It seemed that fans of Dream Theater were torn between the performance of their two and a half hour opus and new album, The Astonishing (Roadrunner). Fans always want to hear classic songs along side the new ones, but you can’t always get what you want. Call it a concept album or rock opera, whichever you prefer, it was a damn fine night of music.
Aided by an impressive video wall to bring the story of “The Great Northern Empire of the Americas” to life, you felt like as if you were watching a movie with a live soundtrack. Guitarist and story mastermind John Petrucci along with his ever growing beard, played the heaviest mix of acoustic an electric guitar throughout the night I’ve ever seen him do. ‘The Answer’ clearly demonstrates that statement. From ‘The Gift of Music’ to the title track, James LaBrie’s vocals just drew you into the world of Nomacs and musical rebellion. With song a like ‘A New Beginning’, it covers the spectrum of darkness and light that the album portraits. As well as some solid bass grooving from John Myung too.
After a fifteen minute intermission, they returned to the stage for the second half of the this massive album. Drummer, Mike Mangini just makes everything look easy, we get a few flourishes for insanity on ‘Moment of Betrayal’ and on ‘Three Days’. The second half of the creative team Jordan Rudess, brought his atmospheric tones is the bridge from song to song. He carries the themes and regal-ness through ‘Brother, Can You Hear Me’ and ‘Begin Again’. Overall, the show was good if you were prepared just to hear this album. Simple in some parts complex in others, “The Astonishing Live” was the right show for a venue like Radio City Music Hall.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY OMAR CORDY
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