Dream Theatre at Centre In the Square – Kitchener, Ontario – November 11, 2019

Dream Theatre vocalist James LaBrie at Centre In the Square in Kitchener Nov. 11. The band is currently on their Distance Over Time Tour. (Photo: Paul Barrie)

Dream Theatre
Centre In the Square – Distance Over Time – Celebrating 20 Years of Scenes from a Memory
Kitchener, Ontario
November 11, 2019

Review by Kevin Barrie.

So many of my favourite bands are progressive giants from the 70s, such as Genesis, Pink Floyd, Rush – the usual suspects. I was not yet born in the 70s, and their albums had a timeless quality as I did not experience
them as they came out. I discovered my dad’s tapes of GenesisThe Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Duke at roughly the same time; I found copies of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall in the same record cabinet.

Dream Theater, however, is a band that I have followed since relatively early in their career, which was just after the release of A Change of Seasons in 1995, when I was 12 years old. I am able to connect all of the albums I bought of theirs to specific times in my life as they came out.

Of course, like many a Pink Floyd, Genesis, or Yes fan, over time I ceased to follow the band with the same intensity, and stopped following them altogether prior to drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy’s
departure in 2011.

The band has continued on without Mike Portnoy, sustaining its previous success. However, over the last three years the band has taken a deliberate look back at their early career and celebrated two of its most successful albums. Following a trend set by many of the classic progressive bands such as Rush and Jethro Tull, they performed these albums in their entirety on stage as a part of anniversary tours. These albums include Images and Words, the album that brought them notoriety upon its release in 1991, and for this 2019 tour Metropolis – Part 2: Scenes from a Memory (a.k.a Scenes from a Memory). There is a connection between both of these releases.

Metropolis – Part 1: The Miracle and Sleeper, is a song found on the Images and Words album. Never intended to be continued beyond part 1 (the title was meant to be mildly humorous), the band nevertheless recorded a full album that continued (if rather loosely) on themes found in the original song – the aforementioned Scenes from a  Memory.

I’ve been reminded on each of these tours that the difference in time between Images and Words and it’s 25th anniversary tour in 2017 is roughly equal or greater than the difference in time between my favorite band Genesis’ first progressive album (Trespass, 1970) and Phil Collins’ last album with the band We Can’t Dance, released in 1991. Having not followed Dream Theater since 2004, and reconnecting with them to see live performances of these albums, I am perhaps experiencing something similar to what many Pink Floyd fans felt seeing them perform Dark Side of the Moon live in 1994, or seeing the reunited classic Yes lineup in 2003 (or 1997….or 1992…).
Upon seeing them perform in Kitchener, I was left wondering how many of these fans, such as myself, came mostly to see them perform a “classic”album, as opposed to being followers of the band’s recent music. It was
not an easy question to answer based on demographics or song reactions alone.

As for the band’s recent anniversary performances, one or two major ingredients were arguably missing. One such ingredient was original drummer Mike Portnoy, who left in 2011. While his successor Mike Mangini is no doubt a technical monster, superior to Mike Portnoy in many ways, Portnoy’s stage presence and personality were missing. On top of this, most, if not all, of the songs are being performed live to a click-track and particulately performed, but one only need watch the 2000 DVD release of a live performance of Scenes from a Memory to notice the missing energy.

Nevertheless, this did not seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the largely full house at Centre in the Square, most of whom stood for the entire 2 & 1/2 hours long show – sets 1 and sets 2 (see below). It is worth noting that this was the band’s only Ontario stop on this leg of the tour.

Along with Scenes from a Memory, the band also performed no less than 5 tracks off of its most recent release, 2019’s Distance Over Time. This album came out to critical acclaim, even reaching the top spot on iTunes
Top 100 Albums list. It is certainly easier to digest than the previous 2-hour long concept album The Astonishing, from which no tracks were performed.

In fact, only two other albums were represented (2007’s Systematic Chaos and 2009’s Black Clouds and Silver Lining). This has meant that three out of the four albums released by the current lineup were left unrepresented.

What is next for Dream Theater is left to see.

To follow news from Dream Theater, visit www.dreamtheater.net

James Labrie: Vocals
John Petrucci: Guitars
John Myung: Bass
Jordan Rudess: Keyboards
Mike Mangini: Drums

All photos by Paul Barrie
©2019. Please DO NOT copy or use without permission.

The post Dream Theatre at Centre In the Square – Kitchener, Ontario – November 11, 2019 appeared first on Music Life Magazine.

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