Thursday, March 28, 2002 @ 5:12 PM
Dream Theater Live at the Warf
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It was 6:00 on a Saturday evening when I left my home in San Jose to go to a concert of a band I'd only been listening too for 3 months. I was about to spend "A Night with Dream Theater" at the Warfield. When we arrived, the crowd was already crazy standing in line, and the filth of San Francisco (probably the dirtiest city in the world, mind you) began begging for change and asking us for tickets. When my brother and I got into the Warfield, we had balcony seats directly centered.
Dream Theater came on right on time at 8 pm. They opened with some dueling solos between Jordan on the Keyboard and John Petrucci on guitar. I'd never seen John in person, and he was a scrawny guy dressed in dark black. Jordan looked like "the dude" from the Big Lebowski, and played keyboard standing up, constantly spinning it around on it's stand. After the dueling backed by the constant thrash of John Myung (looked like an Indian Chief tonight) and Mike Portnoy on drums (looking like Banky from Chasing Amy), the band broke into “The Glass Prison” and James came out.
His voice was perfect! Never a scratch or a crack, but just straight up prog-rock. Afterwards, James thanked the audience for coming and the band broke into “Strange Déjà Vu” (no overture 1928!). The band raged through the song and at a great, thumping pace. The band, afterwards continued by playing numerous tracks off When Dream and Day Unite, including "The Killing Hand" and a few others. A few songs were played off Images and Words, including “Take The Time.” There were many instrumental breaks where the band just went at it. James disappeared for a while. At about 10 pm, we were offered an intermission. I caught my breath, after I realized more than half the guitar solos are not guitar solos... they are keyboard solos in guitar tones. Very impressive.
I went to purchase (yes, a ripoff) shirt for $45 dollars and went back to my seat. Dream Theater came back out in minutes. John came out alone after an orchestral overture, and began playing some low notes on his guitar, which turned into the intro to "Home" off of Metropolis 2 (Scenes from a Memory). At a Dream concert, there was actually moshing during this song downstairs. After a good 12 minutes of badass musicianship, the band played four or five songs off 6 Degrees of Inner Turbulence. I'm not too familiar with the album, but I believe they played “Blind Faith,” “The Great Debate,” and “Goodnight Kiss”??? After the SDOIT suite, the band played a few more songs including “Take Away My Pain,” and “Lie.” James asked the audience to sing along, as John Petrucci began picking the first notes of "Pull Me Under." The entire audience was singing crazily until the solo came. But this was no ordinary solo.
A roadie walked out on stage and placed sheet music in front of Jordan. He hit a few chords on his keyboard, and the entire audience went insane... they began playing the acoustic mid-solo of “Master Of Puppets.” The band played from the solo to the end of Master Of Puppets (playing it better than I've heard Metallica play it!), and then finished the solo of “Pull Me Under,” and ended the song -- their finale. No “6:00” or “Peruvian Skies,” unfortunately. The band insisted they'd be back for summer, which I hope they are. This is the best concert I'd been to since Megadeth in September 2001.