrime. Playing the first 3 tracks of the opus CD, they skip to "Speak" and the crowd shows it appreciation in full. "Eyes of a Stranger" closes out a great set with the fully intense ending to the song. "REVOLUTION" will ring in many ears after the show.
The obligatory encore set is to follow. But it has changes to it. "Walk in the Shadows" and "Best I Can" are normally not the closers, but I was happy to hear songs that I have not heard live in a long time. I was expecting "Take Hold" or even "Lady Wore Black." What happened next will forever be a great memory in concert history to anyone who had the chance to be in attendance.
Dream Theater's stage set was uncovered and both bands hit the stage to play "Comfortably Numb" from Pink Floyd. I am not a Floyd fan but even I could appreciate that both bands were just having some fun. Little did I know what that meant. Next, they started in on Dream Theater's "Peruvian Skies." Both bands playing together and both singers trading lines. And a fantastic song to boot. Then they gave Queensryche's "Take Hold of the Flame" the same treatment. James LaBrie took the high-pitched intro with true bravado and came out a winner with the crowd. After an almost 10 minute version of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," you got a sense that this was a culmination of great musicians just getting up on stage and having some fun.
I enjoyed this show and I think everyone left happy with what will be a great concert memory. This tour needs to happen again. Maybe after Dream Theater finishes the new CD.
I do not have a full set list for Fates Warning, so any help would be nice.
Next is Opeth tomorrow night!
Dream Theater Set List:
Strange Déjà Vu
The Great Debate
The Spirit Carries On
Pull Me Under
Queensryche Set List:
Screaming in Digital
I am I
Jet City Woman
I remember now
Eyes of a Stranger
Walk in the Shadows
Best I Can
Take Hold of the Flame
Won't Get Fooled Again