» Dream Theater 2020 01 14  
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Reviewed by Tobbe
City: Stockholm, Sweden
Venue: Cirkus
Date: January 14th 2020

Band lineup:
Vocals: James LaBrie
Guitar: John Petrucci
Bass: John Myung
Keyboards: Jordan Rudess
Drums: Mike Mangini

An evening with Dream Theater

An evening with Dream Theater contains 5 songs off the latest album Distance Over Time and 2 songs off albums out just over a decade ago, as well as, what I believe most fans specifically came down to the show for, the band celebrating 20 years with Scenes From A Memory, by playing the album in its entirety. The magnificent late 19th century venue Cirkus, with a capacity of 1650 guests, all seated, was awarded back to back shows this time, January 14th and 15th, which in retrospect didn't pan out well because the place was only just over half-full on this gray and dark Tuesday evening.

Dream Theater's audience, which I guess is pretty much the case with many aging rock and metal bands today, is getting older and older, meaning more time to spend with family related stuff and less time and energy to be away from home after working hours are over. Just a few youngsters were to be seen on location and perhaps it's once and for all time to realize that certain types of metal aren't quite so appealing for kids today. Metal obviously never was a popular genre for the masses, but looking back to my younger days I see a huge change in this matter anyway. And not to be neglected, maybe the raise in ticket prices for gigs also has a part in the many empty seats and I suppose that quite a few fans aren't so willing to cough up € 80-100 ($ 90-110) for bands they've probably seen before.

As always with this quintet, the musical aspect of the performance is almost flawless, but the first act of the show, where they ventilate 4 new songs and 2 songs from kind of the middle-era, is a display of often intricate pieces where some of them feel just too long. The three fifths of the band occupying the stage floor seem almost stuck in one place as if their feet were glued to the floorboards and the ongoing and extremely popular theory about Dream Theater telling that they in fact let the music do the talking seems just like an excuse for not being so amusing to see live.

Too little movement and no real special charisma from the members on the floor to feast your eyes on give me a feeling of experiencing too much of the same. I believe that the band is well aware of this situation and to compensate the lack of potent action from the floor section the keyboarder has a rotatable board to play on and the drummer uses a metal rack for his cymbals high above his head, which by the way seems to be a most uncomfortable position to play in and by using his arms repeatedly above his head he will sooner or later most likely feel the effect of damaged shoulders.

After a 20-minute break, the second act, the Scenes From A Memory set, is on and it's containing a bit of different types of compositions, from prior to the time where they started to sometimes extend songs a little more than necessary in my opinion. This album is a good step away from my favorite Dream Theater albums and to be honest I can't decide whether these songs are actually better than the new stuff, but one thing is for sure, they are certainly more exciting to watch and listen to in a live environment.

Tonight's show never takes off though and I think that Dream Theater isn't one of those bands that make songs greater live. In people's eyes there are of course different views on band's performances, what they should do and what they shouldn't do, and I fully respect and understand that many fans to the band are completely happy with just watching this complex progressive metal being played live on stage. Personally I prefer pretty much the opposite, where bands are putting on a show and interact with their audience in terms of making them more involved and sort of part of the whole operation and therefore I can't hand out more than 4 chalices for this concert.

Performance: 4 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 8 chalices of 10
: The highly skilled musicians
: An actionless overall performance

Atlas (Instrumental Alt) (Intro)
Untethered Angel
A Nightmare To Remember
Barstool Warrior
In The Presence Of Enemies - Part 1
Pale Blue Dot
Overture 1928
Strange Deja Vu
Through My Words
Fatal Tragedy
Beyond This Life
Through Her Eyes
The Dance Of Eternity
One Last Time
The Spirit Carries On
Finally Free
At Wit's End

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