Within the first five seconds of the show at The Wiltern, I could tell that I was in for a serious night of themed fun. Dream Theater came out swinging.

The packed theater boasted a crowd of rock musicians and fans of absolute prog rockin’ wonderfulness. Any show involving John Petrucci will have these followers, as he is considered one of the gods of true shred. Each song was executed with strong, heavy conviction by all performers, but the highlight of the set was the impeccable soloing of Petrucci.

petrucci solo

Every member of Dream Theater pulls their weight, and their support of their fellow musicians is one of the many examples of their professional playing AND listening. Remember — it takes BOTH to be a great band member.

full band

Vocalist James LaBrie sounded great and didn’t miss a note. His register is quite impressive and works perfectly with the concept of Dream Theater’s sound, especially on the new album.

LaBrie Vox

With the odd-meter time signatures and baffling solos, it’s no wonder these guys pull such a committed crowd. The almost-four-hours-long set was cut into two acts, as they played their new album, The Astonishing, in its entirety.

While it’s not my favorite by the band, one cannot discount the audacious ambition behind the LP. Some parts drag on record, but live, it comes across as truly magical.

bass n drums

Each song is its own journey, averaging approximately 10 minutes in length. Mike Mangini, who replaced founding drummer Mike Portnoy in 2010, does an incredible job and makes one drum kit sound like five. I don’t think the audience missed Portnoy as much as many thought they would.

Their set was dark and fantastical, but also bright and full of personality. There really isn’t a band out there that can touch Dream Theater. They’re practically a genre to themselves.

guitar n bass

IMG_0517

Dream Theater 0535

IMG_0549

petrucci singing

For more info:

Dream Theater