Newport's Centre, 9th November 2007
Reviewed by Ian Cook
A classic band by the name of Dream Theater brace the stage at Newport Centre this evening, promoting their 2007 album Systematic Chaos. While on route to the city of Newport, a thought occurs; is the venue is actually big enough to accomodate Mike Portnoy's drum kit alone? Joking aside, as this reviewer pulls up towards the Newport Centre, it can be seen that crowds of people are queuing around the total perameters of the building. A way is made inside, and the photopass is collected. After this, a venture is made straight for the stage to see if anyone else is covering the event. Luckily, it's only yours truly.
It seemed right to have a band that have been compared to Dream Theater in the past kick off proceedings, namely Symphony X. As they take to the stage, the crowd give a big cheer. While looking into the crowd, it feels as though the venue has never been so packed while a support act has been on. This is Symphony X though, who, along with Dream Theater, have been around awhile. Also, they have their own large fan base. It's truly believable that Michael Romeo is having a bad hair day, and someone can be heard mentioning “hair guitar”. This is rather amusing, to say the least. Hairstyles aside though and back to the job at hand, Romeo produces a solid performance. Some classic heavy riffs are teamed with some blistering solos - some that even John Petrucci would be proud of. Russell Allen produces the goods with a strong vocal performance, and aggressive presence, onstage. The music is a mixture of Progressive and Melodic Metal elements, and even keyboardist Michael Pinella sometimes weighs in with electronica. It's a solid performance, and they do exactly what they were meant to do; they warm up the crowd for the main event.
It was time for the main event, and the crowd wait patiently for Dream Theater. When the roadies place ant models onto the front of the stage, the audience even yell then. After a brief pause, the curtain drops and keyboardist Jordan Rudess enters the stage to great applause from the crowd. Rudess starts a slow, melodic buildup, and is then joined by John Myung (bass), John Petrucci (guitars) and Mike Portnoy (drums). Portnoy must have hired a local taxi firm to take him to the other side of that drum kit - WOW! The group then breaks into a heavy riff, and a small part of the crowd starts a mosh pit. A full two minutes has gone before James LaBrie joins the rest onstage, and things go straight into a moshing frenzy. This gets the crowd going, and you can hear the roar from behind me. Rudess can be noticed turns in a 360 degree motion - one can catch a glimpse of his keyboards, and they're set up as if they're the controls to the USS Enterprise. At this point, LaBrie starts to swing his microphone stand around in tune with his aggressive voice. Petrucci's guitar solos are mind blowing at times, and it is difficult to keep track of his hands as he races up and down the fretboard. At the end of the day, each member of this band are masters of their instruments - anyone who gets the chance to see them perform can die a happy man / woman.