From the moment the legendary DREAM THEATER announced The Astonishing Tour, I knew I had to be there. While not a huge open arena with a packed crowd, Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie provided an intimate venue to see the Prog Rock gods live and up close.
The band played their newest concept album The Astonishing in a two-act performance complete with visuals and a film to tell the story. They began with “Dystopian Overture”, setting the tone for the night with a melodic instrumental. With smooth transitions that carried them through, they introduced the audience to the story of the album with “The Gift of Music”, the most popular song from the disc. I was thoroughly impressed during the entire performance as they continued through Act One flawlessly. I had listened to The Astonishing prior to the show, but had not as many times as it deserved. That being said, I was not once bored during the entire performance and remained amazed at the talent and beauty of DREAM THEATER.
Following an intermission, they came back on stage with “2258 Entr’acte”, an instrumental carrying a similar epic tone as their Act One opener. Guitarist John Petrucci seemed to perk up a bit more during Act Two as he walked about the stage, occasionally posing with vocalist James LaBrie. Mike Mangini on drums kept up with the always odd time signatures that have become a staple of this band’s music.
Although Mangini has only been in the band six years, he performed excellently and has been a great asset to the musical talent of the group. John Myung, who has been a part of DREAM THEATER since its beginning along with Petrucci, kept the bass lines solid and synced up well with drummer Mangini. Jordan Rudess on keys kept the visual entertaining as his keyboard “spaceship” tilted side to side and spun slowly around during the performance.
Overall, while they aren’t known for over the top energy, DREAM THEATER created a different kind of concert experience, giving the crowd a very enjoyable, and quite Astonishing show with this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the concept album played from start to finish.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: JOSH GRANT PHOTOGRAPHY