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Dream Theater Rocks Hard

If there is any band that gives hope to creative music, it is Dream Theater. An influence to melodic metal musicians everywhere and regarded as an entity that transcends music itself, Dream Theater is a progressive metal band that the average person has probably heard of.

What makes Dream Theater special is that such a sophisticated, non-commercial band can get a high level of exposure and worldwide fame. To see the band perform in concert at a large venue can be an experience that transcends simply seeing musicians on a stage.

As a part of its tour in support of its new album, A Dramatic Turn of Events, Dream Theater played an unforgettable concert at Hard Rock Live Orlando on Oct. 23.

The special guest of this tour was Trivium, an acclaimed metal band hailing from Orlando. Whether listeners liked or disliked the band, Trivium maintained its reputation as a band that can put on a great concert.

The band showcased many songs from its latest album, In Waves, and also performed popular numbers such as “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr.” Frontman Matt Heafy displayed a solid stage presence and garnered a great reaction from the crowd, impressing those who were not fans of Trivium. During its set, Heafy expressed his excitement over opening for Dream Theater, his favorite band.

The floor of the venue was packed when the time came for Dream Theater to hit the stage. The three background screens that Dream Theater incorporates in its live shows have been upgraded to a two-dimensional cube pattern.

The introduction music was, surprisingly enough, from the score of the fi lm Inception, and during the introduction an animated sequence played on the screens, featuring cartoon caricatures of Dream Theater members lampooning their personalities and roles in the band.

The film was entertaining from start to finish, featuring the characters boarding an airplane similar to the one depicted on A Dramatic Turn of Events’ cover. The first song the band performed was “Bridges in the Sky,” an epic from the new album, which immediately demonstrated that Dream Theater still excels live. LaBrie’s voice was better than ever and his voice had just as much control live as in the studio.

Every instrumentalist got to show his talent with this progressive song, and Rudess boasted his keyboard stand that could not only spin the instrument, but lean toward the audience if he so wanted. The band performed the 11-minute “Endless Sacrifice” from 2003’s Train of Thought as the fourth song with all of its quirks and dynamic structures.

This was the sole song in which Rudess used his stylized keytar toward the end. Mangini’s drum solo came after and he proved to the audience that he was the best successor to Mike Portnoy, who left last year to the shock of fans worldwide. None of the drums in his caged fortress of a drum kit went untouched.

After the drum solo, the band played signature instrumental “Ytse Jam,” which the musicians made their own playground. After “Outcry,” the band played two acoustic songs: “The Silent Man” from 1994’s Awake and “Beneath the Surface” from A Dramatic Turn of Events. The band then rocked the eight-minute single, “On the Backs of Angels,” from its new record.

The final song of the set was A Dramatic Turn of Events’ magnum opus, “Breaking All Illusions,” which was the best song of the night.

After huge demand for an encore, the band closed the night with “Under a Glass Moon” from the 1992 classic Images and Words.

Seeing Dream Theater and Trivium onstage was a powerful experience, especially for musicians from Florida. Several audience members commented that Trivium was inspiring because it had succeeded as a band from Orlando and got to play alongside the legendary musicians of Dream Theater.

Seeing my musical hero Jordan Rudess on stage left a powerful impression on me, and I was firmly convinced that night that Dream Theater is the only aging band in existence that keeps getting better year after year, adding another piece to its musical puzzle.

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